TAKE a walk along unassuming Quarry Road in Brynteg and you'll come across one of the more impressive War Memorials you're likely to see. There stands a huge memorial gate, commemorating all those who died in both World Wars who came from the surrounding villages of Brynteg, Caego, Lodge, Moss, New Broughton, Pentre Broughton and Southsea.

Dozens of names fill the two stately columns, which were unveiled in 1923, but until the last few years little was known about the men who make up this grim roll call of tragedy. That is until the enthusiasts of Broughton District History Group got involved.

For the last seven or so years history group members Phil Coops, Robert Webb, Michael Gross and Peter Chadwick have been researching each of the names of those men from Broughton who failed to return from World War One, including some of those whose were missed off the original list. The painstaking results have now been turned into a book called Broughton at War, 1914-1923, which will be published next month and launched at a special event at Brynteg Library on September 10.

"I'd written a book similar to this before I moved to Wrexham 12 years ago," explains Phil. "One of the reasons I actually came here was that I fell in love with these gates - I thought they were beautiful and I found I house nearby.

"I thought I had to research these guys whose names were on the gates and as it was coming up to 100th anniversary I thought it would be nice to get a book done too. I had aimed to get it done by 1914 so you can tell how long it has taken."

As well as researching the book, each month Phil has been sending the group's chairman, James Nuttall, the details of what was happening on the battle field at the time and which local soldiers we lost.Their details were recorded and laminated before being attached to the gate where they can be read by passing residents.

"We know that people do read them," says James. "Because of the research we had done we knew where these men lived and it made it so meaningful to us.

"To me the rights and wrongs of the conflict are not important but what is important is that these were people living and working in this area who went to fight for their country."

On August 4 1914, Britain declared war on Germany following the German government's refusal to withdraw its armed forces from Belgium. Less than 24 hours later, the first Royal Welch Fusiliers reservists marched out of Hightown Barracks, through cheering crowds, on their way to Wrexham General railway station. For those soldiers, it was the start of a journey to the front line of history and many would never return. For the people of Wrexham and the surrounding villages, it soon became clear that the war would not be over by Christmas and that victory was not inevitable.

"The vast majority were ordinary working class men," says Phil. "Some volunteered for war in the first week. There were miners, steel workers, bakers, dairymen. Some wanted the adventure and thought they'd be back by Christmas but some were conscripted.

"There was a letter from one guy where he writes about how he was desperate to get into the Royal Engineers and go tunnelling. He got his wish and a tunnel collapsed on him."

The book lists not only the soldiers' names but also details more about each individual as well as information on what the area was like 100 years ago.

"It was hard going," continues Phil. "One thing kept leading to another and it was extended and extended until I had to draw a line. On the memorial you just have a name - no regiment or number - so it has taken years to pin down the right men but I want this book to be a permanent memorial to these individuals and it has everything we can find on every person."

The writers and researchers are keen not to pick out individuals, but Phil mentions Pte. Hywel Price, of the Royal Welch Fusiliers who having been wounded returned to the trench. He was again wounded, and stubbornly refused to be taken to safety, before again returning to the fray. The third time, however, he was fatally wounded, and died a short time later.

"In the book there are ten military medal winners which tells you lot about the men from around here," says Phil. "These were hard men and it was a way of getting out.

"If they got back they had to get on with their lives and largely they did even though lot came back terribly damaged which is why the book includes some who died after the war was over."

The group are now hoping that the book might make some local residents think more about their relatives and perhaps unearth even more information on their lives during the war.

"How many people in this area have got boxes up in the loft with medals in?," Phil adds.

"We've all got a fascinating family history - it doesn't have to be about kings, dukes, earls and battles. I like the little man - he's much more interesting. It's the the General at the back who gets a bloody VC and the poor sod at the front who gets the bullet after all!"

Broughton at War, 1914-23, will be launched at Brynteg Library on Monday. September 10 at 2pm. Signed copies of the book will be available to purchase and light refreshments will be available.