AS part of an exhibition at St Philip's Church to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War, amateur researchers have spent the last 18 months looking into the background of men from Redditch who fought and died in the war.

Approximately 400 men from the town were killed, and commemorated on memorials in the area, with some buried at Plymouth Road cemetery.

One of those men to die in the war was George Frederick Irish.

George was slightly more unusual than some of the men who went off to war, as he was officially declared a hero before going off to fight.

George was presented with the Albert Medal by King George V on August 12, 1913, for saving the life of a young boy, William Browning, several months before, when he fell down a 14ft sewer near what is now called Holyoake's Field First School.

George was a coal merchant, which was a reserved occupation during the Great War. But in a cruel twist of fate, his uncle failed to submit the correct paperwork exempting him from military service so he had to go, whether he wished to or not.

He went to serve in France in June 1916, aged 23, and just weeks later, in the August, the private lost his life during a bombardment by German artillery. He is now remembered at Thiepval Memorial in France.

Another man who is profiled at the exhibition is Philip Baylis Jarvis, the uncle of local Redditch historian Philip Jarvis, who is one of the organisers of the exhibition.

Philip was a time keeper at Millwards Factory, in Washford Mills, and was also a Methodist lay preacher on the Redditch circuit.

He was a gunner serving in the Royal Garrison Artillery and died on October 27, 1918, aged just 21. He is buried in the Klein-Vierstraat British Cemetery in Ypres, Belgium.

The Great War exhibition is being arranged by the The Redditch History & Heritage Group, and Redditch Local History Society (RLHS) will also be attending. RLHS has been undertaking research with local newspaper cuttings into the impact of the war on the home front, and some of this research will also be on display at the exhibition.

Redditch MP Karen Lumley will open the exhibition on Monday, August 4 at 5pm, which marks the 100th anniversary.

Opening times for August 5-8 will be 2pm until 9pm, and on the Saturday, August 9, from 10am until 4pm. Refreshments will be available.

Admission is free but people are invited to make a donation in aid of St Philip's Organ & Building Fund.