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2nd Lieutenant George Ernest Woodward was a junior officer in the 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment and was killed in action on 29th September 1918 aged 28.  He was the son of James and Maria Woodward and the husband of Florence (Florrie) all of whom lived in Thurlaston, a small village approx. six miles to the west of  Leicester.

The memorial was originally sited inside the Baptist Chapel in Thurlaston and is thought to have been paid for by his wife – Florrie. Many years ago the memorial was moved outside the chapel and began to suffer damage caused by exposure to traffic pollution and the effects of the weather. In 2004, the memorial was donated to the Hinckley Museum; however, due to space limitations they were unable to display the memorial properly. In 2015,  Hinckley Museum asked the Project to take the memorial into its care. This was something we were only too pleased to do and the memorial now forms part of our Resident Memorials collection.​

A picture of 2nd Lt. Woodward’s headstone in the Pigeon Ravine Cemetery can be found on this link.

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When we were first setting up ARWMP in 2013, Chris and I visited All Saints, Loughborough, the main church in town. We were `appalled to see that the fine WW1 memorial was high up in a walled off part of the South aisle and impossible to see clearly.

Not only that, but the tablets flanking either side which can be seen in the photograph were in fact the WW2 tablets and the three WW1 tablets were just dumped on the floor under the high altar. Extraordinary.

We contacted the PCC and were put in touch with a group who was just starting to plan the re- ordering process with English Heritage and the Diocesan authorities to rectify this along with other changes to the church layout.

It was a very large project of which the relocation of the restored memorials to a better position on the North aisle wall would cost some £32,000 including the removal of some slate donor tablets and reconfiguration of some pews.

At that time in our history we were fairly well off, having received a most generous grant from HLF. After many meetings we made an offer to support this work to the tune of £15,000.

The end result was a readily accessible WW1 memorial, reunited with its three WW1 tablets of names along with the two WW2 tablets.

It was a large sum of money for us to spend but had we not done so, the project in Loughborough would have dragged on while these additional funds were raised. It was a great boost to the WW1 centenary events in that town.

For details of the low down round headed memorial see the next page about Holy Trinity, Loughborough.

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At the May 2017, meeting of the Leicester branch of the Western Front Association, Denis Kenyon was alerted to the fact that a stained glass war memorial was listed in an auction to be held in just four days time in south Leicestershire.  There was no time to lose: Denis and Chris Stephens were able to arrange a meeting at the auction house on the Thursday before the auction which was scheduled for the following day. They explained who they were and their concerns to the auctioneer who was completely understanding.  Later that evening the auctioneer rang Denis to say that the vendor had withdrawn it from the auction sale and a deal was struck there and then for the memorial to be acquired.

The memorial in question is the magnificent World War II window from the now closed Aylestone and District Working Men’s Club on Saffron Lane, Leicester.  It is the largest memorial in the Project’s collection measuring 10ft 8ins tall by 5ft 2ins wide (3.25m x 1.57m) and its sturdy frame makes it extremely heavy.

It says a huge amount about the pride of the Club members in their wartime service that they commissioned such a fine memorial to their dead comrades.  The wording on the dedication scroll is most moving – not only remembering them but also giving thanks for the safe return of others.

Transporting the memorial to our base at All Saints’ church was a tremendous task kindly undertaken for us by the auction house.

Since its arrival into our collection the memorial has undergone some light cleaning and now benefits from LED backlighting to highlight the colours in the stained glass.

An added bonus is an album of the other stained glass windows from the club depicting various City and County landmarks.  The colours shine like jewels.

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This Roll of Honour with a total 508 names including 339 who died, has the flags of all the allies and unusually has a centre column headed – MEDALLISTS  giving the names of the club members who had won bravery awards.  Incidentally we also have a page from the Leicester Mercury with their photographs.

This beautiful work, well worth examining in detail was painted by a J.S.H.Bates of Leicester.

Like so many other Clubs of the early 20th century, Belgrave and District WMC in Checkett’s Road, Leicester would have had a membership numbering several thousand.

Belgrave & District Working Men’s Club and Institute

Founded in 1894 it had a wonderful array of facilities.  It had a lounge, sports bar, concert room and even an Ambulance Room.  This latter was fully kitted out for massage and heat treatment, emergency oxygen, chiropodist and all was free to members.  The benefits of membership were obvious in the days when entertainment and medical provision was more restricted.

These two Rolls of Honour are real works of art, especially commissioned from a professional artist.  They have both maintained their vivid colouring.

The club closed in the late 1990s and was became The Jungle Club, famous for its two huge replica elephant tusks on each side of the front door.  Fortunately the Rolls of Honour were taken down from the walls to allow for the more exotic decoration suitable to new use and were stored under the stage.  There they remained for about 20 years.

Thanks to the perseverance of Chris Stephens and the generosity of the owner of the club, they came into our care in 2018 when we had them re-mounted in their original frames and glazed.

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An equally impressive piece but in a very different style.  This one was painted by a Victor Shaw who describes himself on the board as an Art Craftsman and even gives his address and Sheffield telephone number!

This Roll of Honour has a total of 393 names with 18 who died.

The wonderful thing about these two fine Rolls of Honour is that they radiate the pride of club members who will have paid for them out of their own pockets at a time when life was very tough.

Belgrave & District Working Men’s Club and Institute

Founded in 1894 it had a wonderful array of facilities.  It had a lounge, sports bar, concert room and even an Ambulance Room.  This latter was fully kitted out for massage and heat treatment, emergency oxygen, chiropodist and all was free to members.  The benefits of membership were obvious in the days when entertainment and medical provision was more restricted.

These two Rolls of Honour are real works of art, especially commissioned from a professional artist.  They have both maintained their vivid colouring.

The club closed in the late 1990s and was became The Jungle Club, famous for its two huge replica elephant tusks on each side of the front door.  Fortunately the Rolls of Honour were taken down from the walls to allow for the more exotic decoration suitable to new use and were stored under the stage.  There they remained for about 20 years.

Thanks to the perseverance of Chris Stephens and the generosity of the owner of the club, they came into our care in 2018 when we had them re-mounted in their original frames and glazed.

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Slightly damaged, but have now saved this memorial for future generations.

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The British United Shoe Machinery Company Ltd. or “BU” as it was known was Leicester’s largest employer and in the 1960’2 and 1970’ employed 4,400 people.  Like so much of the City’s fine industries it fell on hard times in the 1980’s and then went through a series of complicated restructurings, buy outs and sell outs eventually to a large venture capitalist company, closing its doors for the last time in 2000.

The buildings were abandoned and stripped of valuables. This wonderful Roll of Honour was found in a skip in the yard with its glass cracked and soaking wet.  It was handed in to our care in November 2016 and carefully restored.

It is extremely interesting in that the main page is specially designed for 1914 only but the list of names is pasted on as if there were errors or amendments in a previous sheet.

Despite the numbers of employees who must have served in the Great War, no other war memorial is known to exist but if anyone knows anything else about the good old BU, then please do get in touch.

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Claremont Street Methodists have a long and distinguished history. Originally founded as an informal gathering in a cottage by labouring people in Belgrave in 1820, they soon outgrew the available space and moved to a cow shed on Checkett’s Lane.

With numbers continuing to grow a purpose built first a chapel and then in 1877 a church was constructed with a school building alongside a few years later.

The interior was equally impressive.

Like so many other religious organisations, numbers declined and eventually the church building being too large, was demolished in 1994 and worship continued in the Sunday School building alongside.

In April 2014 Chris Stephens had found that the war memorial, having been removed prior to demolition of the main church building was stored in a cupboard. He proposed to the Minister that it could be re-erected on the hall wall and ARWMP offered to pay to have this done.

The work was duly carried out and a rededication service was held on 1st August 2014. [Awaiting photograph]

Having paid for this memorial to be re-erected in the meeting room in 2014, it is with great sadness that in late 2021 we had to take it into care on the closure of the church.

The history of this church dates back to 1820 – only five years after the battle of Waterloo!

Originally a group of labouring people meeting to worship in a cottage on the green of Belgrave village.

Numbers grew steadily and in 1880 the main handsome church was built with a fine gallery. With growth continuing the schools (right of church) were added in 1904.

Like so many memorials, the wording gives no clue as to its origin hence the urgent need to carefully preserve its heritage.

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This little memorial which is the plate on the lip of the sloping top of a reading desk or lectern was taken into our care in 2019. It came to us thanks to a discussion Denis Kenyon was having on air at BBC Radio Leicester with Ben Jackson.

A listener rang my phone and hurried over as they were desperate to find a home for it. It came from the now demolished Holy Rood Church in Bagworth and unfortunately no organisation there was able to take it in.

Corporal Wright, service number 4864281, 107 Field Coy. Royal Engineers, the son of Harry and Ellen Wright of Bagworth was involved in the invasion of Sicily code named Operation Husky. He is buried in Syracuse in Syracuse War Cemetery, Sicily.

It is only a small item but none the less precious for that and we are proud to give it a home.

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The amount of persistence to have this memorial returned to Countesthorpe from it being in store at the City Museum lock up in Freemen’s Common was quite extraordinary.

Everyone in the Museum Service was very sympathetic to the idea but the difficulties were manifold. The Museum Service being accredited, has to follow exceedingly tight rules about handing artefacts to outside its keeping – rules which realistically only really apply to priceless, light and heat sensitive high value items not robust memorials.

This was further compounded by a past history of “ownership” by The Royal Leicestershire Regiment who had loaned it to the Museum Service and various transfer procedures required make the move to Countesthorpe Parish Council.

All this took an amazing amount of unscrambling and an appeal for practical rules to apply. Anyway, persistence paid off and it was duly erected on the Chapel wall in Countesthorpe Cemetery.

A rededication service was going to be held in April of 2020 but that of course has had to be postponed.

The glass panels are presumed to have originally displayed the Victoria Cross of Pte. William Buckingham and the Distinguished Conduct Medal of Coy. Sgt Major Frank Millington, two of The Leicester Regiments’ WW1 heroes.

As you can see it was worth the effort.

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Memorial plaque to the 15 former members of the church’s Sunday school who died in the Great War.

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We were approached for help by a resident of Exton in mid 2019 about how to have their war memorial cleaned.

Based on our experience of using Independent Memorial Inspection with whom we had worked at Hallaton and Uppingham, we were able to recommend their services and also offered a modest contribution of £500 towards the cost.

There are two memorials in the little Memorial Garden – a traditional cross and a tablet in the wall with names of the men from Exton and Whitwell who died.

The cross was in a very grubby state and the tablet was beginning to be discoloured. Both were carefully cleaned with super hot steam and absolutely no abrasives were used.

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The framed lithograph shows a group of soldiers kneeling before a makeshift altar during World War One in Flanders field with a Red Cross flying on a flag pole at the far right of the composition. A Union Jack flag is being used as an improvised altar cloth. A Chaplain in a surplice, also a soldier, administers the sacrament to the reverent congregation. It came from St. Saviour’s Church when it was virtually ransacked by vandals and not having any value was left lying on the floor.

The original was painted by William Yates Holt Titcomb (1858-1930).  He was a professional painter and one of his specialties was religious paintings. The original is in Clifton College Chapel, Bristol.  It is possible that it was painted in memory of his son Francis Holt Yates Titcomb who attended that school and was a Probationary Flight Officer in the Royal Naval Air Service and who died on 15th April 1917.

It has been said that the portraits of the soldiers are of Francis’s school friends.

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This fine World War 2 memorial to The Gateway School is being re-erected in The Newarke Houses Museum having featured in the recently closed exhibition IN MEMORIAM: Leicester’s War Memorials at Risk.

This is its true home as that is where the School was located until it closed in 2009.

However its successor institution, Gateway Sixth Form College in Hamilton is most interested in fostering a close connection with Newarke Houses and we are working closely with them to facilitate this. For a start we will produce a near full size print on framed foam board which will hang somewhere central in the College.

Along with it will be a book of biographies of the men listed on the memorial using information kindly given by old boy Mr Ken Paterson.Any further information will be most welcome.

A Short History of Gateway School and College in Leicester

Gateway School, Leicester, opened on Tuesday the 18th September 1928 in Skeffington House, the building that is now occupied by the Newarke Houses Museum.

There were 270 boys of different ages in the first intake, who were taught by

a staff of 12, following a curriculum that had an emphasis on practically based subjects. Between 1928 and 1940 the school roll would include the names of 46 boys, who after the Second World War would be commemorated on the Gateway School War Memorial.

In March 1939 the school moved across the road to the Georgian-fronted building, where it would remain for the next seventy years. For many of those years a number of other buildings in Leicester were also used for teaching, but in the1960’s a new gymnasium, and buildings to house the craft and science departments were constructed on the Newarke site. At this time Gateway was a grammar school, with boys having to pass the 11+ examination to gain entry. However, the school also accepted into its sixth form boys aged 16 who had attended local secondary schools.

In 1976 a major change took place in Leicester with the introduction of co-educational sixth form colleges. Gateway was chosen to be one of these, with 57 female students among the first intake. The constraints imposed by the size of the site at the Newarke meant that further development there was not feasible, and so in 2009 a new Gateway Sixth Form College was opened on a purpose built campus in the Hamilton district of Leicester. In 2020 over 1,200 students were enrolled there, taking both A-level and vocational programmes of study.

Ken Patterson – teacher at Gateway School from 1974 to 2001. Courtesy of Michael Doyle.

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Hallaton War Memorial is unusual in that it was dedicated by the Suffragan Bishop of Leicester on April 3rd 1918 when the end of the war was no where in sight.

The reason for this very early construction and dedication is that the then Lord of the Manor of Hallaton was Mrs Effie Elizabeth Bewicke, who was a widow and childless and who doted on her nephew Calverley George Bewicke.

Calverley was a regular army officer in the Welsh Regiment and was killed at Pozières on the Somme on 26th July 1916. His aunt wanted to get on and commemorate him and his fellow Hallaton men and as it was “her” village, in June 1916 she asked the Parish Council if they would agree to have a memorial erected on the village green which of course they did. She commissioned a well known architect, Paul Waterhouse to design it and for the base he mirrored the round tiered base of the famous old Buttercross using a multitude of different types of stone. There were a total of 21 names.

Over the years it had lost its glow. So in time for the centenary of its dedication, ARWMP and the Parish Council agreed to have it steam cleaned by a specialist company.

It looks splendid.

The war memorial now has 41 names of men associated with the village from the Great War and four from World War 2.

 

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Standing rather forlornly leaning against a wall in the base of the tower at All Saints was this very handsome small triptych in carved wood. It was originally from Holy Trinity, Moor Lane, Loughborough a fairly undistinguished Victorian church designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield built in 1878. The church closed many years ago and the building is occupied by a social services department and the war memorial was taken out and sent to All Saints.

The church building may have possessed little merit but the WW1 memorial is an outstanding piece.

It became part of the overall relocation plan at All Saints so it now has a safe and permanent home.

 

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The Victorian church of St Augustine which had served the expanding area of Leicester in Newfoundpool, was closed in 2002 and subsequently attacked and set on fire by vandals and squatters and the place rendered a total wreck.

Long before ARWMP had been formed, one of our founders Chris Stephens, had taken the initiative and arranged to move the Inglehurst Board School Roll of Honour listing the names of 831 men who served of whom 352 died, to its nearest successor establishment, Inglehurst Infant School.

Even there it nearly suffered loss again. In 2008 the hall in the infant’s school caught fire with burning polystyrene tiles dripping from the roof. The quick thinking fire-fighters seeing the potential for catastrophe immediately removed the Rolls of Honour and placed them outside on the grass. They were saved!

In the church there had been another very fine memorial. This one was to George Geoffrey Parmiter. He was the son of the first vicar of the parish who died of fever on 11th January 1918 serving with 648th Motor Transport Company, Army Service Corps in East Africa. He is buries in Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery in what is now known as Tanzania. His memorial had disgracefully originally been marked for auction. Chris stepped in and had it moved to St Mary de Castro where it remains still.

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Lance Corporal 13411 Thomas Timothy Smith Bourne 6th Battalion Ox & Bucks Light Infantry
Killed in Action 3rd September 1916

The recovery of this memorial is quite remarkable. In October 2020 we were contacted by a lady enquiring as to whether we could take into care a memorial to her uncle. That is all we were told but when the story unfolded it proved to be a truly inspiring story of luck and persistence.

It is a headstone to Lance Corporal 13411 Thomas Timothy Smith Bourne who served with 6th Battalion Ox & Bucks Light Infantry and was killed in the advance of 59th Brigade on the village of Guillemont on 3rd September 1916 and who is remembered on The Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 10A and 10D.

He was the son of Ernest Edward and Amy Elizabeth Bourne, of Michael Villa, Donisthorpe, Burton-on-Trent. Ernest Edward was a coal miner and very devout Methodist and the family attended Donisthorpe Methodist Chapel on the Moira Road three times a day on Sundays.

To commemorate their son, his parents had a marble tablet erected on the chapel wall. As in so many cases the chapel closed and was demolished and a new chapel built across the road also subsequently closing in 2010 and is now the The Lewis Charlton Learning Centre. The tablet had slipped from memory.

In early 2020 a game of football was being played in the school yard. A hefty kick and the ball flew over a shed roof. The master, Richard Clay went to retrieve it and there was the tablet in a fairly filthy state.

By great good fortune, Richard Clay has been a military historian for over 40 years and thus knew his way round the various possible archives. He was intrigued by this find and took the considerable trouble to try to find a descendant and eventually tracked down a niece – a remarkable feat in itself, many years on from it being rudely dumped. She had it cleaned and requested we take it into care. We are so pleased that Thomas Timothy Smith Bourne’s headstone can once more be seen and honoured and his sacrifice remembered.

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During WW1, if a serviceman was wounded or contracted an illness which resulted in them no longer being fit and able to serve, then they would have been discharged and given a Silver War Badge and a Certificate of Disabled Discharge.

The Silver War Badge was regarded by many as an honour but it also served a very practical purpose in showing to the public that the wearer had done their duty and so would not be subjected to taunts of cowardice. An example  of a Silver War Badge can be seen in the image below.

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This is a framed commemorative certificate-type memorial dedicated to the Scoutmasters, Patrol Leaders, Seconds and Scouts of the Leicester [Boy Scouts] Association. It includes the names of 73 men connected with the Association who lost their lives during WW1.

It is a hand-drawn certificate and bears the name of M M Whittle as the possible identity of the artist with an accompanying date of 1920.

The history and background into this memorial work is presently being researched by Roy-Anthony Birch who is a research volunteer with the Project.

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The Society was a trade union body which ceased to exist in 1974 when its remaining members at that time were absorbed into the much larger National Union of Hosiery and Knitwear Workers.

It is believed that the original postcard size Roll of Honour was given to each man/family named and the companies mentioned – famous Leicester textile names in their day – were possibly given a large card version which they could frame. Being somewhat fragile these have not survived.

The Society’s records are held at the National Archives and our record of the Roll of Honour will be offered to them if it is not included in the papers they hold.

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Our involvement in this was very low key but nonetheless an important result was achieved.

When Nevill Holt Hall was sold to a private individual having been a Preparatory School since 1919, for some reason the two WW2 memorial plaques were removed from the large, ornate gates.

This was drawn to our attention in January 2017. When we approached the owner he confirmed that they had indeed been taken down and would be re-erected in the chapel. However, the chapel being an integral part of the house and also in private hands was unacceptable.

In mid-2018 the Harborough District Council Conservation Officer became involved and the plaques were restored to their rightful position on the ornamental gates where they can be viewed by all.

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This Roll of Honour to members of the Club who served in both World Wars gives no indication of those who died. It was spotted for sale in an antique store by one of our supporters.

We strongly disapprove of the selling and purchase of war memorials but in this instance we decided that needs must and struck a deal. Had we not done so a piece of Leicester’s heritage would have been lost.

At present little is known about the Club but if anyone has any information it would be greatly welcomed.

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These two fine bonze memorials were retrieved from the cellar of what is now St Martin’s House in Peacock Lane, which had for many years been the home of Alderman Newton’s Grammar School but which was latterly used by the newly formed Leicester Grammar School before it moved to Great Glen in 2008.

They were left there when in 1979 Alderman Newton’s Greencoat School moved to New Parks and was subsumed into New College Leicester in the appropriately named Greencoat Road.

At Risk War Memorials Project took them into care in what is an exceedingly appropriate location – All Saints, Highcross Street where Alderman Newton is buried and also has a fine memorial window.

Gabriel Newton was born 1683 in relatively humble circumstances but was thrice married and on each occasion to a lady with means and soon accumulated significant wealth in land and money. Devoting himself to the affairs of the city, he was elected Alderman in 1726 and Mayor of Leicester in 1732.

Having no surviving heir, he left the considerable sum of £3,250 to the Corporation of Leicester for the founding of a school for boys which opened in 1784 with 35 boys.

His statue today adorns the Clock Tower at the heart of the City.

The first one lists those men killed in World War I and the second lists those lost in WWII.

It will be noticed that unlike most war memorials which have a ration of about 10:1 of deaths in the two wars, in this instance the numbers are 98 and 78 respectively.  This is partly due to the relative size of the school in each period and also probably the large number of men who served in the RAF in the Second World War.

Old Newtonians can be greatly proud of their school, its achievements and sacrifices.

​Our friend Pamela Blythe has put together a document on the 1914-18 panel which links to the excellent research undertaken by Peter and Michael Doyle on the Leicestershire War Memorials website. See link below.

​For detailed information on the 1939-45 panel and the men listed on them, click on the other button below (research kindly undertaken by Pamela Blythe).

​There was also a piece written about Bert Preston, who is listed on the WWII panel, in our ‘Last Post’ newsletter which you can read here

 

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Built in 1928-1929, the splendid building in Rugby Road, Hinckley was designed as a social club for all rather than for a particular group. ​

It had all the usual club facilities such as a billiard room with three tables, bar, smoke room, concert hall, lounge, committee rooms, and steward’s house store. There was also a skittle alley 48ft. long.

Like so many other clubs it was hit hard by the arrival of mass television and closed in 1990.

After World War 2, this fine war memorial was erected. Destined for the scrap metal merchant, it was saved by an alert local historian and presented to Hinckley Museum. With walls insufficiently strong to carry it, it was passed in to our care in 2019.

The left hand side shows as it was. The right hand side after a series of gentle washes with warm water.  The dark staining on the upper part is due to attempted cleaning with an incorrect material. Unfortunately the cost of a professional cleaning is just too great.​

Our friend Gregory Drozdz has done some research on the names on this memorial which can be accessed below.

We have also produced a story board about this memorial which can also be accessed below.

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Chris Stephens was aware that in the churchyard there was an unusual WW2 memorial to Rifleman Jeremy John English, 12th Bn. King’s Royal Rifle Corps, killed at Cleves (Kleve) in Germany near the Dutch border on February 10th 1945. Being of wood and standing outside it had warped, deteriorated badly and the foot of the post embedded in a concrete block was starting to rot.

We endeavoured to see if there were any relatives still living in the village but could find no one.

After discussions with the Parochial Church Council, we removed and stabilised it but did not alter the wood, apart from splicing in a new base to the shaft.

We then made a wrought iron stand hand and had it placed inside the church next to the other war memorials.

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South Leicestershire Working Men’s Club WW2 Roll of Honour & Memorial, Burnmoor Street moved to St. Andrews Church, Jarrom
Street.

This was instigated by Chris Stephens in 2006 some six years before the ARWM Project had started. He had been speaking on Radio Leicester in his role as a Regional Volunteer for War Memorials Trust.

A Mr George Geary a member of the Working Men’s Club had taken it home when the Club was closed in 1998 and stored it in his garden shed.

Mr Geary happened to be listening and contacted Chris, who with the cooperation of Richard Gill, the churchwarden and Neville Iliffe, arranged for it to be re-erected alongside their own memorial in St Andrew’s Church in whose parish the Club had been situated.

An early inspiring example of initiative taken to preserve what might have been lost forever.

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This memorial was passed on to us by the Church of the Nativity in Aylestone Park, Leicester who had taken it into their care when the church of St. James the Less was closed. The memorial contains the names of 154 people who died during WW1 and who would have had ties with either the church or the local community. As can be seen there are a number of people on the memorial who would have been from the same family such as the Peggs and Mullahys.

The church of St. James the Less has totally vanished and a small housing development now stands on its former site.

The memorial is made of slate with the names being engraved into it and embossed in gold. As with the Vernon Road memorial, this memorial also quotes the duration of the war being from 1914 to 1919.  ​

Joan Rowbottom, who has worked closely with us, has produced mini biographies of the men listed on this memorial. These are from her splendid book which she has donated to our project and resides with the memorial.

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We were approached to see if we could help in any way. After various permissions had been sought, it was decided that the best solution was for a new plaque to be erected in the porch with exactly the same wording as the original.

This was carried out by Phil Langmead of Barham Stone of Market Harborough and we were delighted to be able to pay the full cost of £582 including VAT.

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In 2013 we learnt that the Elim Pentecostal Church had taken over the redundant Church of England St. Peter’s, Storer Road Loughborough. We also knew that there had been a magnificent triptych war memorial and wondered what its fate might be.

We contacted the Pastor, the Reverend Paul Stevens who immediately invited us over. It was in a store room and its significance had not been fully appreciated but nevertheless he was very keen to help in having it re-erected. We walked round the superbly re-modelled modern interior of the building, with its meeting rooms, full services and even a fully functioning café serving the hundreds of students living near by.

There was virtually no clear wall space to fit this large 9 feet x 9 feet exceedingly heavy memorial until we came to just inside the new glass front door at the East end. It fitted well.

Chris Stevens and Denis Kenyon cleaned it up and we paid a stone mason to fit it to the wall.

On 5th November 2013 a Re- dedication Service was held attended by some 16 people, some of whom were descendants of those listed. The names on the memorial were read and the exhortation was spoken along with a few short prayers.

We are exceedingly grateful to the Rev. Stevens for his enthusiastic support.

This splendid memorial was restored to its former glory. We have copies at All Saints of the original correspondence about its creation which was not without a certain amount of friction in the parish.

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This is another memorial which came from St Saviour’s and again having no value was left damaged on the ground, the vandals having found satisfaction in snapping the eagle off at the legs and breaking its beak.

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These two fine decorated candlesticks some 1.5m tall were also a memorial from WW2.  On each of them is the crest of the Civil Defence Corps and the wording carved and picked out in gold:

To the Glory of God and in memory of Warden W. Pratt and members of this parish who lost their lives thro’ enemy action on 19 Nov. 1940.

This refers to the night when a German bomber released its load over the City with many killed and houses destroyed. Warden Pratt is buried in Welford Road Cemetery.

These candlesticks both vanished.  An appeal was made in the Leicester Mercury in April 2015 but there was no response. In 2017 DSK received a phone call to say that one was being used with permission in a village church in the northeast of the County.  We visited, found it well cared for so decided to leave it there, St Saviour’s being still closed. We fixed a small brass plaque giving its provenance and stating it was one of two.

Another article was put in the Mercury enquiring about the second one.  The very next day a phone call was received from Mablethorpe! It was there in the care of someone who loved the church and walking past one day saw the door ajar and the broken candlestick lying on the floor and took it into care.  It is now safely with us.

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This beautiful Roll of Honour carefully crafted by a calligrapher in memory of members of the congregation killed in World War 2, and like the other memorials we saved, was left lying on the floor in the ransacked St Saviour’s, deemed to be of no value. But these were husbands, sons, brothers and sweethearts not to be forgotten.

Examine in detail and you can see the exquisite care taken in the capital letters and shading of the words “Our Fallen”.

The wording at the bottom comes from John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress”.

The names inside are by no means complete. Whereas the first pages of names are beautifully drawn, as the pressures of living through the war increased, later ones are written in pencil.

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Although the memorial from St. Marks no longer exists, it does carry a story which highlights the way in which memorials can be put “at risk”, often quite innocently by their guardians.

St. Mark’s possessed a wooden memorial board providing the names of local men, and men connected with that church, who served and died in World War One. Approximately ten years ago, the memorial was found to be suffering from woodworm and, sadly, the memorial was burned and destroyed.

Fortunately, before it was destroyed, a valuable friend of the Project (Michael Doyle) had photographed and recorded the memorial’s details as part of a much wider work they were undertaking on Leicestershire’s war memorials as a whole.

Details of the memorial, together with a photograph (which can be viewed below) of the memorial itself, are set out on an information board as part of the display of the memorial from the Belgrave Liberal Club.

We are indebted to Michael Doyle for his assistance to us.

St. Marks’ Church was a stopping point for those on the Jarrow March in 1936 where they received new boots. The church is no longer a consecrated place of worship and has most recently been used as a banqueting centre.

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St Michael and All Angels Church which was designed by Everard & Pick was built in 1897. After an unsuccessful appeal for £500,000 to convert the building to a Centre for Performing Arts it was demolished in 1996. The church bells which were made by Taylors of Loughborough, makers of the Carillion bells, were sent to a church in Johannesburg.

Map showing Scott Street and where St Michael & All Angels Church used to stand.


Avenue Road Extension today

Out of the 57 names on the memorial over half lived in just three streets.

Knighton Fields Road West
No 6 John Phipps
No. 23 William Munton
No. 45 Francis Frost
No. 53 Charles & Percy Hubbard
No. 100 Arthur Goddard

Knighton Fields Road East
No. 303 Arthur & Lawrence Allen
No. 2 Ernest Wells
No. 15 George & William Munday
No. 148 Sidney Holmes
No. 34 John Valentine

Avenue Road Extension
No. 214 George & James Cave
No.246 Thomas Hinsley
No.252 Arthur, Harold & Oliver Bree
No. 253 James, John & Oliver Mason
No. 266 Edward Smith
No. 291 Clarence Bostock

Sheridan Street
No. 11 Albert & Thomas Lawrence
No. 68 Enoch Tunnicliffe
No. 155 Ernest Braddock
No.165 Harry Vickers
No. 195 Levitt & Richard Cooper

The names listed here by our researcher on this place are all from the World War One plaques.

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Located within the church was a Memorial Board bearing the names of 216 men in the parish who fell in the First World War. Below are images of the Memorial Board in situ at the church showing how it looked before and after it was vandalised.​

It was originally intended that the black panels bearing the names of the fallen men would be restored. However, upon inspection, the panels were found to have deteriorated to such a state where the men’s names were barely legible and in some cases not at all.​

It was therefore decided that a local artist/designer would be instructed to create a faithful reproduction of the board. This was completed in September 2014 (see image below); together with the light-box reproductions of the stained-glass windows, the recreated board now forms a striking part of the collection of memorial items from St. Saviour’s Church in our Resident Memorials Collection.

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Pictured here are light box recreations of the three stained-glass memorial windows which were located at the church: sadly, the original windows were lost to vandalism some years ago. Our light boxes are now the  only way to view the windows in anything like their intended, original state.

​The windows commemorate the lives of three soldiers killed in the First World War, namely;

  1. Lt. Frank Percy Haines, 8th Bn. Leicestershire Regiment;
  2. 2nd Lt. Harvey Priestman Flint MC, 9th Bn. Leicestershire Regiment;  and
  3. Cpl Bertrand Hatton West; King’s Royal Rifle Corps
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We had long believed that Standard Engineering one of Leicester’s bigger machinery manufacturing companies must have had a Roll of Honour or War Memorial but with no sight of the old factory in Evington Valley Road, it having been taken over years ago by an American engineering company, we feared the worst and that it and the business had vanished.

 

But in one of those wonderful strokes of luck which any quest needs, we received a photograph taken by the City Estate’s Department back in the 1960’s.  It showed the interior of the clocking-on room and there along with a Wrigley’s chewing gum and Woodbine cigarette dispenser, was a slanting shot of the memorial! The hunt was renewed.

A new search on the web showed that the company was actually successfully operating in Kettering. When contacted naturally no one knew about it but after a chain of phone calls, a retired employee recalled a book “Our Fifty Years” being published in 1944 and there was the photograph of the memorial!

The actual memorial we fear has long been lost in the various take-overs and moves. If anyone knows anything, please do get in touch.

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This fine memorial with its 25 names and moving wording, came to us from the Cathedral in September 2021. The mystery is, and despite extensive research by Caroline Wessel MA, no one knows why it was there in the first place. We are honoured that the Cathedral thought of us as a safe haven. Unlike many memorials, the name of the original organisation is mentioned.

T. H. Downing Ltd was a large knitwear manufacturer in the City founded in the early 1800s. Its original name was Charles Lea & Co., and taken over by Thomas Downing in 1845.

Caroline Wessel’s research has shown that it was one of Leicester’s larger companies, with 400 employees and warehouses in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Cardiff and Birmingham. They also had a wide ranging network of representatives in the then colonies, Scandinavia, the Far and Middle East. Obviously a very enterprising company.

The company had a most handsome factory in Newarke Street but sadly in 1987 the building was demolished to make way for the new Magistrate’s Court.

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This is the memorial to the men employed by the City of Leicester Tramways and Electricity Department who lost their lives during both world wars.​

It has been loaned to the Project’s Resident Memorials collection by the Leicester Transport Heritage Trust (‘LTHT’) until work is complete on their restoration of the Edwardian tram deport on London Road, Stoneygate, Leicester.  It is hoped that by the time this country commemorates the end of the Great War in 1918, not only will the memorial be fully restored but we will also be able to provide much more information on some of the names which appear on the memorial.​

The original memorial relating to the Great War was constructed by the Dryad Company run by the Peach family, art metal manufacturers, of 42 Saint Nicholas Street by order of Leicester Corporation in October 1921 for £135 (the equivalent of around £4,600 in today’s money). The firm also dealt with cane furniture and handicraft materials and had their works at 47 Thornton Lane which was at the rear of the Saint Nicholas Street premises.

It was agreed in February 1922 that the memorial would be placed in front of the Humberstone Gate tramway offices in a “suitable setting”. Arrangements were made for the memorial to be unveiled on Thursday 20 April 1922 by one of the tramway employees who had served his country.​

In addition to the memorial, an ornamental zinc receptacle for flowers was presented by Robert Lee who is described in contemporary trade directories as both an ironmonger of 3 Lord Street and a “tinner” of 32 Eldon Street. In fact both of these premises shared the same yard as the St. Leger Tavern which occupied one corner of these streets.

​It would soon be the practice for fresh flowers to be purchased weekly out of the Employees’ Benevolent Society Fund.

​However, during World War 2, a blast wall was erected on the frontage of the Humberstone Gate premises which meant that it was no longer possible for fresh flowers to be placed around the memorial until after the war had ended.

​Happily, the subject was raised again during a meeting on 18 July 1945 once the blast wall had been removed and it was agreed that the Transport Committee would pay £10 per year for fresh flowers to be placed around the memorial once again.

It is not known when the names of the employees who fell during World War 2 were added to the memorial but at some stage between 1953 and 1959, the memorial was removed from the Humberstone Gate premises to just inside the main doors of the Abbey Park Road head office block.

There is currently, of course, a great interest in all aspects of the Great War and some of LTHT’s members have already undertaken some research, particularly with regard to when and where the men listed on the memorial fell.

​As a starting point, the LTHT is fortunate to possess in its archive over 1,000 Application Forms which were completed by prospective Leicester Tramways motormen (tram drivers) and conductors  –  both of which were positions of responsibility and trust  –  between 1887 and 1936, although the vast majority of these are dated during the first 20 years of the last century.

​The forms give a fascinating insight into the jobs which the applicants previously held.  Indeed, many references from previous employers  –  some of which have been handwritten or typed on beautifully headed notepaper  –  have been retained with the applications.  Some of these records, therefore, relate to men who fell during the Great War.

​For further reading on the Leicester Transport Heritage Trust then please follow this link.

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These two war memorials have been taken into care after the closure of The Royce Institute in 2021.

What was The Royce Institute? It was named in honour of Dr Mary Royce (1845 -1892) who qualified in 1890 as Leicester’s first female doctor. She was also a leading member of the Gallow Tree Gate Chapel.

For 25 years even while studying for her medical degree and during her doctor’s work in the city, she also taught at Sunday classes for young men in an effort to keep them off the streets.

She established two medical practices one from her home and had a building erected in

Lower Church Street especially to enlarge on this work. Here she also gave medical advice to the poor. In April 1892 she was elected, unopposed, as the Poor Law Guardian in St. Margaret’s Ward.

Her work was tragically cut short in October 1892 when she died from a streptococcal infection contracted when visiting a patient in the Workhouse Infirmary. She was greatly mourned for all her good works, carried out in a very unassuming manner. Large numbers attended her funeral.

Her work carried on and when the new building was constructed in 1969 in Crane Street, Leicester it was quite rightly named in her honour. Recently a blue plaque has been fixed to the building by Leicester City Council.

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We have a framed picture of who we believe to be members of the congregation from this now closed church who served during WW2.

There is also a memorial plaque commemorating Keith Carter and Harry Hopkins being the two members of the church who died during that war.

Keith Carter was a Sergeant (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) 1164195, in 150 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and died on 20th October 1941. He is buried in a joint grave in Durnbach War Cemetery, Bayern, Germany, his inscription saying with pride the Royal Air Force motto – “Per Ardua ad Astra”.​

Harry Hopkins was a Flight Lieutenant 65997, in 158 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. In 1944, he was stationed at RAF Lissett in East Yorkshire. Harry joined the squadron on 11 July 1944 and on the afternoon of Friday, 14 July 1944 he was the pilot of a Halifax bomber (HX338) taking part in a training mission. At 19h55, the Halifax was abandoned over the south Wales coast in an incident which killed Harry, his flight engineer and the mid-upper gunner.  Our thanks to Kevin Bryett and Rolph Walker of the 158 Squadron Association for their assistance in providing us with details of Harry’s service with that squadron.

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One of the most extraordinary cases we have dealt with was this large Roll of Honour.

Denis Kenyon’s two sons had attended Nevill Holt Preparatory School near Medbourne and firmly in the County of Leicestershire. Over many years I had seen this board in the dining hall listing 189 OLD BOYS and seven MASTERS who served in the Great War with those who died having a small cross against their name.

Being in a school the natural conclusion was that the memorial was connected to that school. The school closed in 1998 and the building – a wonderful Hall, was bought as a private house in the year 2000. I wondered what had happened to the memorial.

In 2013 I found it just propped against the wall in Nevill Holt Church which was also now in private hands.

It was only after I started to investigate some of the names on the board and spoke to my friend the now long retired last headmaster, did I learn that it had no connection with Nevill Holt School.

Where had it come from and why was it there? Research on the names listed and a few lucky clues lead me to the fact that it was originally from Uppingham Lower School but where had that been and why was it now in Nevill Holt? A lot of fun was had in tracking down the present location and it turned out to be Uppingham School’s, The Lodge, Sixth Form Girl’s Boarding House.

Apparently in 1919 the Rev Bowlker, owner and headmaster of the totally independent Uppingham Lower School had a spectacular falling out with the then headmaster of the main Uppingham School, and so took his boys, their beds and the Board to the empty Nevill Holt Hall and there it stayed.

So not only was it in the wrong school, it was also in the wrong County! The Housemistress of The Lodge was contacted and enthusiastically agreed to have it back. When we went to have a look, there was the still exact sized empty space on the wall from whence it originally came.

On 27th April 2014 a moving rededication service was held with the Headmaster and some 60 people present. Better still, my wife and I were invited to stay for lunch and were served Spotted Dick and custard! Absolutely delicious.

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In 2017 we were approached by a resident of Uppingham who knew of our work with war memorials and asked to have a look at the Uppingham Town memorial at the bottom of the churchyard on the Kettering Road

It was not in good condition; the surround was crumbling and sliding down hill and access was very poor across rough grass.

DSK held talks with the Town Clerk, who said that the plan was to clean and restore the memorial and at the same time create an attractive York stone surround and a new stone path across the grass, all in time for 11th November 2018.

We discussed this with Heritage Lottery Fund who agreed that we could use some of the money left over after the expiry of our grant period in helping this project.

We suggested that they use the specialist cleaning company used at Hallaton and agreed to give Uppingham a generous grant.

Everything was completed in time and this is the result.

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In mid-June 2014, we took into our care a further addition to our ‘Resident Memorials’ collection. The memorial commemorates the lives of 20 men who died in WW1 and who would have had some connection with the Vann Street Methodist Church in the Loughborough Road area of Leicester where the memorial was originally sited.

The Methodist Church became the Belgrave Union Church who took the memorial with them when they went on to relocate to their current Elmdale Street site. The Vann Street church was then closed and subsequently demolished to make way for housing.

The memorial remained at the Belgrave Union Church until Chris Stephens from the Project noticed that it had been moved from its usual place of prominence. On contacting the church we were able to secure its recovery into our collection.

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This memorial was originally sited in the Methodist Church on Vernon Road, Aylestone, Leicester. The memorial is in the form of a brass plaque containing the names of 21 men who died in WW1 and who were either members of the church or local schools. Interestingly, the memorial quotes the period of the war being from 1914 to 1919.

Although the church building is extant it is no longer a place of worship and is now occupied by a double-glazing company.

For detailed information on the memorials and the men listed on them click this link.

(research kindly undertaken by Nicola Brown).

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In November 2017 we were visited on one of our Open Days by a couple who had with them a framed paper War Memorial that was so badly water damaged that it was barely legible.

It had been found tucked behind a cupboard against a damp wall in St Paul’s Church, Woodhouse Eaves. It was a real mess and we were afraid that the paper had stuck to the glass

We approached the Record Office to see if they could help and sure enough, they had a conservator to whom we took it.

A few months later it was returned to us and we were very happy to pay the modest sum demanded to be able to return this interesting piece to nearly its original condition and be able to read all the lettering.

It is of particular note that it refers to the “European War 1914 – 1915”. In other words it was a very early memorial template produced by the ecclesiastical printers Mowbrays when it was still hoped that the war would soon be over.

The last death actually recorded on the sheet was 24th April 1917 but realistically there was much space left blank for further names. In fact on the granite shrine in the churchyard, there were a further 10 later deaths where dates are recorded and seven unrecorded, which almost certainly were after April 1917.

A Special Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving was held on Sunday 29th July 2018.