HISTORY enthusiasts hope a new project will shed light on the lives of seven men from Bolton who died fighting for Australia in the First World War.

The Bolton News reported how Bolton charity Diversity in Barrier-Breaking Communications (DBBC) has been awarded £9,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project aimed at helping young people trace the descendants of soldiers from the borough killed in the Gallipoli campaign.

The story prompted a surge of interest, including an enquiry from Spirits of Gallipoli — a group based in Sydney, which has been investigating the lives of more than 7,000 Australian troops killed in the campaign, that took place in modern day Turkey between 1915-1916.

According to the group, seven of the men fighting in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) were born in Bolton.

Their names were Harry Alston, Jack Blackburn, Reuben Coop, Albert Dawson, Jack Hall, William Lancaster and Harry Lomax. Information is now being shared between the two groups.

DBBC founder Dorothy Martland, said: “The interest we’ve had after The Bolton News article is fantastic. We've been swamped by requests from relatives.

“The interesting thing about these men is that they were all born in Bolton, but none of them are included in our photos as they all went to Australia to join up, so this means we’ve unearthed more from Bolton.” Kim Phillips founded Spirits of Gallipoli after visiting the memorial in 2000 and decided she wanted to know more about the men involved.

She said: “I’ve been looking through newspapers, memorial books, battalion histories and private collections, gathering all that I can.

“To date I have photos of more than 4,500 men and information on most of them. In 2009 myself and 11 volunteers went to Gallipoli where we spent two weeks photographing the headstones and memorials of the AIF.

“People are helping me photographing war memorials where these men’s names appear all over the UK.

“When I read about the project about the men from Bolton, and the photos that were held, I hoped that some of the AIF Gallipoli men would have been included, so I made contact with Dorothy and we are exchanging information.

“Many of the AIF men had been born in the UK and have close ties there.”

Spirits of Gallipoli can be contacted at editor@spirits-of-gallipoli.com.

DBBC: 01204 373107 or dorothymartland@hotmail.com.