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Plaque for factory workers who died in WWI found dumped in a skip


A MEMORIAL plaque commemorating factory workers who lost their lives fighting in World War One has been found dumped in a skip 115 miles from where it was originally erected.

Bill Longbone, 69, was scouring online for rare war memorabilia when he found a brass plaque dedicated to workers from Hull who died in the Great War for sale on eBay.

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And he was shocked to read the description from the owner revealing they had rescued the metre-tall mahogany wall plaque from a yellow skip in Leicester.

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Avid history buff Bill was so enthralled by the rare find that he forked out £850 to bring the plaque home to Hull – which commemorates fallen workers from the city’s Blundell & Spence paint factory.

He said: “I’m very interested in local history, and particularly in old postcards of Hull and the surrounding area.

“I noticed by chance that the two local war memorials were for sale, but unfortunately the auction was due to end later that day, leaving little time to organise any rescue plan.

“The starting bid was £850, so I contacted the seller to see if he would withdraw the items and sell them privately. He tried to do so – but was not allowed as the auction was near completion.”

Despite the heft price tag Mr Longbone left the highest bid and became the official owner of the memorial plaque containing almost 100 names of Blundell’s Corner factory workers.

He said the seller confirmed he found the weighty 187lb discovery in a scrapyard near Leicester.

Historically, companies erected private plaques listing the names of their employees who had died in both world wars and put them on full view in the workplace.

Mr Longbone added: “These men weren’t professional soldiers, they were factory and office workers that left their jobs to fight for their country when it was needed.

“The plaques are unique and form an important part of Hull’s social history, and I felt they should be saved not only as a respect for the men that lost their lives, and for the families and their relatives.

“But also to remind the citizens of Hull and future generations what a sacrifice these young men made so that we could enjoy our freedoms.”

Factory workers

Mr Longbone now plan to research each of the men listed on the plaque and compile a list of their full names, addresses, regiment, rank, age and date of death.

He continued: “I would like the plaques to be erected in a prominent position where everyone can have easy access.

“My preference would be in Hull Minster or maybe the Carnegie History Centre.”

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