STORIES are so important.

Words are able to fill in the blanks of a past we often find it hard to imagine or relate to and that makes them incredibly valuable.

I was thinking about this as I looked this week at the personal tales of some of the young Bolton men who died in World War One.

Some of these stories will be featured in The Bolton News next month as part of the 100th anniversary of the end of that terrible conflict.

The soldiers involved were young – most would probably be at university at that age today.

They had the same hopes, dreams and aspirations of most young men of 2018 - to get a job, find love, have a family. Live a peaceful life.

Instead, they had to endure a living hell.

The conditions in the trenches were horrendous: dirty, stinking and wet through, creating fields of mud.

As well as the constant fear of attack, servicemen also had to contend with millions of rats; in trench conditions a pair of rodents could produce as many as 900 young in a year.

My own grandfather, George Robertson, was from a small village called Balerno a few miles outside Edinburgh. He served in the Royal Scots.

He rarely spoke about the experience to my mother, but he did tell her about one incident when he and his pals were trying to make themselves as comfortable as possible for the night in the appalling conditions.

To keep each other warm, they would gather in huddles.

My grandad had found a satisfactory position, when his mate, who was on his own further along the trench, shouted for him to come and get into a huddle with him.

George at first declined. It had taken him a while to achieve a semblance of comfort where he was, but finally he relented and went to join him.

Shortly after, a shell struck where he had been sitting. Several of his friends were killed and he would have been too If he had remained where he was.

My grandfather was shot twice in separate incidents in the war, but survived and came home afterwards.

This was in stark contrast to the 700,000 other British soldiers who were killed, many in their teens.

Grainy, stuttering and silent monochrome images cannot bring home the horror to today’s generation.

Now, however, film director Peter Jackson (famous for making the Lord of the Rings trilogy) has produced an incredible World War One documentary, ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’, using Imperial War Museum footage as a basis.

It has been cleaned up, slowed down, colourised and narration added.

The end result is said to be incredibly powerful, making the events of 100 years ago feel immediate and relatable to today’s audience.

It will be shown on TV on Armistice Day.

But in Bolton, there is the chance to watch it as it was intended to be seen on the big screen. The Light Cinema in the Market Place, will screen it on November 5 and 8, the only large multiplex locally to do so.

Hopefully this film will help future generations to more easily understand the sacrifice made by so many young men all those years ago.