Local Hinckley historian and Royal British Legion launch appeal to trace families of two mothers who lost three sons in World War One

Mason Moore | Hinckley Reporter | 12 April 2022

A LOCAL HISTORIAN and the Royal British Legion are aiming to try and trace the relatives of two Hinckley mothers who each lost three of their sons back in World War One.

War Memorial (Image: HBBC)

Local historian, Greg Drozdz, is hoping to trace the descendants of Mary Ann Sharpe and Mary Ann Dixon, to invite them to take part in a ‘special’ ceremony, which is being organised by the Royal British Legion and the Borough Council next month to commemorate the centenary of the war memorial in Hinckley.

Back in November 1921, five Hinckley mothers who each had lost three of their sons in World War One (WWI), were invited to be a part of a service where the foundation stone would be laid for the War Memorial inside of Argents Mead park.

The memorial was officially unveiled and dedicated in May 1922 – 100 years ago next month.

So far, Mr. Drozdz has already traced the descendants of Eliza Attenborough, Maria Dalby and Jane Bolesworth, all of whom still live locally – and he has invited them to take part in the centenary commemoration.

Now, he is appealing for any descendants of the two remaining bereaved mothers to come forward after no trace of them could be found.

Mary Ann Dixon’s family lived in Upper Bond Street before moving to Coventry Road in the town.

Three of her six sons Joseph, Herbert and William Dixon were killed in action in France in 1917 and 1918, leaving three remaining siblings, James, Charles, and George.

Mary Ann Sharpe’s family lived in Tan Yard on Druid Street which no longer exists.

Her brothers – Joseph, Walter, and William, were killed in action between 1915 and 1917 and left four remaining siblings – Libby, Florence, Sidney and Arthur.

Mr Drozdz, said: “If we are extremely lucky, someone will know someone, or have a parent, uncle, aunt, grandfather or grandmother who knows someone who knows the families we are searching for.

“We would love to come in contact with them, so we can invite them to take part in this special commemoration to honour their fallen ancestors.”

The Borough Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Coun. Danny Findlay, added: “For the purposes of both local historical significance and paying the appropriate respects to these servicemen who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy today, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council supports the search for the relatives of the serviceman.

“I would encourage anyone who knows the families to come forward so that we can help make a connection and allow them the opportunity to partake in the centenary in May.”

A ‘great deal’ of information about the fallen remembered on Hinckley’s war memorial has been posted on an archive published on Hinckley and District museum’s website, called ‘Nobody Told Us’.

It represents 25 years research by Mr. Drozdz, using archive information as it became available, and it is illustrated with photographs and historical news reports to show the lost life that each fallen soldier represents. It can be viewed at http://www.hinckleydistrictmuseum.org.uk.

Anyone who has details which can help Mr. Drozdz piece together information about the families is being encouraged to contact the Borough Council’s communications team on 01455 238141 or email communications@hinckley-bosworth.gov.uk.

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