Concert will recall story of couple’s war tragedy

Keighley News: John Bancroft John Bancroft

A concert in Silsden will recall a couple who took part in an historic tribute to First World War soldiers.

Steeton Male Voice Choir will sing in memory of Silsden couple John and Agnes Bancroft. The men will perform a musical selection – From The Menin Gate – during the three-day Silsden commemoration of the First World War centenary in August.

John and Agnes lost their eldest two sons during the war – Sam and Joe Bancroft – who died in action in 1918. Nine years later, the couple attended the opening ceremony of the Menin Gate at Ypres.

They were invited to Belgium to stand alongside Field Marshall Lord Plumer and European royalty as the great monument to the missing was unveiled.

Sam and Joe were the eldest of five brothers, who left the family home in Walker’s Place to fight on the Western Front.

Another brother, Willy, misled the authorities about his age and stood in the Western Front trenches at the age of 15.

Sam’s grandson Roger recently journeyed to Flanders and Picardy to visit sites of remembrance linked to the family.

The Steeton choir has previously sung at the Menin Gate during the Last Post ceremony, which takes place every evening.

The choir is one of many community groups contributing to the centenary weekend at Silsden Town Hall between August 8 and 10. There will be an exhibition by the History Group, performances by the Town Band, community productions, Silsden Singers and the St James’ Knitters and a café run by the Royal British Legion.

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