Crewkerne War Memorial

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Crewkerne war memorial was unveiled in Severalls Park in June 1922, at which time 127 trees were also planted here in memory of the 127 men of the town who had died during the Great War.

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As I was taking these shots I was talking to a member of the local British Legion who informed me that not only is the whole estate a memorial (the only example in England, I believe), but the brick houses (above, and a later photo below) to the north of the war memorial were the first in the country to be built as ‘homes for heroes’ for returning soldiers.

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I have read only recently that the dreadful, dilapidated, 1970s brick wall behind the memorial that you will have spotted in many of these photos is to be removed before the centenary of the outbreak of the war later this year.  Good move, methinks.

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NEW war memorial bollards in Crewkerne have been criticised for “watering down” the area’s First World War history.

Resident Martin Pakes said he was dismayed to see the new plaques attached to posts in Severalls Park Avenue commemorated 13 post-Second World War conflicts.

Mr Pakes is appealing to Crewkerne Town Council, which spearheaded the bollards project mainly to deter parking, to keep the Severalls Park Avenue as a unique memorial to the Crewkerne men who died in the First World War.

He said: “This is a very emotive issue that I care very deeply about and I don’t want to give the impression that I’m against these memorials in principal.

“But the housing estate at Severalls Park in its entirety, is a memorial to the 127 Crewkernians killed in the First World War and I know of no other housing estate in this country that has that distinction.

“It is a poignant example of how a town coped with its loss and how it made a brave attempt to provide a better future for those left behind.”

Resident Sandra Laird suggested the conflicts of Palestine, Korea, Kenya, Aden and Oman, Falkland Islands, Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, Persian Gulf War, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Suez and Malaya and Borneo be marked on the plaques.

But Mr Pakes said it would have been more appropriate to inscribe infamous 1914-1918 battlefields, such as the Somme, Passchendaele and Ypres.

“These are all names which immediately evoke and bring home the horrors of that war,” he said. “They would have reinforced the character and meaning of this place.

“Instead we have plaques commemorating Suez, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and other British Colonial conflicts some of which are best forgotten.

“Had someone from Crewkerne been killed in any of these conflicts, it would be right to inscribe their names on a dignified plaque somewhere in the town centre. Plaques identifying the conflict rather than the victim are meaningless and to attach them to wooden traffic bollards is just insulting.”

A town council spokesman said: “The bollards were put in to stop inconsiderate parking in the area and for the protection of the trees.

“The only solution the Highways department would allow were the bollards and Mrs Laird’s idea was moved forward in consultation with the Royal British Legion, as they have members who have fought in every campaign.”
Read more at http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/New-war-memorial-bollards-just-insulting-8211-resident/story-12336693-detail/story.html#iQCawv03sytkLter.99

NEW war memorial bollards in Crewkerne have been criticised for “watering down” the area’s First World War history.

Resident Martin Pakes said he was dismayed to see the new plaques attached to posts in Severalls Park Avenue commemorated 13 post-Second World War conflicts.

Mr Pakes is appealing to Crewkerne Town Council, which spearheaded the bollards project mainly to deter parking, to keep the Severalls Park Avenue as a unique memorial to the Crewkerne men who died in the First World War.

He said: “This is a very emotive issue that I care very deeply about and I don’t want to give the impression that I’m against these memorials in principal.

“But the housing estate at Severalls Park in its entirety, is a memorial to the 127 Crewkernians killed in the First World War and I know of no other housing estate in this country that has that distinction.

“It is a poignant example of how a town coped with its loss and how it made a brave attempt to provide a better future for those left behind.”

Resident Sandra Laird suggested the conflicts of Palestine, Korea, Kenya, Aden and Oman, Falkland Islands, Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, Persian Gulf War, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Suez and Malaya and Borneo be marked on the plaques.

But Mr Pakes said it would have been more appropriate to inscribe infamous 1914-1918 battlefields, such as the Somme, Passchendaele and Ypres.

“These are all names which immediately evoke and bring home the horrors of that war,” he said. “They would have reinforced the character and meaning of this place.

“Instead we have plaques commemorating Suez, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and other British Colonial conflicts some of which are best forgotten.

“Had someone from Crewkerne been killed in any of these conflicts, it would be right to inscribe their names on a dignified plaque somewhere in the town centre. Plaques identifying the conflict rather than the victim are meaningless and to attach them to wooden traffic bollards is just insulting.”

A town council spokesman said: “The bollards were put in to stop inconsiderate parking in the area and for the protection of the trees.

“The only solution the Highways department would allow were the bollards and Mrs Laird’s idea was moved forward in consultation with the Royal British Legion, as they have members who have fought in every campaign.”
Read more at http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/New-war-memorial-bollards-just-insulting-8211-resident/story-12336693-detail/story.html#iQCawv03sytkLter.99

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You may also have spotted the roadside posts (above) in the very first photo in this post, and it seems they have created something of a furore among local residents.

NEW war memorial bollards in Crewkerne have been criticised for “watering down” the area’s First World War history.

Resident Martin Pakes said he was dismayed to see the new plaques attached to posts in Severalls Park Avenue commemorated 13 post-Second World War conflicts.

Mr Pakes is appealing to Crewkerne Town Council, which spearheaded the bollards project mainly to deter parking, to keep the Severalls Park Avenue as a unique memorial to the Crewkerne men who died in the First World War.

He said: “This is a very emotive issue that I care very deeply about and I don’t want to give the impression that I’m against these memorials in principal.

“But the housing estate at Severalls Park in its entirety, is a memorial to the 127 Crewkernians killed in the First World War and I know of no other housing estate in this country that has that distinction.

“It is a poignant example of how a town coped with its loss and how it made a brave attempt to provide a better future for those left behind.”

Resident Sandra Laird suggested the conflicts of Palestine, Korea, Kenya, Aden and Oman, Falkland Islands, Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, Persian Gulf War, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Suez and Malaya and Borneo be marked on the plaques.

But Mr Pakes said it would have been more appropriate to inscribe infamous 1914-1918 battlefields, such as the Somme, Passchendaele and Ypres.

“These are all names which immediately evoke and bring home the horrors of that war,” he said. “They would have reinforced the character and meaning of this place.

“Instead we have plaques commemorating Suez, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and other British Colonial conflicts some of which are best forgotten.

“Had someone from Crewkerne been killed in any of these conflicts, it would be right to inscribe their names on a dignified plaque somewhere in the town centre. Plaques identifying the conflict rather than the victim are meaningless and to attach them to wooden traffic bollards is just insulting.”

A town council spokesman said: “The bollards were put in to stop inconsiderate parking in the area and for the protection of the trees.

“The only solution the Highways department would allow were the bollards and Mrs Laird’s idea was moved forward in consultation with the Royal British Legion, as they have members who have fought in every campaign.”
Read more at http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/New-war-memorial-bollards-just-insulting-8211-resident/story-12336693-detail/story.html#iQCawv03sytkLter.99

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Each post is inlaid with a tablet inscribed with a post-World War II conflict…

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…which, it is suggested, ‘waters down’ the nature of the estate as a war memorial in its own right, particularly as no Crewkerne residents were killed in these conflicts.  You’ll find the whole story elsewhere on the web if you’re interested.

This post is for Mr. Edward Taylor, BigNote follower, family historian, and all-round good egg, who keeps me abreast of all things Somerset.

Update: Sure enough, by the summer of 2014, words had become deeds:

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This entry was posted in Somerset, U.K. Churches, Memorials & Cemeteries - Back in Blighty. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Crewkerne War Memorial

  1. Roger Elsworth says:

    Great pictures. Is there a list of names for the 127 men who laid down their lives for us. Originally from Wilton I have been tracing family history and established that relatives of mine lived in the locality. Particularly interested in the surnames Salter and Rideout.

    Regards Roger Elsworth

    • Magicfingers says:

      Hello Roger. Thanks for your kind comments. When I read your response late last night (having just returned from visiting the poppies at the Tower of London – it seemed like the appropriate day to go), it reminded me that I have some more Crewkerne photos to upload, some of which I have just done. There is a Roll of Honour in the town square with all the names on it (unfortunately for your research, I don’t see either Salter or Rideout*) – it has recently been replaced with an updated version – and you will find both elsewhere on this site (put Crewkerne in the search box). You might like to know that the war memorial has also been renovated this summer, and I will upload photos of that as soon as I get round to it. Btw, I photographed Wilton Church, an extraordinary building, a few months back, so those photos will be uploaded at some time too.

      *nor on the Roll in the church, which you will also find on this site. I’m not being much help, really. Sorry about that.

  2. Michael Huntington says:

    Thank you for putting photograhps of the ‘ Crewkerne Memorial’ but are you aware of the whole story. The housing estate was the memorial, it is a very interesting story and i think it should be told

    • Magicfingers says:

      Hello Michael. Well, I do say the following in the post: ‘As I was taking these shots I was talking to a member of the local British Legion who informed me that not only is the whole estate a memorial (the only example in England, I believe), but the brick houses to the north of the war memorial were the first in the country to be built as ‘homes for heroes’ for returning soldiers.’ But I would be most interested to hear the full story. My father retired to and lived in West Chinock for 35 years until he died a couple of years ago, so for many years I was a frequent visitor to Crewkerne. I shall still visit occasionally, I’m sure.

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