Histioric England is considering Listing the war Memorial as part of the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War.
This has prompted us to record some of the details, and we would like to ask the families of those who lost their lives in the conflicts commemorated on the memorial if they have photographs or family stories they can recount. Please use the contact form below. Also we hope that all of the detail in this post are correct, please let us have any corrections or futher information.
History The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever with tens of thousands of memorials erected across England. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three quarters of a million British lives, and also the official policy of not repatriating the dead which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss. One such memorial was raised at Witton Gilbert as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by 43 members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War..
222 men from Witton Gilbert joined up to serve in the war, of whom nearly 20 per cent fell. The memorial was originally erected in the Graham Memorial Park in Witton Dene. It cost £400 which was raised by public subscription. The designer was JG Burrell of Durham. It was unveiled on Saturday 2 September 1922 by Lt Col JR Ritson, TD. Large numbers of representatives from parish and district organisations were also present.
The memorial park provided work for the unemployed but sadly suffered from vandalism even before the unveiling. After the Second World War the names of ten casualties of that war were added. During the C20 much of the old village was demolished leaving the memorial somewhat isolated. It was relocated in 1978 by members of 105 Squadron, 72 Regiment the Royal Engineers with support from the local community, and rededicated on 5 November that year. It was unveiled in its new position by Capt D Brown and rededicated by Fr Ian Hoskins.
The memorial’s original height was 23 feet, but a photograph taken in its original location shows it had a three-stepped base. It is not clear if the lower step survives in the new location, but if so it is buried beneath the paving surrounding the memorial. The relocation revealed that the memorial comprised 28 pieces, the largest of which weighed 2,800 lbs (more than 1.2 tonnes). The memorial was cleaned and the inscriptions recut in 2000.
Details A First World War memorial of 1922, by JG Burrell, with later additions for the Second World War, and relocated in 1978.
MATERIALS: Stainton sandstone. DESCRIPTION: standing in a small memorial garden accessed from Briar Lea.
The memorial faces west and comprises a cross of St Cuthbert on a tapering octagonal column with a square pedestal set on two octagonal steps. The pedestal has stopped chamfers and a hollow-moulded, tapering top. The cross-shaft has an elaborate moulded foot with recessed panels to each face and a tetrahedral band. The abacus is also moulded, and the cross has a three-stepped octagonal foot.
The inscriptions are incised. Around the bottom of the cross-shaft foot is inscribed: GREATER/ LOVE/ HATH/ NO MAN/ THAN TO/ LAY DOWN/ HIS LIFE FOR/ HIS FRIEND. The west face of the pedestal is inscribed: WITTON GILBERT WAR MEMORIAL/ ROLL OF HONOUR/ OF LOCAL HEROES WHO DIED/ FOR THEIR KING AND COUNTRY/ DURING THE GREAT WAR/ FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS/ LORD GRANT THEM EVERLASTING PEACE.
The rolls of honour are inscribed on the north and south faces. The names are listed by the year of death (which continue to 1920), then alphabetically by surname with rank and regiment. The east face is inscribed with the dates 1939 – 1945 and ten names listed alphabetically by surname without ranks or units.
PTE George Moody 8th D.L.I.
PTE Gilbert Hodgson Robson 8th D.L.I.
PTE Joseph Armstrong 2nd E.Y.
PTE Joseph Beardmore 6th E.Y.
PTE Cuthbert Carr 15th D.L.I.
PTE Matthew Cumming 18th D.L.I.
PTE Thomas Guy 27th N.F.
PTE Charles Joseph Graham 5th D.L.I.
PTE Thomas James Goodwin 2nd D.L.I.
PTE Herbert Cill 13th D.L.I.
LCE CPL George Jackson 2nd D.L.I.
BOMB Richard Lisco 8th E.Y.
PTE Roger Parkin 20th D.L.I.
PTE Gibson Snaith 13th D.L.I.
SERGT Robert Yule 19th D.L.I.
SERGT Arthur Ernest Clark 2nd D.L.I.
PTE George Craggs 1st Worcester
STOKER Thomas Davison H.M.S SUPERB
PTE Arthur Edmundson 6th BORD
PTE Ernest Hunter 9th W.Y.
PTE Tom Allanson Hardy 19th N.F.
PTE Robert Knowlson 8th Y.
LCE.CPL Owen William Maule 25th N.F.
PTE Jacob Martin 1/4th K.O.Y.L.I
PTE Alexander Logan McDonald 8th E.Y.
GUNNER William Thirkell Pratt 5th D.L.I.
PTE John James Smeatham 6th YORKS.
PTE Albert Moyes Walker 19th Y.
PTE Thomas Brown 3rd N.F.
LIEUT William Henry Brown 18th D.L.I.
PTE John Godfrey 15th D.L.I.
PTE George Johnson 16th CHES.
LC CPL Thomas Gadstone Martindale 14th D.L.I.
PTE Charles Metcalf 20th D.L.I.
GUNNER Simpson Turnbull Parkin R.G.A
PTE George Roe 2nd D.L.I.
PTE John Roe A.S.C.
PTE George Cuthbert Raine 18th D.L.I.
PTE John Walton 15th D.L.I.
PTE Frederick Wardman R.C.A.
PTE William Wise 8th D.L.I.
PTE Henry Overton 2nd YORKS.
PTE Robert Wilkinson Yule 8th D.L.I.
Bramfitt E. Kelsey G.
Burdon J.W. Plank G.W.
Carroll J. Reynolds J.G.
Denton T.W. Swinton T.
Farnsworth R. Waterson J.W.
Websites Full details from the North East War Memorials Project, accessed 12/11/19 from http://www.newmp.org.uk/detail.php?contentId=9194