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2021 is the Centenary of the erection of the War Memorial in the village and the following has kindly been provided by Leonard Bartle:

In October 1921 a rather uniquely shaped piece of building was erected at the end of Park Lane as a solemn reminder that several village residents had died in the service of their country.

It was the village’s War Memorial and on Sunday 23rd October it was unveiled by the newly married Wentworth Henry Canning Beaumont, 2nd Viscount Allendale, following his honeymoon with Violet Lucy Emily Seely. The Wakefield Express at the time said that “The memorial was built to account with Her Ladyship’s ideas, worked out on paper with JW Balden, the Estate agent, so that the memorial is pre-eminently local in character”. It was built by Messrs Sutcliffe and Swallow, Estate Contractors, at a cost of £185.10s.10 and a half pence and was built entirely of stone taken from the former menagerie and the clock tower at the other side of the lower lake. The Wakefield Express went on to say that it was “quite an uncommon design, a centre shaft running from three florescent stone scrolls which we believe were formally part of the…. work of the clocktower”. The memorial service was conducted by the Rev W C Gosling, Vicar of Woolley, and the singing was led by a choir consisting of members of West Bretton School.

The names on the memorial commemorated the fallen in the first World War and were William Jebson, Harry Moxon, John Thomas Robins and James W B Boyd, an agent to Lord Allendale. (Later names were added after the second World War). Another quote from the Wakefield Express said “It is not often that workmen are permitted to hew out with their own hands memorials to comrades and workmates fallen in battle and to Bretton people this particular memorial must ever have a very special appeal”.

Lord Allendale addressed the assembled congregation around the memorial with these words:

“It must ever serve as a reminder to present and future generations that it was for us and for them to preserve intact that heritage of freedom which those men hoped to win. They did their work well and it was now for us to see that it was brought to a satisfactory conclusion that which they began”.

In conclusion he said: “That stone, therefore, must bring home to all a sense of great responsibility, not only to the people of today, but also to their descendants, who otherwise would be incapable of realizing that the present generation had suffered. With that memorial ever before them they must always be prepared to uphold the ideals and principles for which those men went out to fight and to take care that the great sacrifice which they made was not offered in vain”.

Very pertinent words for today!

Leonard Bartle

September 2021

Update: A successful informal celebration of this Centenary was held in the Village Institute immediately following the Remembrance Sunday event at the Memorial on Sunday 14 November to which residents and any interested parties were invited.