VIDEO & 360 PHOTOS: Stories Of The Somme remembers tragic Barnsley Pals
They worked together, lived together and many of the so-called Barnsley Pals died together in the trenches at the Battle of the Somme
Now the real life stories of the brave men of the 13th & 14th York & Lancaster Regiments are being told in a new exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of the bloodiest battle in British Army history.
Stories Of The Somme tells what happened through the eyes of local people, featuring family treasures, including letters, medals and kitbag possessions, like a toothbrush, comb and trench biscuits from the front.
It reveals how the war affected not only those in battle but the lives of their loved ones at home.
The temporary exhibition - which runs until November 20, marking the centenary of the end of the battle which raged for almost five months - is at the Experience Barnsley museum, inside the Town Hall.
Stories Of The Somme was officially opened by Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis, with First World War poetry read by Ian McMillan.
A personal reflection was given by our own Graham Walker, who spoke about his family's unimaginable heartbreak, the tale of the tragic Walker brothers - his great grandfather Fred, 35, brothers Ernest, 33, and Charles, 31.
All three were amongst almost 20,000 men - including 297 of the Barnsley Pals - who died on the first day of the Somme, on July 1, 1916.
Sheets of bullets from German Maxim machine guns slaughtered many of the Barnsley volunteers - family, friends and colliery workmates.
On display are Fred Walker's cap badges, prayer book, medal ribbons, a memorial scroll and an inscribed circular bronze plaque, known as a Death Penny, which was given to the families of those who died.
Their sister Fanny wrote in an obituary, in the Barnsley Chronicle: "For may years our family chain was closely linked together, but oh that chain is broken now - three links have gone forever."
But there was light and hope. A fourth brother, Harry, was in the army with the Scottish Borderers at the front, and a letter home told family he was safe and well.
Other personal tales help to tell stories of the Somme - along with a scrolling projection of the names of the fallen, accompanied by the sound of an anxious beating heart then a whistle, which sent the men over the top to their fates a century ago.
It was a terrifying hard struggle and Barnsley's men and boys were at the forefront of the fight.
Graham said: "The story of the First World War has been told many times, but this exhibition brings the horror of it all vividly back to life by taking a look at it through the eyes of real people - those who fell at the Somme and loved ones left behind. It reminds us that ordinary young men gave up everything to give us the freedom we have today. We owe them at the very least a visit to this exhibition. God bless 'em all."
Dan Jarvis MP said: "I think it's incredibly important that we reflect on those young men from Barnsley who lost their lives on the front line, on the Somme, 100 years ago.
"It's a very impressive exhibition. It's been very well done and it's great to see kids here learning about the history of the town. I just hope people will come along, have a look and reflect on the sacrifice of those young men from Barnsley.
"There's all sorts of memorabilia. You can come and read the names of those who fell. It's just incredibly poignant to learn about the individual stories of young men who went from the town and never came back. It's a really important part of our history. It's right that we come together and reflect and commemorate those people who lost their lives. I really recommend that people come along to Experience Barnsley to look at Stories From The Somme."
A memorial service was held outside the Town Hall on July 1 with the unveiling of transparent panels, created by artists Neil Musson and Jono Retallick, individually engraved with the faces of many of the Barnsley Pals who died on the first day of the Somme.
360 PHOTO: Take a look at the Barnsley Pals panels, also on display until November - which hauntingly put the men back on parade outside the town hall where they begn their ill-fated journey - CLICK HERE.
VIDEO & READ MORE: Watch our news report of the memorial service outside Barnsley town hall that marked the 100th anniversary of the star of the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 2016 - CICK HERE.
VIDEO & READ MORE: Find our more about the Barnsley Pals panels - CLICK HERE
The two Pals battalions were brigaded with the Sheffield City Battalion (12th Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment) and the Accrington Pals (11th Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment) in the 94th Brigade of the 31st Division.
The 31st Division was sent to Egypt to guard the Suez Canal before being shipped to France in March 1916.
At the end of the battle, British and French forces had penetrated just six miles (9.7 km) into German-occupied territory.
* For more information about Stories Of The Somme and other events at Experience Barnsley visit the official web site at www.experience-barnsley.com