Wetherby War Memorial - The Great War 1914 - 1918

Gunter, R B N
Durrant, C M
Weston, C G
Kelly, K G
Armitage, G J
Durrant, H M L
Hargreaves, J P
March, G
Dukes, W
Fowler, R
Westerman, H
Kirk, J C
Wiggins, T A
Telford, G
Harper, J W
Alexander, H W
Mason, T F
Wilkinson, W
Brown, C
Adkin, J
Barton, F
Hobman, A
Webster, A E
March, E A
Miller, G
Hannan, E
Utley, G
Walker, F
Bygrave, E W
Chapman, E
Varley, N W
Bowen, F J
Byrom, F
Backhouse, S
Dalby, M
Crossland, A
Crossley, J S
Dean, R
Frost, A E
Hodgson, F H
Holt, J
Hood, W H
Hill, W
Kitchen, T
Linfoot, E
Metcalfe, J C
Marsden, J
Pawson, W
Precious, G
Scutt, T G
Wiggins, J
Walker, E
Wood, A
Young, T
Pratt, W
Taylor, H
Dawson, G W
Lister, J
Binge, T
Atack, G
Durham, E F
Precious, G R
Wheelhouse Smith, W
Backhouse, H
Swann, J W
Burnsides, G A
Coles, W
Kelly, H W
Miles, J G
Tapsell, K


The memorial is situated on Boston Road, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, at the end of the bridge that crosses the River Wharfe. The memorial represents Victory with two bronze lions mounted on a plinth of Portland stone. Standing at 22 feet in height the structure weighs in excess of 33 tons. The memorial was designed by Louis Frederick Roslyn who himself served in the Royal Flying Corps in the Great War. A prolific sculptor, he created a number of war memorials around the country but one of his most notable sculptures is a bronze statue of Edward VII located at Tooting Broadway Underground Station unveiled in 1911. Roslyn, a naturalised German, was educated at Westminster City & Guilds of London Technical College and Royal Academy Schools.
In 1917 the parish council set up a special committee headed by the Honorary Secretary Edward Davies of North Grove, Wetherby, which started to raise a fund for construction by public subscription. At the close of this fund over £3000 had been raised the memorial itself costing £1000. The balance of £2000 was to be devoted to the remodelling of the interior of the Town Hall which in addition would provide a social centre or meeting place for the local branch of the British Legion.

The Unveiling Of The Memorial

In heavy and continuous rain, the memorial was unveiled on Saturday 22nd April 1922 by the Right Honourable Earl of Harewood (Lord Lieutenant of the West Riding) and dedicated by the Bishop of Knaresborough.
At the Town Hall a procession was formed prior to the service and headed by the Wetherby Brass Band followed by members of the clergy and the combined choirs of the various religious denominations present in the town. Also in attendance were the local Troop of the Boy Scouts movement.
The service commenced with the singing of the hymn "For All The Saints" and after the reading of the lesson and the offering of prayers by the clergy the unveiling ceremony took place. On drawing aside the Union Jack which covered the memorial, the Earl of Harewood gave the following address:

"I unveil this memorial, erected as an abiding witness of the love of freedom, truth, justice, and mercy, and also in proud and grateful memory of those from Wetherby who have fallen in the Great War. May this memorial remain from generation to generation as a sign and symbol of a patriotism, faithful unto death."

Edward Davies, Honorary Secretary of the War Memorial Committee then read the Roll of Honour. The Troop of Boy Scouts present gave the general salute followed by Bugler Dawson sounding "The Last Post." After the preserving of one minute's silence, "The Reveille" was then sounded by the bugler.
The dedication of the memorial then took place by the Bishop of Knaresborough with prayers being said followed by an address to the townspeople. Colonel Lane Fox then gave a short speech as regards the symbolism of the memorial itself.
The Colonel explained that the townspeople of Wetherby had erected that memorial because those men gave up all they had for them, and went through suffering, want, and terror of war which only cowards denied and all brave men admitted. They went finally to their death, and it was for them that the fallen did it. On a personal note to the grieving families assembled, the Colonel appealed to those who had lost their loved ones. Many he said, would like to bring them back and restore to those broken hearts left behind something of the joy of previous years, but they could not do that. But that memorial he continued, showed what they could do, and they had done it gladly.
The hymn "O God Our Help" was then sang followed by the National Anthem and then the pronouncement of the Benediction by the Bishop of Knaresborough.
To close the proceedings the Earl of Harewood called for three cheers for the King and Queen and an enthusiastic response followed. As the cheers ended, the Earl was heard to remark..."God bless them."

Aims Of The Website

The aim of this Website is to commemorate and remember the seventy one casualties of the Great War, who were either resident in the town of Wetherby or who had next of kin who chose to have their name inscribed on the memorial. The names of each soldier on this website are listed in rank order, as they are inscribed on the memorial. Sources are varied such as surviving service records, War Diaries and newspaper articles. In addition to these, the Author has been privileged to make contact with relatives of those commemorated on the memorial who have kindly provided treasured family photos or memories. For them in particular, I hope I have commemorated their loved ones sacrifice accurately and sympathetically.

Updates (July 2024)

As of July 2024, numerous commemorations on the site are under construction for a variety of reasons, one, as new information and research comes to light, and secondly, I am a working man with a family life outside the circle of Great War research. The website is published in the public domain, a promise I made to an Old "Pal" many years ago, who sadly is no longer with us. As the research is in the public domain, I only ask one courtesy, if anyone chooses to use any part of the content, please quote source. The site is funded by myself, no advertisements and no affiliation to someone who is 'tagged' as Wetherby War Memorial on Facebook, I will just make that clear and to the point so that no one is misled. Any requests for any research are free, and, it is my pleasure to help, just contact me on the address below. One Commemoration that is completed is that of Private John Metcalfe. A life sadly lost on the 31st of August 1917 in the trenches east of Vimy Ridge. Further research has continued as regards Ernest Walker and the men of the 1/5th West Yorkshire Regiment in addition to that of George Riley Precious, killed at Arras in 1917.   

This is an ongoing project and will be added to as my research develops.

Christopher James Noble, Western Front Association, Wetherby