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'To keep in memory'

Barwicker No. 39
September 1995

Barwick War Memorial was erected after the First World War in the village near the maypole on the stepped base of the old cross, which was removed and is now in the churchyard. The construction was planned and financed by local people who set up a committee for this purpose. Some details of its work are recorded in a bundle of financial papers - account books, letters, bills, receipts, etc. - which were deposited, probably by the Treasurer, in the Leeds District Archives at Sheepscar.

The papers do not tell us who was the Chairman of the committee but from the major part he played in its work we can assume that it was Henry Slade Childe, esq. of Potterton Hall, who lost a son in the war. The Treasurer was Samuel H Towers of Barwick, and the Secretary was Arthur Booth, the Headmaster of Barwick School.

There were generous donations to the scheme which began in March 1919 from prominent local people such as the Gascoignes and the Childes, but much of the money was subscribed in small amounts by many of the inhabitants of the village. The Arthursdale Gun Station personnel also made a small donation. The money was raised in Barwick by a team of collectors including Messrs. W Hartley, J Birch, G Brown, J Robshaw, Helm, Murray, Smith, Sowry, Burnett, Childe, A Robshaw, Eaton and Drake.

The monument was designed by George W Atkinson, architect, land agent and surveyor, of 1 Mark Lane, Leeds. The memorial takes the form of a carved stone Celtic cross, about 12ft. high. William Thompson and Sons, Builders, Joiners and Concreters of Skinner Lane, Leeds, were responsible for the construction.

The cross was carved by E Caldwell Spruce, whose studio was at 28A Back Cowper Street, Chapeltown Road, Leeds. He is described on his letterhead as 'Statuaire in Bronze and Marble etc., Modeller and Sculptor, Specialist in Figurework, Wood and Stone Carver, Fibrous Plaster, etc.' Some rough sketches of the carvings were deposited with the papers. He also made the brass inscription plates.

The architect asked that Mr Spruce be paid promptly as:

"He is only a poor man, and during the war has been hit pretty bad. His price for carving the Cross was a very lean one, and the whole amount he received out of the work will not amount to more than a mason's wages at today's price, and he is very clever craftsman."

In late March 1920, notices were placed in the Skyrack Express advertising the dedication ceremony. The Yorkshire Evening Post records that on the afternoon of Saturday, 27 March, the monument was unveiled by Mrs Childe. A photograph of the memorial is included in the article.

The statement of accounts audited by Arthur Booth and J P Sowry, whose son was killed in the war, reads as follows:

Receipts £ s d Payments £ s d
Subscriptions received 162 6 7 Stationery postage 1 2 11
Bank Interest 2 13 4 E C Spruce Sculptor 57 0 0
W Thompson & Sons 106 0 0
Adverts in Skyrack and providing balance sheet 0 17 0
Totals 164 19 11 164 19 11

The plaque on the memorial reads:

"This ancient Village Cross was restored in 1919, to keep in memory the men of the Village who took part in the Great War of 1914-18 when nearly one hundred joined His Majesty's Forces amongst whom those whose names are recorded above laid down their lives."

The names recorded are:

George Dobson Acomb, Hubert Dennison Acomb. Derrick Francis Childe, Clifford Noble Corlett, John Hunter, George Albert Joynes, Harold Morritt, Fred Mosby, Fred Mouncey, George William Myers, William Reed, Charles Robshaw, Alfred Allan Sowry, Ernest Thorpe, George Edward Wall and Joe Wilson.

Another plaque was added later which records the names of those men from the Village who died in World War II:

Austin Backhouse, Arthur Benson, George Walton Marwood, Kenneth Speak and Fred Tennant.

The Historical Society have been gathering information about these men from local people, relatives and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and this will be made available to the public.


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