Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Sunday 28 October 2012

Hyde War Memorial (Cenotaph), A brief history

 I thought with the Remembrance Day not far off, a brief history of the Hyde War memorial or Cenotaph as it is commonly known would be appropriate.
The war memorial was erected in 1921 to commemorate the loss of over 700 Hyde men in the first world war of 1914-1919.
The task of organising a suitable war memorial scheme was given to Councillor E. Bury JP, who became Mayor of Hyde in 1919. The amount required was estimated at £12,500, but over £14,000 was raised by voluntary contributions. Of this £4,000 was spent on the purchase of the Lower Higham Farm estate, on Werneth Low and a further £2,000 was spent on the actual monument.
The monument itself took the form of an obelisk of Cornish granite with a total height of 27ft 6". The site is the highest point of Werneth Low known as the Hacking Knife, some 800ft above sea level.
The four sides of the lower portion of the monument bear inscriptions. The slab facing the town is surmounted by the borough of Hyde coat of arms and bears the words "The Great War, 1914-1919". The next slab to the right bears the inscription " In honour of the 710 men of Hyde who gave their lives for King and Country". The next contains the words " In proud remembrance," and on the last are the words " They willingly left the unachieved purpose of their lives in order that all life should not be wrenched from the purpose".
The War memorial was unveiled on Saturday afternoon, June 24th, 1921. a number of processions made their way, by various routes to the summit, and by 3.30 pm the assembly around the memorial had reached around 12,000. The Mayor Alderman S. Fawley, JP presided, supported by many prominent townsmen and women. The memorial was unveiled by Mrs Stanley Welch. Prayers and dedications were made and the deeds presented to the mayor.
A further part of the War memorial Scheme was the creation of a trust fund under which 268 children of the fallen sailors and soldiers received £4 per annum during the five years between the ages of 11 and 16 years. Other schemes were also formulated.





Dave Williams said...

I've not been in there for a while, but they used to have a lot of interesting stuff about the War Memorial in the visitor's centre. Is it still on display there?

Anonymous said...

There is still a display in the visitors centre about the 710 Men of Hyde who died in the First World War and the Cenotaph.

On Sunday the 11th November they are holding this years Remembrance Service.

downsie21 said...

Anonymous is correct, each year there is a service at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday at 12 o'clock after the local church services are over. there is generally 60-70, and this is increasing with the losses in Afghanistan,at the service including scouts, guides and British Legion representatives.

Bill Lancashire said...

I go to the remembrance service every year and over recent years the number of attendees has steadily increased. Last year was amazing and there were well over 100 there (maybe 200). Most years the service commences at 12.00, but because this year Remembrance Sunday actually falls on Remembrance Day itself (the eleventh of the eleventh) I wonder whether it will be held at the official time of 11.00.

Does anyone know?

Anonymous said...

I have two questions;

Why does the inscription state the war from 1914 to 1919? The war officially ended in November 1918.

Also who was Mrs Welch, that she was given the honour of unveiling the cenotaph?

Werneth Low said...

I think because the Peace Settlement (The Treaty of Versailles) was not signed until June 1919.

Dave Williams said...

I've made the point about the dates before. British people are confused because they think the war ended in 1918 (the date of the armistice) and Americans are confused because they think it started in 1917.

Werneth Low said...

Whatever the dates, there was more than enough time for the needless slaughter of millions of young men whose lives were snatched from them. It makes my blood boil when I hear people say "They gave their lives ..." My paternal uncle was one of the 710 men of Hyde who enlisted and was blown to bits somewhere on Northern France in 1917, aged 22. He was engaged to be married and had everything to live for when he went like a lamb to the slaughter, along with all the other lads. It's interesting to read the citations of each man of Hyde who was lost on the Hyde Memorial Trust Website. No more war please.

Dave Williams said...

Conscription was introduced in 1916 and before that young men were encouraged to enlist by the formation of 'pals' battalions, ostensibly so that they could serve with people they knew, but I'm sure that the intention was also to pressure them to enlist along with their friends so as not to be seen as cowards. I was told a story years ago that when the young men from this area were taken to Victoria Station in Manchester on the first step of their journey to the front there was a line of military policemen standing on the track on the other side of the train so that they couldn't abscond by leaving the train through the opposite door. Read this story about the tragic waste of young lives.

Werneth Low said...

I can well believe that, Dave. My uncle was in a Pals battallion of the Manchesters with other Hyde lads who volunteered long before conscription was introduced. They believed the propaganda put out by Kitchener and others which appealed to their sense of national loyalty and pride. Somebody mentioned a "land fit for heroes" but the heroes never came home.

Werneth Low said...

TheMeglet - in answer to your 2nd question, I almost certain that Mrs Welch had been the Mayoress of Hyde from 1914-1916, when her husband, Mr Stanley Welch was Mayor. He was the co-owner of Jacobsen & Welch the stationery firm (later Newton Mill) and he presented the oak panels to the council which make up the war memorial which stands on the first landing of the town hall staircase, adjacent to the entrance door to the public hall. There is also a memorial plaque to Mrs Welch there.

Anonymous said...

@WL Thank you very much, excellent info.

Simon Pickford said...

I notice the Hyde Memorial Trust website domain name has not been renewed - can something be done to sort this out.

Simon Pickford

woodgnome said...

My great grandfather was killec in the first world war. Is there a list if the hyde men who lost their lives please?
paul thornton

Tom said...

Hi Paul
Try this site, should have his name on here.. it states 710,but I've heard that 3 of the names are missing from the list.


It might be worth a look on my other blog as he could well be mentioned on there.