(Most photos can be enlarged by clicking on them)
Datchet’s War Memorial was unveiled on 8th May 1920, but before that date two other First World War memorials were already in place. The first was the crucifix or wayside shrine in London Road, and the second was the Celtic cross just inside the boundary wall of the churchyard. Finally, the names of the fallen were inscribed on a Roll of Honour displayed in the church. Datchet is unusual in having multiple public memorials, although additional private ones such as in churches and schools, exist in many places.
There was no similar national drive to raise memorials after the Second World War, and the names of those killed in 1939-1945 were eventually added to the obelisk on the Green in 1989 by the Datchet branch of the British Legion. These are on a separate plaque at its base.
The story of all three monuments is told here through extracts from the Windsor & Eton Express and the Parish Magazines of the time:
1918, The Armistice and Plans for a Memorial
There was an air of intense expectancy until a phone message arrived to confirm the fact that the Armistice was signed and guaranteed official. The news spread swiftly on the arrival of a messenger from Windsor and flags and bunting were soon being put up while the church bells pealed. On Wednesday evening there was the largest congregation ever seen at the service in church. No doubt steps will soon be taken to have a permanent memorial to the fallen.
November, Parish Magazine
At a Parish Meeting the building of a village war memorial was considered; a special meeting of the parish is to be called.
December, Windsor & Eton Express
Many suggestions of other sorts of memorial have been made for Datchet: a Victory Hall, a recreation ground with a monument, endowed beds at the Edward VII Hospital, or a prominent clock. More suggestions included houses or flats for disabled servicemen or almshouses for old parishioners. A committee of the Parish Council is to consider the matter.
1919 February, Windsor & Eton Express
This committee included Sir Lionel Cust who was later to design the memorial on the Green.
1919, The London Road Crucifix
The entrance to London Road has been lately adorned by the erection of a ‘Calvary’ through the generosity of Mrs and Miss Curling of Denholme. It serves a two-fold purpose, in reminding passers-by of the great sacrifice and of the sacrifice of so many of Datchet’s sons in the Great War.
May, Parish Magazine
Denholme is one of the houses directly opposite the Library in Horton Road. Richard Curling served abroad but was not killed.
On Empire Day a large congregation, including many soldiers returned from the front, attended the Dedication of the Crucifix. The procession started from the church with George Hunt carrying the processional cross, followed by the choir, the Vicar and the Bishop of Buckinghamshire. In his address the Bishop said that the memorial was intended as a wayside shrine which would be a familiar sight to those who had served in France but was little known in England.
May, Windsor & Eton Express
The inscriptions are:
TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN MEMORY OF THE GREAT WAR 1914-1919.
I LOOK FOR THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD AND THE LIFE OF THE WORLD TO COME. AMEN
November, Windsor & Eton Express, first anniversary of Armistice Day
Mr Kinross, chairman of the Parish Council, had put up notices asking for silence, and at 11 o’clock a maroon exploded from the fire station by George Cleversley announced the start of two minutes silence. A floral tribute was placed at the foot of the war shrine in London Road by the women of Datchet.
1920, The Women’s Memorial, the Celtic Cross in the Churchyard
An application has been made for the erection in the churchyard of Datchet a Celtic Cross in memory of those from the parish who have fallen in the war. It is to be made from grey Cornish granite and is to be nine feet high.
May 1919, Windsor & Eton Express
At last the Women’s memorial is making some progress now that the faculty for its erection in the church yard has been obtained. Meanwhile some improvements have been made to its design.
1920, June, Parish Magazine
No information has been found about the women responsible for this memorial, or of its dedication or unveiling. There are two inscriptions on its base:
North face, Erected by the women of Datchet to the memory of those from the parish who fell in the Great War 1914-1919; South face, Faithful unto death
1920, The Obelisk War Memorial on the Green
£600 has been raised for the War Memorial fund. A design was placed before the subscribers at a meeting held at the schools, to which only two disagreed. It is hoped to erect it in the spring.
1919 November Parish Council minutes
Only four of the memorial committee of fourteen had lost sons (six between them) and all four represented wealthy and powerful local families: John Kinross, Henry Kelway-Bamber, Lady Marcia de Paravicini and Percy J de Paravicini.
1920 May 8th, Unveiling of the War Memorial on the Green
The Marquis of Lincolnshire, Lord Lieutenant of Bucks, unveiled on Sunday afternoon on the village green at Datchet, the handsome obelisk which has been erected there by the inhabitants as a memorial to those men of the village who fell in the war. The memorial, which was designed by Mr Lionel Cust of Datchet House, has been raised by subscriptions from all classes of the inhabitants and cost a little over £600. Most of the residents of the village were assembled and the schoolchildren, with their headmaster Mr E.W.Page, were given a post of honour near the memorial. The members of Datchet Fire Brigade were present in full uniform and formed a ring around the memorial. The demobilized soldiers were drawn up in lines along the main path, and on the arrival of Lord Lincolnshire he inspected the men, shaking hands with every one and asking particulars as to his service. Mr John Kinross, in inviting the noble Marquis to unveil the monument, delivered an excellent speech. Lord Lincolnshire, having unveiled the Memorial (which was enveloped in the flag of England), said that he could not help thinking how right people in this great and historical country were in not following the advice of those who wanted to have one great memorial in one common centre in the county. How much better it was that loving hearts had decided to set up memorials in every township and village of England.Afterwards, flowers were placed at the base of the Memorial by the villagers and the schoolchildren. The memorial was much admired.
Windsor & Eton Express
The exceptional design of this monument is due to Lionel Cust’s life in the arts, as Editor of the Burlington Magazine, Director of the National Portrait Gallery and Keeper of the King’s Pictures. For an idea of what the £600 might have meant at the time, Old Manor House (behind the memorial in the 1920 photo) had been sold in 1896 for £700.
1923, Memorial Service 11th November
Maintenance: The memorial is the responsibility of the Datchet Parish Council since they ‘own’ it and it is on Parish land. In 2011 a thorough restoration was carried out and funded at the initiative of the Barker Bridge House Trust but on behalf of the Parish Council which had to approve the proposed work and place contracts. Previous repairs had also been undertaken by the Council.
Roll of Honour in Church
There remains now the Roll of Honour, inscribed on parchment, to be placed on the Shrines in the Parish Church and All Souls. I am ascertaining the probable cost of these. We have all been unanimous in this part of our Memorial and I hope that some of those who did not care to subscribe to the others will help us with donations towards the cost of these.
1920, June, Parish magazine, from the Vicar:
All Souls was the cemetery chapel where C of E services were held as more convenient for people at Datchet Common than the parish church. Originally, there were fifty one names on the Memorial, but by the time the Roll was written the number had risen to fifty four. The Vicar’s comments hint at divided opinions in the village, most likely because money was being spent on monuments rather than on practical purposes. One copy of the Roll of Honour is still displayed in St Mary’s, in a glass case near the choir stalls.
See these external websites for further information:
List of names inscribed on War Memorial, WWI;
those of WWII added in 1989
|DATCHET WAR MEMORIAL WWI|
|Adam||Robert||Pte||Oxford & Bucks L.I.|
|Burfoot||Sidney Walter||Pte||R.W.Surrey R.|
|Carrod||Albert||Pte||Oxford & Bucks L.I.|
|Carrod||Henry||Pte||D. of Cornwall L.I.|
|Hickman||Thomas Henry||Pte||R.Munster Fusiliers|
|Higgs||Francis William||Pte||Oxford & Bucks L.I.|
|Horne||Thomas Arthur||Pte||Coldstream Guards|
|Johnson||Frank||Pte||Oxford & Bucks L.I.|
|Johnson||William||Pte||Oxford & Bucks L.I.|
|Kelway-Bamber||Claude Herschel||2nd Lieut||R.A.F.|
|Lewin||James Albert||Pte||R.Berks R.|
|Lucas||Henry Guy||Pte||E.Surrey R.|
|Mason||Albert Edward||Pte||London Rifles|
|McGrigor||James Niel Grant||2nd Lieut||Gordon Highlanders|
|Newens||William James||Pte||R.Munster Fusiliers|
|Newens||Albert Harold||Pte||R.Berks R.|
|de Paravicini||John Marcus||Major||K.R.Rifle Corps|
|Pickton||Henry||Pte||Oxford & Bucks L.I.|
|Robinson||Hon Hercules Edward Joseph||2nd Lieut||E.Kent.R|
|Slade||Ernest George||?||15th Hussars|
|Soden||Harold Corbet||Captain||King’s Rifles|
|Steer||Harry William||Pte||R.Warwick R.|
|Tarrant||Philip William||Pte||S.Wales Borderers|
|Ward||Richard Gough||Pte||R.W.Surrey R.|
|Widcombe||Arthur James||Lt Corp||Wilts R.|
|Widcombe||Charles Ingleton||2nd Lieut||Oxford & Bucks L.I.|
|WORLD WAR II|
|Bilyard||Stanley||Pte||Ox & Bucks L.I.||29|
|Cross||Duncan Cyril (William?)||PM/Cmdr ?||RNR||29|
|Feeny||George||Flt.Lt/Lt (A) ?||Fleet Air Arm /RN ?||26|
|Goddard||Richard Henry||Capt||Mddx Regt||46|
|Green||William Henry||Pte||Queens R.R. / W.S.||29|
|Harlow||Dick Hempson||2nd Lt||RE||27|
|Holschumer||W.F. Clarence||Pte||E. Surrey R|
|Jameson||Derek Bellingham||Flt Sgt||RAF||29|
|Lewin||John||Corp||Beds & Herts||27|
|Owen||John Askew||Sub Lt||RNVR||19|
|Rawlings||Albert John||Pte||Ox & Bucks Lt Inf||28|
|Woolman||Arthur W||L/Sgt||Coldstream Gds||25|