Local Heroes, Distant Voices

This week, we’re going to be remembering some of the Knowsley men featured in our 2014 exhibition Local Heroes, Distant Voices which went across all of our venues at the time using Prescot Museum’s collection and groups of objects loaned from Knowsley families.

Culture Development and Events Assistant Vicky chose this theme because she loves “being able to share the stories behind objects in the Museum collection with as many people as possible. We had lots of visitors come forward to proudly tell us about the part their family played in the First and Second World Wars, and some even loaned their treasured belongings for us to display. The exhibition even helped reunite some long-lost relatives.”

Corporal Harold Abraham, MM. Harold had been a Signaller in the Royal Engineers British Territorial Forces since 1911. When war broke out, his job at B.I. Cables was a reserved occupation (the role was essential to the war effort and the good of the country – in this case it was vital to industry, and the company was producing munitions as well as electrical cables, wires and components) and so he was exempt from enlisting.

In 1916, Harold made the change from Territorial Forces to the 55th West Lancashire Division Signal Corps, Royal Engineers, as shown by one of his shoulder patches bearing the Lancashire rose. After additional training at Canterbury, he was posted to France.

During his service he and two comrades were billeted with a French family, pictured here (they don’t seem to look too pleased about being photographed!). The doorway of the house was marked to indicate that it was hosting 3 members of the Signal Corps, Royal Engineers.

Harold was shot in the right shoulder, and honourably discharged from duty as he was no longer fit for active duty. Harold was awarded the Military Medal, British War Medal, Victory Medal and Territorial Force Efficiency Medal, presented here along with the matching ribbon bar.

Once he had convalesced, he returned to complete his apprenticeship at B.I. Cables in the Design department. He went on to marry and had two daughters, Mavis and Ruth, both key members of Prescot Historic Society.

Private William Green, MM: the beloved grandfather of one of our former colleagues from when we were part of Leisure & Culture Services department, Peter Green. Peter kindly loaned treasured objects from the family to include in the exhibition, and he has given us permission to share the scans we have of them.

William “Bill” Green joined the Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire) in the Second World War. His cloth patch shows the Regiment’s badge, featuring a lion, the crown and a Lancashire Rose.

He was awarded the Military Medal for gallant and distinguished service whilst in Italy, as noted in the original newspaper clipping show below that lists his achievement.

He sent these wonderful photographs home from Italy to his family, with annotations that give an insight into his cheerful personality. His charming portrait is marked “Perugia 23/1/45. Yours with love, Bill. Yours with regret it’s such a rotten photo.”

He survived the war and returned home to his family; Bill sadly passed away on 10 August 1986, much missed by all who knew him.

The group shot gives a glimpse of Bill and his comrades enjoying a rare few hours’ leave, enjoying a drink with soldiers from New Zealand posted in the same area. “From left to right, top row: Kiwi, Bar Proprietor, Tom Butler holding the bottle and glass, Loftry Levalt. Bottom row Me, another Kiwi, Barman. I haven’t mentioned the fellow between Butler and Loftry, it’s the Bog Man (Morrison).”