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War Memorials

A special selection of photographs from our Archive of the War Memorials that connect us with those who fought and perished in the world wars that have shaped the world we live in today.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them."- Laurence Binyon, For The Fallen

Kendal’s dead from the First World War were honoured with their 316 names inscribed on a cenotaph war memorial erected in 1921 on the site of the old library in Market Place facing Stricklandgate. A large company attended its unveiling on 1 July 1921, with a contingent of children dressed in white singing hymns with the crowd to the accompaniment of a portable organ mounted on a cart.

Photo: Kendal, Market Place And War Memorial 1921.

Sledmere House near Driffield in East Yorkshire has been the home of the Sykes family since the 18th century. The monument shown in this photograph stands opposite Sledmere House. Erected in 1919, it commemorates the Wagoners’ Reserve Corps of 1,127 local farm workers who joined Sir Mark Sykes’s private army as wagon drivers in the First World War. The Wagoners’ Museum in Sledmere House chronicles their story.

Photo: Sledmere, The Monument c.1960.

This not so much a memory of mine as I am too young to actually remember Norman Layfield, but his name is among the list of brave young men who left the Heath and went to fight in the Second World War, he was the younger brother of my grandfather. They were in different regiments but actually ended up in the same POW camp on the famous River Kwai in Thailand after being captured by the Japs. Grandad had no idea that Norman was there, up till this point he had believed that Norman was safe at home in Hatfield Heath, thousands of miles away from the disease, squalor and torment that tens of thousands of Allied solders were being worked to death in. On discovering that Norman was there, as the older brother he applied to have his brother transferred to his regiment. This was possible as an older member of the same family is entitled to claim the younger member into his regiment. Sadly, when Grandad applied for his brother’s transfer he discovered that Norman had died a few days earlier, he had died of a tropical disease as among other things he had been drinking from the polluted river. This was something that Grandad never got over, he rarely spoke of Norman and he never had a photo of his brother on display in the house, as it was far too painful for him to cope with. Grandad went to see the film ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’ that was made in the 1950s, and as the film rolled he sat there and wept, the portrayal of the erection of the bridge was so far away from the truth it was beyond belief to anyone that was actually there. This is a sad piece of local history, but if you happen to be on the Heath any time you will know how at least one of the names on the memorial got there – Norman Layfield."
With thanks to Antony Garrett for sharing this personal story of one of the names on the War Memorial at Hatfield Heath.

Photo: Hatfield Heath, The Memorial And White Horse Inn c.1965.
Memory: Norman Layfield

The War Memorial in Hills Road at Cambridge is by Tait Mackenzie and was unveiled in 1922. Prominently sited at a crossroads, the memorial is dedicated to the ‘Men of Cambridgeshire, the Isle of Ely, the Borough and University of Cambridge’. The unusually informal and naturalistic design represents a bare-headed, long-striding soldier, and is titled ‘Coming Home’.

Photo: Cambridge, Hills Road War Memorial 1923.

‘The Thinking Soldier’ war memorial on Market Hill in Huntingdon was designed by the sculptress Lady Kathleen Scott, the widow of Captain Scott, the Antarctic explorer who died in 1912.

Photo: Huntingdon, All Saints Church And War Memorial c.1955.

Simple yet unusual and striking, The Welsh National War Memorial is situated at Cardiff in the Alexandra Gardens part of Cathays Park. It is a double circular colonnade enclosing the Cenotaph. It was designed by J Ninian Cooper and unveiled in June 1928 by the Prince of Wales.

Photo: Cardiff, The War Memorial c.1950.

A soldier is seen walking along the road towards the war memorial in this 1950s’ view of Yeovil in Somerset; he was probably based at Houndstone Camp on the outskirts of the town. Yeovil’s war memorial to the local men who died in the First World War was unveiled on 14 July 1921. It was built from local Hamstone and designed in the style of an Eleanor Cross. After the First World War, the term ‘Thankful Villages’ was used for villages where all the local men who went off to fight in the war returned alive when the conflict was over. Somerset has the highest number of Thankful Villages in the UK, but even so there were only 9 places in the entire county where no men were killed in the dreadful conflict: Aisholt, Chantry, Chelwood, Priddy, Rodney Stoke, Stanton Prior, Stocklinch, Tellisford and Woolley. The sad lists of names inscribed on war memorials in other villages and towns in Somerset and elsewhere all around Britain commemorate the men who didn’t come home – there are 226 names on Yeovil’s memorial.

Photo: Yeovil, The Borough c.1955.

Published on November 8th, 2016.

This post has the following tags: Archives,Memories,Nostalgia.
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