A History of Hallaton War Memorial.
Understandably, most War Memorials to the dead of World War 1, were erected after the end of the war. There were lists of names to compile and check, relatives to consult, a site to be found, the type of memorial to construct –statue, village hall, plaque, memorial tree, church lych-gate -money to raise, designs to approve and a whole host of matters to attend to before work could begin. For example, the Cenotaph in Whitehall was not unveiled until 11 November 1920.
Records at The National Inventory of War Memorials at The Imperial War Museum, indicate that Hallaton War Memorial was unveiled in 1921 – like so many other village monuments.
I suspect that this information was gleaned from the same source as The Victoria County History, which repeats the same date.
In a description of the village green, The Victoria County history states, and I quote, “Near it (the Buttercross) is the War Memorial, a stone cross given by Mrs. Bewicke in 1921 in memory of her son”.
It is therefore all the more interesting that the War Memorial in Hallaton was dedicated on Wednesday 3rd April 1918, with the end of the war still another six months away – and that it was not Calverley George Bewicke’s mother who gave the memorial. See the enclosed report from The Market Harborough Advertiser dated 9th April 1918.
The situation was very different to the norm in Hallaton because very few of the constraints mentioned above applied.
. The memorial was paid for privately, by Mrs Effie Elizabeth Bewicke, nee Turner, widow of Calverley Theodore Bewicke, Lieutenant, Royal Navy, a member of the family which had been Lords of the Manor and who had died circa 1896, primarily as a memorial to her nephew, George Calverley Bewicke, killed in 1916 and with the names of 20 other men confirmed to have died by that time.
Made of local stone to a design by Paul Waterhouse FRIBA, and constructed by Messrs Marlow of Hallaton, builders, it is a sympathetic but imposing structure, placed on the village green fairly close to the ancient Buttercross.
A round base capped by slabs and forming a resting place for tributes, supports a smaller round plinth, the two of them resembling the base of the Buttercross. This in turn supports an octagonal stocky pillar. Above this are a series of layers, reducing in diameter, surmounted by a square faced column with chamfered edges upon which the names of the fallen are written.
The whole is topped with a simple and dignified cross which stands up above the backdrop of the surrounding rooftops.
On the upper circle, facing south is a sundial made from a triangular piece of slate. The shadow is read both on the horizontal and vertical surface. To this dial the architect has attached the latin motto: “Vox Luminis Umbra”, which translates roughly as “The shadow is the voice of the light”.
On the lowest of the octagonal layers of the base for the square faced column, are written the words, reading anticlockwise from the south:
ERECTED BY EFFIE / ELIZABETH / WIDOW OF CALV / ERLEY THE / ODORE BEWICKE / + IN MEM / ORIAM MCMXIV- / MCMXVIII
On the north face of the square faced column are carved the Bewicke coat of arms, and below that is the family motto “LIBERTAS ET NATALE SOLUM”, translated as “For Freedom and Country”.
On the east face were cut the names of: George Morris; M Percy Killingrey; Charles Marlow; William Dwyer; George Clarke; Fredk. Walter Russell. Subsequently added were the names of: John Henry Payne; Alfred Lount. !939-1945; Donald Payne; Horace Payne; Ernest White.
On the south face were cut the names of: Fredk. Chas. Morrison; Ralph Sneath Gray;
Fredk. Arthur Palmer; Emer Colman Driver; Tom Neale; Arthur Eaton; John Henry Tyler. Subsequently added were the names of: William Charles Fox; Arthur Plowright.
On the west face were cut the names of: Lieut. F. G. Andrews; Herbert E. Neale; Walter Hubert Hawke; Albert Tyler; Eli Pateman; Alfred (sic) Tebbutt Simkin; Ernest N. Johnson.
Subsequently added were: Harold Wright Simkin; Charles Cursley.
So that for World War 1 there were originally only 21 names, compared to the 27 now inscribed, plus the other four not currently recorded.
This took place on Wednesday 3rd April 1918, (the press report coming out in The Market Harborough Advertiser on the following Tuesday 9th).
It was a dignified and grand affair, presided over by The Bishop of Leicester, Dr. Norman MacLeod Lang, (in office 1913-1926) brother of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Cosmo Gordon Lang.
The guests were led by Mrs Effie Elizabeth Bewicke, aunt of Calverley George, his mother Lucy Blanche Bewicke (1861-19480, but not his father, Major Hubert Bertram Nathaniel Bewicke (1850-1921). This requires further investigation. Despite his age he had persuaded The War Office to recall him to the colours at the onset of the war and served in The Cheshire Regiment Training Depot. He had previously served in The Welsh Regiment and The Manchester Regiment. Also present was his sister, Honoria, subsequently Whigham, who on her return to Hallaton in 1974, became a very dear friend and inspiration. The full report is in the accompanying article.