There is a human story behind every name inscribed on our war memorials, say PERCY REBOUL and JOHN HEATHFIELD

The war memorials around our borough are a permanent reminder of those who died in the two world wars.

But the names on those memorials tell us nothing about the individual concerned, yet each one had a story, perhaps remembered only by a family or friend.

One such name is John Jones who is recorded in St James' Church, Friern Barnet. He was born in 1898 and attended St James's School in Friern Barnet Lane.

He was regarded as exceptionally promising and stayed on after 14 years of age to be a pupil teacher. Jones sang in the church choir, taught in the Sunday School and by all accounts was charming and had a gift for getting on with all sorts of people.

He volunteered for Kitchener's Army in the First World War, was killed aged 19 and buried somewhere in France.

He is just one of the large number of people from the borough who had so much talent but whose lives were wasted in war.

Some of those who survived, however, contributed not only to winning the war but went on to make worthwhile contributions later in life. A notable example from our locality was Field Marshal Julian Byng (1862-1935) who was born at Wrotham Park, just north of Barnet.

He was a cavalry man who distinguished himself at Gallipoli, served as Commander of the Canadian Corps and finished as Commander of the Third Army throughout 1917 and 1918.

In contrast to many senior officers of those times who were despised by the soldiers, Byng was highly regarded by his men for his robust common sense and ability to communicate at all levels.

He took the trouble to explain his plans to the men and even on the eve of a vital battle issued 40,000 printed diagrams to ensure that everyone knew their role.

A fellow general said of him: "Byng was an unambitious man without any desire for personal fame - a very rare thing in generals and a very precious quality in those under him."

Byng's life was devoted to the service of others.

He was Governor General of Canada from 1921-1926 and Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police from 1928 to 1931.