The History of the War Memorial
A War Memorial sub-committee was set up by Rothley Parish Council after the Great War to organise a memorial to the fallen which we now see as the obelisk on Cross Green. Sadly, the Minutes of this sub-committee cannot be found and there is very little reference of their actions in the Parish Council Minutes of the time. There is also reference to the Mountsorrel Lane Recreation Ground being a Memorial Playing Field but, again, there is very little about this in the Parish Council Minutes.
The details of the unveiling were found in the Leicester Advertiser dated 30th July 1921 and the Leicester Mercury dated 25th July 1921. A postcard exists of the event and this is shown below.
The War Memorial in 2011
Cross Green Rothley. Site for the War Memorial. The tree in the centre was removed. Postcard dated 3rd August 1916
The gardens around the Memorial were created in 1948.
FAIR AND FRAGRANT THEIR FAME
ROTHLEY'S SOLDIER DEAD
In brilliant sunshine and before a very large gathering of residents of Rothley and surrounding villages the handsome memorial to the thirty four fallen heroes of Rothley was unveiled and dedicated on Sunday afternoon.
Rothley's tribute to her dead with those who served in the Great War takes the form of a sports ground (which though not formally opened has been in use for some time) and a granite obelisk.
The total cost incurred has been £1,500. The granite obelisk weighting 23 tons with a granite with a granite block of stone weighing 7 tons, on one face of which has been let in a slab of Swithland slate perpetuates thirty three names and yet one (Bertie Bates) has still to be added. It is inscribed as follows:
"1914-1918 Their name liveth for evermore": H Antill, E Archer, W L Bishop, R Bowler, P Bowler, G H Brammage, F Brewin, T E Brooks, S Bull, F E Burford, R Dexter, R Dormer, C G Draycott, T Emerson, J Greasley, W Harriman (W Harrison), C Harvey, J Kirk, H Lole, W A Moore, S North, W North, A Nurse, K Pegg, G Poynor, A Preston, S Reid, J Ross, C Sleath, C Steel, P Toone, E Waldram, F Worden.
The Mountsorrel Granite Company generously gave the stone at cost price of £350. It is placed on the village green in the centre of old Rothley and it is the intention of the committee to fence the memorial in and hand both it and the sports ground over to the Parish Council as trustees for the village.
The service itself was simple, dignified and impressive. The Mountsorrel Band, under Bandmaster C Bates, led the singing of the hymns; prayer was offered by the Rev. F Norwood (Baptist) and the Lessons were read by Mr G Felstead (Primitive Methodist).
The unveiling ceremony was performed by Lt. Col. R. E. Martin, C.M.G. The names inscribed were then read by Mr E. F. Bull (Wesleyan).
Lt. Col. Martin reminded his hearers that like the twelve stones beside the River Jordan, the memorial before them should serve two purposes: first a commemoration and second it should be the medium of a lesson. At some length Col. Martin reviewed the fatal outbreak of war in 1914 when the world as we knew it came to an end. The twofold effect of our choice in 1914 was the apparent one that we should not acquiesce in wrong-and the actual-the continuance of our national existence-and the wave of enthusiasm was one for a cause in which honesty and truth were at stake. Col. Martin alluded to the meeting in the Liberal Clubroom at Rothley on Sunday morning at the outbreak of war, when he addressed a room full of men all anxious to play their part which was practically put into effect at Mountsorrel Drill Hall the next morning. With pride he detailed the deeds of the 1st Leicesters in their winter trenches at Ypres: of the 2nds in Flanders and Mesopotamia; of the Yeomanry who 2 miles east of Ypres stood from morn till midday, shelled and with no artillery support, their rifles choked with mud: of the 46th Division at loos with 1400 casualties in one and a half days: and the crossing of the canal at Belle 'l Eglise. Difficulties today would be overcome by that same spirit. To the children he would say "Look on this as yours. It speaks of the four years trial of your parents and the sacrifice made by those whose names are inscribed. Treat it with reverence, it is a constant witness that sacrifice is the law of life, and that the whole duty of man is to do what is law and right"
The Vicar (Rev. L. H. Pearson), in well-chosen words, dedicated the memorial and offered the Benediction.
"The Last Post" and "The Reveille" were sounded by Bandmaster Irish and Bandsmen A. E .Geary and J. Hurst from Leicester.
Mr H Hames, Chairman of the Parish Council, who has also been Chairman of the War Memorial Committee, presided, and others present included Messrs. F. Haynes and A. E. Wykes (secretary and treasurer of the committee), Col. Robinson, and Dr. H. Skipworth.
Beautiful floral tributes were deposited at the base of the memorial by relatives and friends, including a handsome wreath from the Rothley War Memorial Committee.
THE ABOVE REPORT WAS WRITTEN IN THE LEICESTER ADVERTISER DATED 30TH JULY 1921
ROTHLEY'S HEROIC DEAD
WAR MEMORIAL UNVEILED BY LIEUT. COLONEL MARTIN
The Leicester Mercury also reported on the unveiling in their edition dated 25th July 1921 with words very similar to those above but not such a full report on the unveiling ceremony speech by Lt. Col. Martin.
For details about the men named on the memorial please click on the following link:
To find out more about the other memorials in Rothley please click on the following link:
THE SECOND WORLD WAR
After the end of the 1939-1945 World War another War Memorial Committee was set up to add the names of the fallen to the existing memorial on Cross Green. J. Bruce Galloway was the Chairman and meetings were held on the 3rd and 12th February 1948 to plan what was to be done.
It was resolved that the sum of £150 be raised and the balance of £30 be kept to meet increased costs.
It was agreed that a letter (in Envelope) be addressed and sent to each householder in the Parish.
The village to be divided into sections and 13 receivers have been nominated.
Their names and addresses will appear in the letter and marked with a cross in their particular area.
Closing date for subscriptions is March 31st.
Mr Orton as Treasurer.
Account to be opened with Westminster Bank.
Receipts to be given for the money.
Prior to the above meeting the Clerk to the Parish Council, F.J.Perkins, had written to the Rev. W Joyce at the Rothley Vicarage:
With reference to the enclosed list of the fallen.
Will you please check very carefully the names of the "Fallen" from Rothley during the War 1939-45 and if correct, kindly sign and return same to me.
We trust that no name has been omitted from this list.
We shall be pleased to receive and consider any observations you wish to make regarding a super-scription, etc.
It has been decided by the War Memorial Committee that only the Surname and Initials shall be inserted on the Memorial.
Thanking you in anticipation
F J Perkins
Clerk to the Council.
In the meantime, the War Memorial Committee sent out an appeal for donations:
Estimates were obtained from W. Bruce Hancock of Rothley for the new slate panel, lettering and stone paving. The slate was Portmadoc and the flagstones York stone. The cost was £87.19.6d in the estimate dated 13th October 1947. It was all confirmed on the 14th May 1948 by letter to Mr. F.J.Perkins, Clerk to Rothley Parish Council, by W. Bruce Hancock.
The plans for the War Memorial 1947
ROTHLEY WAR MEMORIAL COMMITTEE
Village Hall, Rothley
28th February 1948
Dear Sir or Madam
As a memorial to the men of Rothley who fell in the service of their Country during the last World War, it has been decided, with the approval of the Parish Council, that some additions and improvements shall be made to the existing War Memorial on Cross Green.
It is proposed to fix an additional tablet to the granite memorial, on which the names of all those who gave their lives shall be recorded. It is also proposed to lay a flagged stone path up to and across the front of the memorial, and to lay turf in place of the existing gravel.
The War Memorial Committee feels that every Parishioner would wish to make some contribution towards the cost of this work and you are, therefore, invited to subscribe to the fund. The total cost is not expected to exceed £150 and it is hoped that as large a number of subscribers as possible will join us in raising this sum in small as well as in larger gifts. If, for example, every person were to subscribe 1/-, or every household 5/-, the sum would quickly be raised.
A number of ladies and gentlemen, whose names are set out overleaf, have very kindly agreed to receive subscriptions on behalf of the committee. Will you please take or send your subscription, before the 31st March next to one or other of these addresses; the one nearest to you is marked with an X. Please remember that small subscriptions will be as welcome as larger ones; all are needed. Mr. R.H.Orton, The Hollies, Mountsorrel Lane, has very kindly agreed to act as Honorary Treasurer to the Fund.
Those whose names it is desired to commemorate went out and gave their all. Your Committee believe that you will wish to make a token gift in their memory.
"At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them"
J. BRUCE GALLOWAY
The Rothley War Memorial Committee produced a Statement of Receipts to 14th May 1948:
Mr A H Westley, 40 The Rise, Rothley £9.19.0
Mr H Sleath, "Lyndhurst" Hallfields Lane £4.10.0
Mr G A Hutchins, Woodgate, Rothley £11.14.0
Mr P Cook, Woodgate, Rothley £11.0.0
Mr F J Perkins, Woodgate, Rothley £7.3.0
Mr H M Sleath, "Uphill", Mountsorrel Lane £3.3.6
Mr W S Hancock, "White Croft", Brownhill Crescent £32.11.6
Mr H E Winks, The Ridgeway, Rothley £18.16.0
Mrs Charles, "Sunnycroft", Swithland Lane £12.0.0
Mrs Padmore, "Brieryshaw", Swithland Lane £10.19.0
Mrs Matthhews, "Sandal", The Plain, Rothley £5.17.0
Making a total collected of £127.13.0
EXTRACTS FROM THE ROTHLEY PARISH COUNCIL LETTERS AND CORRESPONDENCE BOOK
"Venetian" pillars were proposed but rejected by the committee
NOTES FROM ROTHLEY PARISH COUNCIL LETTERS AND CORRESPONDENCE BOOK (BUT NOT DATED!)
No Date but Second World War
Re Memorials. Clerk to see deceased relatives before meeting to get endorsement on plan. (Resolved)
Re Welcome Home Fund. Mr Winks explained that he thought that the 30/- charged for the Hall on August 17th should remain. After discussion.
Found a date 20th January 1947 so the following around that date.
War Memorial Committee. Mr Blythe raised the question of improving the village hall. The Chairman said that plans had only just been passed. Parish meeting to be called after Council's decision. No action to be taken before Parish Meeting is called.
At another meeting:
War Memorial Report. Chairman read report and submitted plans for new hall and additions to memorial. Discussion. Hall discussed first. Parish Council resolved that they approve in principle on the extension and re-construction of the Village hall as shown on Plan B 2. The War Memorial. Discussion on improvements. Suggested that plans be placed before parish meeting with slight alterations. (Slate instead of bronze-resolved). Mr Winks moved that pillars be done away with before meeting told. Venetian Masts to be removed from plans. Agreed that pillars are too tall and cumbersome. Amendment for just path and simple alterations with Slate plate. Put to meeting that Council is divided so therefore it is left to villagers.
At a Parish Meeting it was proposed and seconded that the War Memorial on Green be dealt with first. Carried.
Chairman of Parish Council, Secretary of British Legion, President of Women's British Legion proposed to form committee to study details of scheme. Mr Blythe proposes.
Miss Wykes speaks of simple structure and hopes that no alteration is made except with addition of slate plate. Mr Winks supports also with addition of path-also floodlighting scheme. Mr H Sleath thought that gates throw whole thing out of balance. Mr Wesley agreed with Mr Winks. Mr Blythe supported. Mr Hancock gave British Legion view. Paved, edged, slate plate and floodlight. If adopted British Legion would give full support. Mr Young supported Mr Winks.
Mr Staples hoped for four flags.
Miss Macfarlane thought flood lighting too artificial.
Sharp discussion on effects of floodlighting.
Mr Herbert spoke of differences of plates. Floodlighting also. He spoke of cost. Supported paving of path. Whereabouts of plate. Mr Blythe places on pyramid.
Mr Herbert spoke re Venetian Masts.
Moved and seconded that paving be carried out with edging. Carried unanimously.
Moved and Seconded that tablet be re-used (WITHDRAWN) with all names on.
Moved and Seconded that tablet be left as it exists (AMENDMENT)
Chairman endeavours to get unanimity. Mr Wykes spoke in favour of amendment. Amendment carried unan.
New tablet to be placed below existing one. Proposed and Seconded.
Discussion if necessary. British Legion have requested previous times of floodlighting.
Mr Young proposed that requests be put to Parish Council.
Mr Winks proposed that existing arrangements will remain. Agreed.
Arrangements re equipment be left in the hands of the British Legion.
Agreed that 4 sockets be placed for present flags. Left to Mr Herbert to arrange these.
Should gravel be done away with? Turf up to edge of paving. 10 feet wide as base of memorial. Squashed stones to be used.
(Part of above meeting)
Chairman outlines schemes or Plan.
Miss Wykes spoke of difficulties keeping in mind white elephants such as Sports Ground etc.
Mr Hancock gave views of British Legion. Alterations to War Memorial and Village Hall.
Miss Wykes suggested how cost was to be got.
Chairman suggests War Memorial Finance Committee to discuss details and get estimates re money.
Proposed and seconded that this Committee be formed to get target. That this meeting elect that committee.
Moved and seconded that the parish Council be instructed to apply to Min. of Health for loan of up to £700 for alteration to this Hall LOST
Moved and seconded that this scheme be dropped. 11
Moved and seconded that this scheme be carried on. 12
Moved and seconded that this proposal be postponed for 6 months.
Moved and seconded that the village be notified of meeting in 1 months time.
Amendment carried. Date to be fixed by Parish Council on Monday 19th May 1947. Recommendation that leaflets be sent also printed notices.
Committee: Mr Hutchins, Mr Winks, Mr Gayton. Moved and carried.
At a later meeting (no date)
Chairman outlines the scheme.
Finance Committee report read.
Chairman explains difficulties re building etc
Mr Chitham asked re receipts for new hall.
Mr Winks spoke against the scheme and moved that project be dropped. Mr Elliott seconded.
Mr Pentelow moved that it be dropped for 3 years and then brought up. No seconder.
Mr Young moved that Minister of Health be approached for loan. Mr Pentelow seconded as laid. Vote 4 for. Amendment lost.
Proposal voted on. 44 for, I against. Carried.
Mr Archer spoke on alterations. Top ante-room, cover in outside premises.
Mrs Hyman spoke about a start in collecting money.
Miss Wykes moved that alterations be left to Parish Council. Mr Hutchins spoke in support and seconded.
The Chairman put Miss Wykes' Proposal to the Meeting. Votes for 21. Votes against 4. Carried.
Tellers Mr Elliott and Mr Hutchins. This was all about the Village hall, not the War Memorial.
At a later meeting:
? Progress. Mr Winks, Hutchins, Gee, Toone as Committee
At a later meeting:
Report of War Memorial Committee.
Letter and estimate revealed. Refer back to sub-committee for approval.
At a later meeting
Mr Winks elected Chairman
Mr Hancock invited to meeting.
Grass. To what extent. Mr Galloway suggests all grass except for beds. Slight alteration at base of. Type of stone. Portmadoc.
List of names. Send to Vicar and British Legion Chairman. They to sign. Resolved.
Verification of initials. Lettering. Match? No. up to present age.
No Ranks or Regiment. Only names and initials.
Paving (self-faced stone suggested). York stone Self-faced agreed.
Estimate? Lettering £12 7s 6d. For grass?
Moved that suggestions be adopted. Place before Council.
Money? Suggested that private subscription. Recommend that this committee proposed that British Legion should operate. Put that recommendation to Council.
Council to decide superscription 1939-45
At a later meeting:
Estimate discussed. Type of paving. Croft stone suggested.
Superscription 1939-45 only.
Mr Gee proposed self-faced York stone.
Turfing to be delayed. Resolved.
Tree to be viewed with view to be cut down.
Agreed that private subscription be accepted.
Co-operation of British Legion. Sub-committee to meet representatives.
At a later meeting:
Proposals outlined by Chairman.
Mr Cook suggests wider gates. To allow 2 persons together.
Mr Deawin spoke in support.
Mr Toone proposed gate remain. Carried.
Try for £150. Keep £30 in mind for increased costs.
Method of subscribing. Villagers to have a chance to give. Mr Hancock spoke against door-to-door. Circular letter. Collecting boxes in pubs, shops etc.
Mr Toone proposed envelope system. Mr Cook proposed 6d per head of population.
Mr Winks proposed book for signing at certain place.
Leaflet? To every household. Agreed.
Envelope system? Advantages and disadvantages.
Letter to be drafted. Agreed. Sectional Division. Local receivers. Proposed and seconded.
(A list of streets in Rothley followed with the names of person delivering leaflets)
Wording of Letter.
Mr Orton as Treasurer.
Feb 12th 1948
Drafted letter by Chairman considered. Several alterations over wording.
Closing Date 31st March 1948
Quarto paper. Both sides. Names and addresses on reverse. Envelopes to each.
Chairman to see Leads re printing. Agreed.
? of postage. When all is ready notify all Receivers for meeting.
Let Mr Hutchins have a list of areas.
Bring Electoral Roll to next meeting.
Receipt Books (13)
Question of paying in.
At a later meeting
Chairman outlines scheme. Surplus to be decided upon by Parish Meeting. Mr Blythe spoke on support of scheme. He suggested flags on path in front of double gates. Mr Young and Mr Blythe moved and seconded action of PC for splendid foresight.
At a later meeting
Total to date £144.13s.0d
Get authority to transfer £30 17s 4d to Memorial Committee.
Unveiling. Suggested Mr Galloway. Moved and seconded that J B Galloway do the unveiling. Carried.
Sub-committee. To consider type of service. H Sleath, G Gee, H Winks.
Should Legion Standard be required-question for sub-committee.
Turf-PC to consider question of turf asap. Paid for out of funds. Carried.
Fix meeting of sub-committee.
At a meeting of May 24th
Transfer £30.17.4d R.W.F.
Sub-committee to decide date. Sunday July 25th as official date.
Turfing or re-seeding. Re-seeding thought best. Top soil steamed. Mr Dimmock offered to steam soil. Price for top soil. En-Tout-Cas or Coles. Mr Dimmock asked.
At a later meeting August 16th
Fence straightening. Sections to be taken out. Mr Hyman. Holly hedge. Hand trimming.
This is the end of the book
The unveiling was performed by Mr. J. Bruce Galloway on Sunday 25th July 1948 at 12 noon.
The gardens were completed later that year with En-Tout-Cas laying the turf at a cost of £40.12.6.
A letter from Walter Bentley & Sons, The Nurseries, Loughborough Road, Wanlip dated November 6th 1951 confirmed the delivery of 14 dozen "Frensham" Roses ordered for the War Memorial.
LOOKING AFTER THE WAR MEMORIAL
On the 21st July 1961 Rothley Parish Council wrote to the Mountsorrel Granite Company asking for advice on the cracks in the stonework and requesting help from their stonemason.
On the 28th July 1961 Walter Brown & Sons, Masonry Contractors of Soar Lane, Leicester reported as follows:
"There are three or four fractures, or faults, in the large block above the plinth. These are natural faults in so far as they were in the block when first quarried (a block of this dimension would be likely to have some blemishes). It would be wise to have the horizontal fracture at the left hand front corner "sealed up". There is a good sealing compound in use in our industry today which could be used on this fracture; it requires experience and skill in applying and the cost of this would be approximately £6 or £7.
The remaining faults could be left as we feel they do not constitute any danger, either from a safety or deterioration point of view. We are of the opinion that if the one fracture is sealed as suggested above, there would be nothing really amiss with the memorial although it might be advisable to have it inspected periodically-say about every five years.
Awaiting the favour of your further instructions which would receive our best attention."
Walter Brown & Sons
On the 16th August 1961 the estimate was accepted for the work to go ahead.
A WREATH-BY ORDER
FOUR SMALL BOYS DO PENANCE BEFORE WAR MEMORIAL
Reported in the Western Daily Press 23 November 1931
Four Rothley (Leicestershire) boys, who were concerned in the theft of poppies from a wreath on the Rothley war memorial, placed a wreath on the war memorial yesterday, in the presence of the donor of the wreath and two policemen.
The magistrate had ordered that this should be done at 10 a.m. But there was considerable indignation at the penance being made public and on Saturday it was altered.
The boys, however, carried out their promise to replace the wreath, and at nine o'clock went to the memorial and laid upon it a wreath of chrysanthemums.
It bore the inscription "With sincere regret from four Rothley boys."
The boys stood at the salute for a moment and then Colonel Robertson, who gave the wreath, a police sergeant and a constable shook hands with them, and they went home.
(2013 Note: This would most likely have been Colonel Robinson, not Robertson, who lived at The Grange, Rothley, and was involved in the Rothley war memorial.)
For more information about the War Memorial and the men who died please click on the following link
To find out about all the War Memorials in Rothley please click on the following link:
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM