The Wolford War Memorial
IN THE CHURCH RECORDS RECORDS AT WARWICKSHIRE RECORD OFFICE HENRY WARRINER UNCOVERED A NUMBER OF ITEMS RELATING TO THE WAR MEMORIAL:
A Faculty for placing a memorial tablet, dated 17th October 1919 (WRO DR/36/7/2) reading "whereas a petition has been presented unto our Vicar General ... by the Vicar and Churchwardens ... of the parish of Wolford ... placing on the North wall of the nave in the Parish Church of Wolford aforesaid a tablet constructed of alabaster and Sicilian Marble with an inscription thereon approved by us to the memory of the late parishioners of Wolford who were killed in action or died on duty during the war 1914-1918".
An invoice from Jones & Willis of 78 Edmund Street, Birmingham, dated 13th May 1920 revealed the cost delivered of the Alabaster tablet with Inscription as £40/6s/3d.
There was also a receipted invoice from C G Coleman, High Street, Shipston on Stour, dated 16th June 1920, for 200 circs. “Memorial Service” 8s/0d.
In the Wolford Churchwardens Accounts (WRO DR/165/7) there is no mention of the War Memorial in the period 1914-1934.
On the 20th June 1920 at 3pm the Unveiling and Dedication of Memorial Tablet by the Rural Dean took place. The collection raised £2/14s/6d.
THE WOLFORD AND BARCHESTON CHURCH MAGAZINE OF JULY1920 HAS THE FOLLOWING REPORT OF THE DEDICATION CHURCH SERVICE:
A very interesting and impressive service was held in Wolford Church on Sunday afternoon, June 20th - the unveiling and dedication of the "Memorial Tablet" erected to the memory of the men of the Parish who fell in the Great War. The Shipston Town Band played the ex-Service men to the Church, and they formed a guard of honour under the command of ex-Private Charles Hall, who, following the procession of Clergy and Choisters, lined the North and South aisles of the Church.
The "Dead March in Saul" was effectively rendered on the organ, assisted by a cornet.
The Vicar took the first part of the Service to the lesson, St John v 24-29.
Hymm 410, "Now the labourer's task is over", was heartily sung to the accompaniment of the organ and cornet.
The Clergy proceeded to the "Memorial Tablet", which is erected on the North Wall of the Nave, and was veiled with a Union Jack. At the formal request of the Vicar, the Rural Dean (Rev T D Raikes) unveiled and dedicated the Memorial, giving a suitable address and offering an appropriate prayer.
Major Westmacott, Calcutta Light Horse, also spoke, giving a very interesting resume of the course of the war in France and Flanders.
The "Last Post" was sounded by the cornet, after which a wreath of laurels was paced in position for the ex-Service men by ex-Private Caleb Hall, and several floral tributes were laid at the foot of the Memorial by the relatives of the fallen.
The hymn (on leaflet) "O valiant Hearts, who to your glory came" was sung impressively.
The Rural Dean then took the concluding part of the service. Hymn 437 "For all the saints who from their labours rest" was sung, during which a collection was taken for the St Dunstan's Hostel for Blinded Soldiers and Sailors.
The National Anthem concluded he service. The Guard of Honour marched out of the Church followed by Clergy and Choristers. The Service was most impressive. The Church was crowded to its utmost capacity. The collection amounted to £2/14s/6d
Mrs Gibbs played the organ, Mr Mace accompanied with the cornet. The Choristers did excellent service. The Memorial Tablet is in alabaster and Sicilian marble.
THE WOLFORD AND BURMINGTON CHURCH MAGAZINE OF JULY 1920 ALSO HAS THIS REPORT OF A "SUPPER AND SMOKING CONCERT":
The ex-Service men of Great and Little Wolford held a reunion supper and smoking concert in the school on Friday, June 25th. Captain Collins took the chair. To the smoking concert the wives and lady friends of the men were invited, and light refreshments provided. The memory of those who had fallen was honoured by the whole company standing in silence. The cost of the supper was defrayed by the men themselves, but Mr Warriner kindly gave vegetables, Mr Haines gave cheese, Mrs Wharton butter, and Captain Collins tobacco and cigarettes.
The best thanks of the men are due to the above, to Miss Mabel Hyatt, who did all the cooking, Mrs Hall and Mrs E Harcourt, who made the salad, and to all those who waited or otherwise helped to make the evening a success. The party broke up about 12.30 am after singing "God Save the King".
A few warm friends kindly started collecting for the supper, but the ex-Service men wish it to be known that that, although appreciating the kindly thought, they did not anticipate a collection on their behalf. The accounts for the above supper have been settled so that the subscriptions received have been handed over to the Vicar until such time as, augmented by the proceeds of dances, etc, there will be sufficient to provide a supper at a later date.
Clearly the cost of buying and erecting the memorial was not paid for through the Church accounts, and must have been raised by either a public subscription, or perhaps Lord Redesdale financed this Memorial as The Hon Clement B O Freeman-Mitford is commemorated in Wolford and in some other Parish Churches.
THE SUPPER AT A LATER DATE?
These two pictures of the Ex Serviceman's Dinner in 1923 show a collection of the survivors. Seventeen male faces appear in the left hand photograph and fifteen on the right, a possible total of thirty two but less if there is duplication, which is difficult to discern.