Can you solve war heroes mystery?

This week’s Memory Lane involves a plea for Mercury readers to turn history detectives to solve the mystery of the missing Dales war heroes.

It comes from Peter Patilla, who is trying to identify local soldiers from the First World War.

He said: “I am working with a small team of researchers at Lea Mills preparing a suitable memorial to those workers who served in the First World War – in time for the centenary remembrances.

“Three postcards were produced at the time showing eighty-four photographs of soldiers, sadly none of whom were named. After considerable detective work in the John Smedley archives we have managed to name to all the men except for 14 of them.

“They would have been employees of John Smedley and lived locally.

“So far Fritchley, Crich, Whatstandwell, Wheatcroft, Dethick, Lea, Holloway, Cromford, Bonsall, Wirksworth, Alderwasley, Tansley, Matlock Bath and Matlock all appear in the addresses of the men we have named.

“I hope Matlock Mercury readers will be able to help in identifying them. We would be thrilled to be able to name all the men on the postcards.

“I can be contacted by email; or by mail at: Peter Patilla, Editor CACN, Glebe Field Centre, Crich, DE4 5EU.”

If you have old photos you’d like to share with Mercury readers, or a mystery image you’d like identify, send them in to us at, alternatively, post them to Matlock Mercury, 37 Station Road, Chesterfield, S41 7XD. Please put your name and address on the reverse if you’d like the image returning.