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The War Memorials of Barwick & Scholes

Barwicker No. 115
September 2014

My War Memorial website has been online for over eight years, but my interest in the men named on the memorials in Barwick and Scholes goes back much further.

I first became interested in the Great War as child, after being shown the medals awarded to my maternal grandfather and his brother in that war, and in the more than thirty-five years since that day, my interest has grown and developed into a study, not only of the local men whose names appear on the memorials, but an academic study of the war as a whole, the role of the West Yorkshire Regiment, and specifically its Territorial Force battalions during that time.

As my interest has deepened over the years, and my knowledge of the war has increased, I have developed an enduring admiration for what the people of the Great War era went through. Not only the fighting men, but the auxiliary services, those engaged in war work, and those left behind to keep house and home together under the burden of the nagging anxiety that was ever present when a loved one was fighting overseas. It has also shaped my opinions of those people, destroying the myths which emerged in the period of 'Oh! What a lovely War '. Any balanced and structured research into the war and its prosecution destroys the idea that the British Army was an army of 'Lions led by Donkeys', that its generals were buffoons, uncaring of the men they were set to command, that it was a war that Britain should never have got involved in, and that it was all in vain. Careful study of primary source material shows that had Britain reneged on her treaty obligations and stayed neutral, Europe would have perished under the German Militaristic Empire-building Kaiser. It shows that those officers who held the very highest ranks were professional and able men, capable of beating the German Army in the field, which is, ultimately, precisely what they did, and those who were shown wanting were quickly removed from command.

Our local war memorials don't list any of the officer casualties who held General's rank, though there were a few hundred. They list the junior officers and rank and file soldiers - the tools with which the generals fought the war.

Our villages were home to a very small number of regular pre-war servicemen, the vast majority of them were men who joined the colours as volunteers, Derby Scheme men, or as conscripts. They were civilians in uniform, with lives, families and homes rooted in the villages we occupy today. They could have been us. But they were compelled to serve in a war of unprecedented scale and reach. They left their homes, their lives and their families to help to bring victory for the Allies, which secured our own freedom, and restored Lit of our invaded neighbours. They may well have been individuals amongst millions, but each and everyone was integral to achieving he final victory. They deserve to be remembered.

My website is just one tool by which we can learn about these men, what they left, what they encountered and endured. My primary assertion on the website is that we cannot hope to adequately, or genuinely remember these men unless we know something about them. As soon as we learn something of them they become real and much more than just a name in a list on a panel on a memorial.

They are our men.
We will remember them.


Nigel's web site

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