Local War Memorials – conservation or restoration?

by Tony Henthorn on March 8, 2009

Gerry Kirt & Bob Randall

They shall not grow old, As those that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them…

…but Glinton’s war memorial to our fallen is showing the passage of time. The eleven-foot high cross, made of Weldon stone, was unveiled and dedicated by the Bishop of Leicester in October 1920.

glinton-war-mem1At the base of the cross is a plaque with the names of eight men from the village who died in the Great War. This plaque is now loose and the carved names of those died in the 1939-45 conflict is eroding and proving difficult to read. The Parish Council has allocated money to ensure the monument can be preserved for future generations, but talks with the War Memorials Trust suggest it should be granted ‘protected status’, and conserved – rather than restored.

Plans are already in place to regularly treat the lettering on the stone with fungicide to make the words easier to read, and we are obtaining forms that will enable it to be protected and recorded with the details archived for safe keeping.
The Parish Council, with assistance from local historian Bob Randall, and hopefully the church, are planning create a commemorative plaque that can be either installed in the Parish church or the village hall. It will capture photographs of the fallen (when available), details of their lives together with pictures of the existing memorial. The objective is to create the plaque and unveil it on Armistice Day on the 90th anniversary of the end of the Great War – Tuesday 11th November 2008. If anyone has information or photographs relating to those listed on the memorial, or any information regarding casualties from the village, please inform Cllr Gerry Kirt who will arrange for copies to be made and the originals returned.
From the ordinary to the spectacular, war memorials have been erected to remember those who died as a result of wars and conflicts. Throughout the UK, war memorials provide information about the individuals who are commemorated and insights into the human cost of war. One superb example lies hidden away in a committee room at Peakirk Village Hall – it is a unique historic record of Peakirk’s contribution in the First World War.
The Peakirk Roll of Honour has photographs and details of not only those who died, but all who served from the village. The oak-framed panel contains 48 photographs with, in some cases, extensive details of their service history.
Since 1989, the UK National Inventory of War Memorials, located at the Imperial War Museum, has been compiling a comprehensive, and detailed, catalogue of War Memorials. Peakirk’s Roll of Honour has just been included in the record. We asked Jennifer Flippance – the project leader – to comment on the significance of the Roll of Honour:
“This kind of memorial is very unusual, with few examples surviving from the First World War. From our current records, it appears they make up less than 0.3% of the total War Memorials in the UK. However, there are a number of features of this memorial that makes it even more historically significant.
The preservation of the photographs and text is very good – we typically see photographs that are far more faded.
It’s very unusual to see this level of detail regarding the men, eg: place and date of birth and unit at enlistment and details of their service and death.
It is also unusual to see photographs of those who served and returned in addition to those who died.
The true value of this memorial is that it enables us to positively identify the faces of these men. This is something that becomes harder to do as time passes and memory fades – but it really brings these memories alive. Time and again we see how important it is for people to see the faces behind the names.”
The Roll of Honour was restored in the late 1980′s when the original photographs and text were replaced with modern copies. Fortunately most of the original photographs and text have been tracked down and plans are being made to ensure their safe storage.
It is hoped that copies of the photos and text will be included on the Peakirk Village Hall web site.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: