Restoring the memory of Private George Wallace Jackson, Sherwood Foresters

Whilst touring north Nottinghamshire in February 2016 I was shocked and saddened to come across this memorial headstone in the churchyard of St John the Evangelist, Carlton-in-Lindrick.

George Jackson

 One of the most poignant sights I have seen in years of research. The memorial to Private George Jackson, Sherwood Foresters.

Of the many hundreds of memorials I have come across, this was the first example of a statue on the grave of an individual, rather than for a community monument.

The inscription read:

“To the glorious memory of Pte George Wallace Jackson, 2/5 Sherwood Foresters, who fell in action in France, March 21st 1918, aged 22 years.

‘Greater Love Hath No Man Than This: That A Man Lay Down His Life For His Friends.’

This memorial was erected by his sorrowing mother.”

A further inscription marked the death of that mother, Charlotte Padley (formerly Jackson) in 1926.

I wondered if how the monument came to be that, hoping it was nature rather than vandalism. George Jackson’s mother had sought to come to terms with her loss through the use of the quotation from John 15:13, seen on so many memorials.

I decided that I could not leave this situation as it was and that further research was in order.

A search of the newspaper archives revealed this moving report from the Worksop Guardian of 1st August 1919:

After many months of suspense, the news has reached Mrs Charlotte W. Padley, Carlton that her son, Pte George Wallace Jackson, 2nd / 5th Bn. Sherwood Foresters, reported missing since March 21st 1918, was killed on that date. Pte Jackson, who was 22 years of age, was a well-conducted youth and respected by all who knew him.

Before enlisting, he was employed by the Worksop Co-operative society, where he went as soon a he left school, his brother and sister also being employed by the same society.

Pte Jackson was a son any mother might be proud of, and he leaves behind a memory which will long be cherished.

The Army Council forward a message of sympathy from the King and Queen, and his mother has also the sympathy of all who knew her gallant son in her bereavement.

George’s body was never recovered and he is one of nearly 35,000 names on the Arrass Memorial.

His mother, Charlotte, would have received the £24 12s 6d owing to George in back pay and war gratuity. I wonder if this money, a sum of around £1200 at 2016 values, was used to pay for the memorial?

George Jackson effects

The page from the Army’s Register of Soldiers’ Personal Effects relating to George Jackson (c) ancestry.co.uk

So we have managed to find some further details about George Jackson, but what of the distressing state of his memorial? I emailed the vicar of the church who passed my contact on to Maurice Stokes, a parishioner who is investigating the possibility of restoration. To date (27th February 2016) a request has been made for an authentic copy of the complete uniform of the Sherwood Foresters. In addition an appeal is to be launched to trace any living relatives of George Jackson.

Mr Stokes has also gathered an estimate for the cost of the repair of the memorial, valued at £1000 to £1500.

Therefore, using the reach of social media, I am putting out an appeal to trace any relatives of George Jackson.

George had four surviving siblings plus a half brother.

His siblings were:

Evelyn Georgina Jackson (1888-1945)
Bazell Jackson (1891-1914)
Mildred Jackson (1895-?)
George Jackson (1896-1918)

Evelyn married George Betts in 1909 a they had five surviving children. These people were the nieces and nephews of Private George Jackson.

Joseph Norman Betts (1913-1995)
John Charles Betts (1915-1991)
Irene Betts (1917-1998)
Charlotte Betts (1920-2013)

They all seemed to have retained a connection to North Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.

So the appeal at the moment is threefold:-

  1. To find further information on Private George Jackson, and to see if family members can provide a photograph and any knowledge as to where his campaign medals and `death penny’ might be.
  2. To find any further examples of gravestone / memorials like this one to get as an authentic reproduction as possible.
  3. To raise the funds for a proper restoration so that the memory of Private Jackson can be restored and full respect given to the sacrifice he gave, emblematic of that of hundreds of thousands of other young shop assistants, factory workers, clerks, postmen, teachers and people from all walks of life across the land.

 

Therefore if anyone can help with any of these three objectives, please contact me at johnbroom@aol.com.

Donations towards the restoration can be made by clicking here

Update March 2016 –

ON 1ST JULY 2016, AT 7.30am, I SHALL BE SETTING OFF TO ATTEMPT TO RUN 60,000 YARDS (APPROXIMATELY 35 MILES) IN 6 HOURS, ONE FOR EVERY BRITISH SOLDIER KILLED OR INJURED ON THAT DAY IN 1916, THE FIRST DAY OF THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME. THIS IS PART OF THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME CENTENARY CHALLENGE RUN

I SHALL BE DONATING THE MONEY RAISED THROUGH THIS CHALLENGE TO THE RESTORATION OF PTE. JACKSON’S MEMORIAL.

 

TO SPONSOR ME IN THIS CHALLENGE, CLICK HERE

Many thanks

Update May 2016

I have received communication from members of George Jackson’s family who were able to provide the following information:

George Wallace Jackson’s father, George Jackson, had been killed in a mining accident in 1898 whilst working at Wath Main Colliery in South Yorkshire. He was 30 years old and was run over by a wagon on an inclined plane.

It has been possible to find a picture of Charlotte, the widow of George Jackson sr and the mother of Private George Wallace Jackson. It was Charlotte who paid to have the vandalised memorial erected.

Charlotte Jackson Padley.jpg

In addition, a photograph is in existence of a young man in the uniform of the Notts and Derbyshire Regiment (Sherwood Foresters) to which both George Wallace Jackson and his half-brother, Cyril Padley, belonged. At this stage it is not known which of these it is. Cyril died in 1976, aged 77, in Retford, Nottinghamshire. Therefore the next stage is to contact the regional press to see if the photograph can be identified.

In addition I was given details of other family members which I shall be following up to see if they can shed any further light on the mystery.

Charlotte Jackson's son (2).jpg

 

The search continues…

Update August 2016

Due to enquiries made by family members with whom I have been in contact, a photograph of George Wallace Jackson himself has come to light. It looks as if it was taken in his mid-teens, probably at the time he started work with the Worksop Co-operative Society. My impression on seeing it was of the innocence and hope of youth, and a further example of the promise that was destroyed during the war. I now feel the pieces of the jigsaw are coming together.

George Wallace Jackson

 

John Broom is the author of Fight the Good Fight: Voices of Faith from the First World War, published by Pen and Sword.

http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Fight-the-Good-Fight-Hardback/p/11370

Fight the Good Fight

 

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Walkeringham’s Sunday School Prayer List

John Broom is the author of Fight the Good Fight: Voices of Faith from the First World War, published by Pen and Sword in 2015.

http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Fight-the-Good-Fight-Hardback/p/11370

Fight the Good Fight

 

Whilst revisiting the secluded but welcoming St. Mary Magdalene Church at Walkeringham, North Nottinghamshire on a crisp winter day in February 2016, I came across a new addition to the war commemoration memorabilia in the church.

St Mary Magdalene, Walkeringham.jpg

St Mary Magdalene, Walkeringham (c) John Broom

Whilst restoring the First World War Roll of Honour for display during the years of centenary commemorations, a beautiful hand made prayer board had been discovered lodged behind the frame. On it, each member of the Sunday School had been asked to nominate a male relative on active service, and to state which service that relative was in.

Walkeringham Roll of Honour.jpg

Walkeringham’s Roll of Honour

The churchwarden had asked for comments as to whether the prayer board should be placed back where it was found, behind the Roll of Honour, or to be separately mounted for display. For me the answer is not in question. This prayer board provides a further connection to the people of a hundred years ago, and demonstrates the bonds between children and men on active service being strengthened by the Christian faith. However perhaps you may have a view you may wish to put forward? The contact details can be found here:-

http://www.achurchnearyou.com/walkeringham-st-mary-magdalene1/#

Walkeringham Sunday School Prayer Board.jpg

Children’s Corner Prayer Board (c) John Broom

Bonds between children and those in uniform in an educational context have been explored in an excellent new book by Dr Barry Blades, Roll of Honour: Schooling and the Great War (Pen and Sword, 2015). However this is the first example I have seen in the hundreds of churches I have visited of such a prayer board for Sunday School Scholars.

Sadly four of the men being prayed for did not return home safely from the war. The small Nottinghamshire village sustained a death list of 26 men, with 4 more being found by subsequent research on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

Addendum:

I thought it appropriate to transcribe the names on the board

Margaret Parkrin Sapper G. Valentine Royal Engineers
Thomas Hill Pte. John H. Hill King’s Liverpool Rgt.
Roland Dawson L/C W. Dawson Sherwood Rangers
Alice Spray Pte. F.H. Parke Leicester Rgt
Gladys Greaves Corp. G.S. Garrard Royal Engineers
Albert Willerton Pte. J.W. Willerton East Surrey Rgt
John Spencer Lockwood Pte. J. Lockwood A.S.C.
Vera Willerton Corp. J.T. Mackfall Royal Engineers
Charles Spencer Pte. H. Spencer Lincolns
Edith Daniels Pte. H. Lobley Sherwood Foresters
Ethel West Pte. F. West Lancashire Fusiliers
Eric Taylor Pte. W.T. Adams R.A.M.C.
Alice Horberry Pte. T. Horberry Derbyshire Yeomanry
May Walker Pte. George Walker Fourth Leicester
Myrintha Cave Sgt. Arthur Shaw Sherwood Foresters
Sarah & Nellie Spencer Driver A. Anderson King’s Liverpool Reg
Leslie Pikett Pte. Charles Otter Royal Field Auxiliary
Hilda Spencer Pte. W. Davison & Pte. W, Clark Notts & Derby & 8th Lincoln Reg
Philip Robinson Pte. Edward Stamp
Albert E., Charlotte & Mabel Lockwood Pte. J. Lockwood Mechanical Transport
Geoffrey Farnsworth Robert Pinck & George Playford Training Reserve & Royal Flying Corp.
Tom Lancaster Corp. J.G. Lancaster Army Vet Corp.

Thomas Horberry, Henry Lobley, Charles Otter and Harry Spencer were the men who did not return.

Perhaps you, the reader, know of further examples? If so I would love to know.

(Dr. Stephen Parker, author of Faith on the Home Front: Aspects of Church Life and Popular Religion in Birmingham, 1939-1945 (Peter Lang, 2005), has responded by saying he has come across many examples of prayers for Sunday School scholars in Birmingham parish magazines during his research. There was a regular special service in one city centre church for this purpose.)

 

As a further point of interest in the church, there are two separate war memorials containing exactly the same names; one made of wood and one of bronze. Again, this is very rare in my experience. I wonder why two such memorials are there? Perhaps a benefactor provided the funds for the bronze one as they thought it would be more robust than the wooden one?

Walkeringham Wooden War Memorial

Wooden War Memorial, St. Mary Magdalene, Walkeringham (c) John Broom

Walkeringham Bronze War Memorial

Bronze War Memorial, (c) John Broom

The Penruddockes of Compton Chamberlayne

 

The title of this post could not be more evocative of the west country, and it was in a small Wiltshire village (population at last census: 112) that we discovered two fascinating First World War Stories.  The first was found in the village church, a building which could only be reached by going through a latched gate down a path by the side of a large house.

Compton Chamberlayne

In deepest England

The church was relatively plain inside, but what was striking was the inclusion of the unusual name of Penruddocke twice on the war memorial.

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Dawn then saw a large inscription in the chancel listing many Penruddockes stretching back to the reign of Elizabeth I.

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One of the ancestors of the two men on the war memorial had himself been a victim of war, this time back in 1655 after an unsuccessful bid to overthrow Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth.  Colonel John Penruddocke was executed in May 1655 after raising the Royal Standard in Salisbury but going on to be defeated at South Molton in Devon.

Other members of the family had served as MPs, but it fell to two young men in the First World War to pay the price for the family’s local eminence.  The first to die is commemorated by a brass plaque.

IMG_9892

The inscription reads:-

In ever loving memory of
Thomas Penruddocke
2nd Lt, 7th Battn. Wiltshire Regt
third and dearly loved son of
Charles & Annie E. Penruddocke
Born Sept 2nd 1897
Killed in Action in the Battle of
Lake Doiran Salonika
April 24th 1917, aged 19 years

I have fought a good fight
I have finished my course
I have kept the Faith
                   II Tim.IV.7

Thomas Penruddocke was born on 2 September 1897 at Bratton, Wincanton, Somerset.He was the youngest of six children born to Charles Penruddocke & Annie Elizabeth Dickinson Carew Bamford Speke.

The 1911 census records Thomas Penruddocke as a 13 year old school boy, born Somerset Bratton, as one of 11 boarders at Clifton College, 12 The Avenue, Bristol.  His medal index card shows he first entered a theatre of war on 18 April 1916.

An Obituary for Thomas Penruddocke appeared in The Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette 12 May 1917:-

SECOND LIEUTENANT THOMAS PENRUDDOCKE

Wiltshire Regiment, killed on April 25, aged 19, was the youngest son of Mr and Mrs Penruddocke, of Compton Park, Salisbury. Born in 1907*, he was educated at Clifton College, and on leaving school entered the Bristol University O.T.C., obtaining his commission in November 1915. Proceeding to the front in the following spring, he was wounded in July, 1916, and invalided home but recovered sufficiently to be able to rejoin in November of the same year. At school Mr Penruddocke was a fine runner, and won several school races. He was one of three brothers serving with the Forces.

 

 

The following story appeared in the Frankston & Somerville Standard (Victoria, Australia) Wednesday 19 December, 1923

 

AN ALLEGORY of EMPIRE

The Penruddocke Burial Ground from 1598 to 1917

By W.R.M.

Five years ago to-day, an Australian soldier, strolling from the crowded camp, at Fovant, on Salisbury Plain, came, in a quiet hour and in a quiet church, upon an allegory of Empire.

Fovant Camp, like Hurdcott, form one of a chain stretching along the Salisbury Plain. Three roads converge at the foot of Fovant Railway Station, a short line, used almost exclusively for military purposes. One leads to Dinton, the other across a watercress bordered brook to Salisbury and the third past the A.I.F. headquarters to Compton Chamberlayne, past where the old Roman milestone, “To Sarum XI” still stands sentinel.

“After the parade was dismissed, I determined to visit the church, which teems with old-time memories. Fifteen minutes’ walk along a wood track brought me to the usual well-kept road, bordered by a high wall and just visible through the trees was the church. Interrogating a sturdy little lass, with the first season’s violets freshly gathered in her hand, I asked if I might enter.

“Everbuddy goes in; the lock bruk,” she replied enigmatically.

Without further question the broken lock admitted me to Saint Catherine’s* Church burial ground, Compton-Chamberlayne.

At the rear of the church is the castle. Picturesquely situated, with a lake in front, the remains of a moat running round one side and the burial ground almost forming part of the ground itself, it was built in the fifteenth century, probably a century later than the church. I entered.

Replacing fresh wax candles on the altar and pulpit was a lady in deep mourning and with a warm smile of welcome she quickly dispelled any fears I might have had of intruding.

It was a gloomy Saturday afternoon and the snow was falling lightly and the appearance of the little church, with its burnished brasses and the white-haired lady in deep mourning, trimming the tapers in their brass holders, filled me with a feeling that had come only once before – in Westminster Abbey.

Obeying a welcoming smile, she led me to a tablet affixed to the wall saying, “This is a list of the Penruddocke family.” Inscribed on the tablet were 32 names, the first being Edward Penruddocke, buried in August, 1598; the last on the tablet being Flora Henrietta Penruddocke, November 7, 1902. Half-way down the list of names I caught sight of “John Penruddcoke, beheaded at Exeter in May, 1655 and buried here three days later.” Glancing around my eye fell upon a brass tablet set apart from the rest, affixed to the opposite wall. It bore the words:-

Sacred to the Memory

Of

THOMAS PENRUDDOCKE (Lieut.)

Who Lost His Life At Lake Doiran,

SALONIKA,

On

April 24, 1917

“Said the soft sad voice of the lady over my shoulder, “That was my youngest son.”

 

“I tried to express the usual commonplace sympathy, recovered my hat and tip-toed out of the warmly-lighted little church into the dusk and now the fast-falling snow, past rows of thatched cottages with their cosy interiors, past the King’s Elm hostelry, where the sign “sold out” was exhibited in the window and on to the cheerless hut, where some Australian soldiers from France were seated round the stove, singing a lively chorus to the accompaniment of a violin, played by a lad scarcely more than 19 years of age; and then crept into damp blankets, to dream of Edward Penruddocke, beheaded in 1598 and of the sweet, sad smile of the lady in mourning who lost her youngest son at Salonika in 1917.

 

Pte George Herbert Rose, who is also listed on the church war memorial served with the 7th Battalion Wiltshire Regiment and died on 24th April, 1917, the day before Second Lieutenant Thomas Penruddocke.

The second plaque is to another son who only missed surviving the war by just over a month:-

IMG_9894

IN EVER LOVING MEMORY OF CHARLES PENRUDDOCKE
LIEUTENANT 7TH BATTALION THE WILTSHIRE REGIMENT
THE DEARLY LOVED ELDEST SON OF CHARLES AND ANNIE
E. PENRUDDOCKE KILLED IN ACTION AT GOUY NEAR
LE CATELET IN FRANCE (HINDENBURG LINE) ON
OCTOBER 4TH 1918 AGED 25 YEARS
“Thy will be done”

Charles Penruddocke

Charles was born on 16 January 1893 and attended Elveden preparatory school, Clifton.  He attended Sherborne School between 1907 and 1910 (a contemporary of L.J. Hooper about whom you can read on another blog post).  He was a keen runner and gained his house colours.  He had a commission in the Territorial Army which he had relinquished before the war and his profession was Solicitor.  He was posted to the Wiltshire Regiment and spent three winters on the Salonika Front.  He proceeded to France in the summer of 1918.  He was mentioned in despatches and awarded the Military Cross.

His Colonel wrote, `I need hardly say how much I feel his loss, as he was one of the best and bravest fellows I know.  He was doing extraordinarily good work at the time, and was invaluable to me and the brigade.’

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A tragic postscript to this already sad tale of loss is that a third brother, George, also served in the war and was awarded the Military Cross for his gallant actions at the Somme, leading an attack on an enemy trench and killing six Germans.  He was placed on the retirement list in 1918 due to wounds.  However in 1946, whilst aged only 52, he was found dead from `a gunshot wound inflicted through the mouth to the head while balance of mind temporarily disturbed He had been suffering from lack of sleep..’ He was found by his sister, Flora, and his mother on their return from church.

Annie Penruddocke had lost two of her sons in the First World War and lived to see the third take his own life after the end of the Second World War. What a sad tale, showing that wealth and family eminence is no insurance against heartache.

If you would like to know more about how the Christian faith and twentieth century warfare intertwined, my two books, Fight the Good Fight: Voices of Faith from the First World War and Fight the Good Fight: Voices of Faith from the Second World War can be ordered directly for £18 each including p+p or £30 for the pair. I can personally dedicate and sign them to make a lovely gift. Contact me at johnbroom@aol.com

Fight the Good FightFight the Good Fight2

I acknowledge Cathy Sedgwick at the Wiltshire OPC as the source of the above newspaper report from Australia and the information about George Penruddocke.

Lieutenant Robert Bishop Slade RAF

Whilst driving through the Oxfordshire countryside today (14.2.2015) we came across the churches at Acton Upthorpe and Acton Tirrold and in the latter I was taken with this memorial to a young man `killed whilst flying’ on 23rd July 1918.
Slade Robert

The quote about, `We will not think of you as dead, but living / Living for ever in our love enshrined’ to some extent sums up my feelings about keeping alive the memory of individuals who sacrificed everything the wars of the previous century for us – they never die as their deeds and stories should be kept with us.

Therefore to keep Robert living, if not forever in our love, then forever in our memory and appreciation, the following information may prove of interest to some.

Robert was born on 30 June 1892, his father being Mr Leonard and Mrs Maria Slade of The Manor House, Blewbury, Oxfordshire.  He attended Abindgon school as a boarder between 1901 and 1903.  He attended Shoreham College in 1904.

In February 1911 he had emigrated to Canada (like so many young men determined to make their way in life in the dominions and colonies, including my own great-great uncle William Nevard who was killed at Vimy Ridge in 1917) to take up farming.  When war broke out he joined the 18th Battalion o the Canadian Expeditionary Force, undertaking training at Winnipeg and Folkestone and was present at the battle of Loos in 1915, St Eloi in 1916 and Sanctuary Wood in 1917.

In 1917 he left the Canadians and joined the RFC.  In October 1917 he was attacked by nine German planes and brought down two before he crashed.  He was in the 1st London Hospital for many weeks, and was then appointed as a flying instructor in Shrewsbury, where he was killed.  I presumed this was in a training accident.

A search of the British Newspaper archive has revealed more information in the Leamington Spa Courier of 2nd August 1918:-

Compton Verney

AERIAL FATALITY- Deep sympathy is expressed with Mrs and Mrs Slade of the Lodge Farm on the death of their eldest son, Robert B. Slade, RAF, who was killed on Tuesday week whilst at gun practice.  Deceased, who was 26 years of age, joined the Expeditionary Force in September when living in Saskatchewan, Canada.  He was transferred to the R.F.C. in January, 1917, obtaining his `wings’ in the following July.  His machine was smashed in a fight last October and he was badly burned.  After spending some time in hospital he became instructor and was recently gazetted Flight Commander while stationed at Salop.

His mother wrote to his old school in 1920, `He was an immense favourite with all who know him, ad the number of letters we received from his brother officers all speak of the great influence for good that he was with them and the men.’

Two things strike me in this case:-

1. Having come through so many major battles in 1915 and 1916 intact, and to have come through injured but alive from his dogfight, to be killed months before the end of the war in a training exercise seems particularly poignant.

2.  Secondly it’s that picture of him with his wings.  A young man who had shown initiative and drive to emigrate to Canada, who had seen fit to do what he saw as his duty by his mother country, who had shown further initiative to transfer to the Royal Flying Corps, he looks so proud with what he has achieved.  What else might he have achieved had he lived?  What a tragic generation.

Huntriss Memorial Window, Mattersey, Nottinghamshire

One memorial window which takes the breath away is situated on the south wall of the parish church in Mattersey, Nottinghamshire. The church is one of the majority which thankfully is open during daylight hours, for people to appreciate the serenity and spirituality of the space.

The window commemorates the deaths of three brothers who spent some of their youth in the quiet village. They were the sons of William and Charlotte Huntriss. William had married Charlotte in 1883 and was a successful farmer who by 1911 was living at Mattersey Hall. He died in 1912 before the war broke out. Charlotte was thirteen years younger than her husband and would live until 1939.

The quote above the figures is from Revelation 2:10 and reads:
BE THOU FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH AND I WILL GIVE THEE A CROWN OF LIFE
Underneath the tableau is the inscription:
IN EVER LOVING MEMORY OF LIEUT WILLIAM HUNTRISS, 3RD DUKE OF WELLINGTON’S WEST RIDING REGIMENT (ATTACHED TO GOLD COAST REGIMENT) BORN DECEMBER 16TH 1886; DIED OCTOBER 23RD 1918 AT COOMASSIE, AFRICA.
CAPT. HAROLD EDWARDS HUNTRISS, 1ST BATTALION BEDFORDSHIRE REGIMENT, BORN MAY 23RD 1890; DIED OF WOUNDS AT FESTUBERT, FRANCE MAY 17TH 1915.
CAPT. CYRIL JOHN HUNTRISS, 1ST BATTALION EAST YORKSHIRE REGIMENT. BORN JANUARY 23RD 1893, KILLED AT FRICOURT, FRANCE JULY 1ST 1916.

Cyril was born in Scarborough and educated at Uppingham School. He had served in France since January 1915. Cyril had won the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry on 9th August 1915. At Hooge, Belgium, he had, `led four bombing parties up to the assault on the enemy’s position with the greatest coolness and daring.’ He had also been mentioned in despatches by Field Marshal Sir John French in January 1916. He was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, along with nearly 20,000 other British troops. His body was never found and he is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial.

Harold was born in East Markham, Nottinghamshire. The following information comes from the website http://www.bedfordregiment.org.uk :

Captain Harold Edward HUNTRISS
Killed in action 17th May 1915, aged 24
Harold was born 23rd May 1890 in East Markham, Nottinghamshire, the son of William Huntriss, J.P. and Charlotte Elizabeth Huntriss. He was educated at Uppingham between 1904 and 1908, after which Harold applied to the Sandhurst Royal Military Academy on 29 September 1908, giving his address as Mattersey Hall, Bawtry, Yorkshire.
He was promoted to Lieutenant on 3rd May 1911 and arrived with the 2nd Battalion in France 6th October 1914. Lieutenant Huntriss was hit by shrapnel in the left thigh on the 29th or 30th October, during intense fighting east of Ypres and returned to England to recover after an operation.
Harold returned to the 2nd Battalion in April or May 1915 but was killed at the head of his Company as they advanced to the second German trench line, Major MacKenzie and Lieutenant Hutton-Williams being killed close by. All three were buried together despite the difficulties their men had recovering their bodies after the battle.
At the time of his death, he lived at Harlsen House, Belvedere Road in Scarborough, his widowed mother being his next of kin (resident at 116 Wheelwright Road, Gravelly Hill in Birmingham). There also seems to be a link to Huntriss and Huntriss Solicitors in Halifax who handled his mother’s affairs, his brother William seemingly being a partner within the firm.
Lieutenant Huntriss is buried in the Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, 7km east of Bethune..

William was born in Scarborough and died on the Gold Coast (now Ghana) and died in 1918, a few weeks before the end of the war.

Their names also appear along with the others from the village who made the ultimate sacrifice on the marble tablet next to the window.
One final twist to the tale was that when I came to sign the church visitors’ book, the last entry was for a Brian Huntriss from Leicestershire. I wonder if he is a relation.
John Broom is the author of two critically acclaimed books; Fight the Good Fight, Voices of Faith from the First World War , and Fight the Good Fight: Voices of Faith from the Second World War published by Pen and Sword. For a personally signed copy please email johnbroom@aol.com. The cost is £16 plus £4 p+p
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Stockport Art Gallery and War Memorial

Today we paid a visit to Stockport, firstly to take part in the Woodbank parkrun and secondly to visit the Art Gallery and War Memorial. When we got out of the car at the park, we were greeted by this sight:

The council website confirmed:

In 1921, Sir Thomas Rowbotham, a former Major of Stockport, presented to the town, Woodbank Memorial Park in honour of the Stockport men who died in the Great War. The park is 90 acres in extent, is beautifully wooded and, skirted by the river Goyt, presents striking natural views. The bluebells in the woods are a feature almost unequalled in any public park in the country. (Taken from the Stockport Official Guidebook 1949)

Having completed our run we found our way to the memorial. I had two particular reasons for wanting to visit this memorial; firstly it has been mentioned on numerous occasions in books and periodicals I have read and secondly I have not come across a war memorial which is an art gallery. Hospitals, statues, obelisks, crosses, sports grounds, social halls, gates – but no art gallery.

The memorial stands a little away from the town centre and is open most days. There are displays of art and a soon-to-be-opened gift shop. Staff are on hand to guide the visitor and are very welcoming and knowledgeable.

We visited on a day which was quite overcast and gloomy. However the memorial’s Hall of Memory relies largely on natural top-lighting supported by bronze pedestal lamps, so it had an appropriately sombre air today. I would imagine that on a bright sunny day (if such things occur in Stockport!) it would look quite vibrant. It is a memorial that will merit visits on different occasions to appreciate the different moods the light can bring.

The idea for the memorial was first mooted in 1919, at a meeting chaired by Sir Thomas Rowbotham, the same man who donated the land for Woodbank Park. The trustees of the estate of Stockport chemist Samuel Kay, J.P. donated the site and stipulated:

the Memorial building should provide accomodation for an Art Gallery, and for assembly and meeting rooms for Technical and Higher Educational purposes, and for exhibitions in Science and Art and Technology, and all allied purposes, and to provide a site, if required, for the extension of the Municipal Secondary School.

The memorial was opened on the site of the old Stockport Grammar School in 1925 by Prince Henry, the entire amount for this stunning tribute having been raised by subscription by the people of Stockport, an amount of £24,000, the equivalent of over £1 million in 2015 terms. There is some rare British Pathe footage of the opening here http://www.britishpathe.com/video/prince-henry-2/query/Memorial And yes, it’s raining! At the opening he said:

No tribute can be too great for those who, without flinching or hesitation, faced the horrors and deprivations of war, and willingly gave their lives for others and for the country they loved so well.

The building was designed by Messers Halliday and Agate of Manchester. It was intended as a space to encourage the love of the beautiful and has regular art exhibitions, lectures and other cultural events.

The main feature of the memorial is the Hall of Memory. It is a semi-circular apse of Italian marble and the main statue was created by Gilbert Ledward of London. It depicts Britannia standing with a flag, holding in her right hand a Sword of Honour and in the left a Palm of Victory. The kneeling figure in front of her symbolises the men who fell in the war, having a broken sword. A serpent is crushed beneath the shield showing the victory over evil.

Stockport Hall of Memory (c) Dawn Broom

The panels around the statue contain names of 2200 Stockport people who fell in the Great War, as well as those added after the Second World War and subsequent conflicts. Above the panels are inscribed the words:

THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE

THEY DIED FOR FREEDOM AND HONOUR

LET THOSE WHO COME AFTER SEE THAT THEIR NAME BE NOT FORGOTTEN

How appropriate that, in 2015, the original vision of the Art Gallery and Memorial is still being preserved by the people of Stockport and that the Hall of Memory is beautifully kept to ensure that those names will not be forgotten.