Today, 96 years since Armistice was declared, and the First World War ended, people around the world remember those who courageously gave their lives. At 11 o’clock this morning, the staff and volunteers of Quarry Bank gathered in the Heroes of Adventure exhibition to observe the two minutes silence.
Styal village lost 24 men in the War, including Arthur and Bobby Greg, and Alfred Sprowson who are featured in the exhibition. In 1920, two years after the Armistice, the War Memorial Committee invited the people of Styal to make arrangements to erect a memorial for the fallen soldiers. The village came together as a community to honour their brave men.
A sub-committee made up of Styal’s ex-servicemen was formed, chaired by Ernest Greg (Arthur and Bobby’s father) and his brother, Robert Alexander Greg.
The total cost of the memorial was £350, and the committee sent out a leaflet to villagers asking for donations: “it shall be purely a free-will offering, as a token of gratitude to those who laid down their lives for their country.”
On 15th October 1921, the village marched with a brass band to the site of the memorial. The Order of Service was as follows, as described in the event’s accompanying leaflet:
1. HYMN … “O God out help in Ages past.”
2. Scripture … ST. JOHN XIV. Verses 1-6. Revd. H.J.LUXON
3.Reading of Recorded Names … Lieu.- Col. A. GREG, C.B.E.
4. Unveiling Ceremony and Dedication .. Col. E.WW. GREG, C.B.
In perpetual and loving memory of the Men of Styal who gave their lives for King, Country, and Freedom, in the Great War, 1914-’18, I unveil this Memorial and commit it to the care of the Parish Council of Styal for ever. “Greater love hath no man this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
5. Volleys by Firing Party
6. Last Post … STYAL HOMES BUGLERS
7. Reveille … STYAL HOMES BUGLERS
8. Prayer … Revd. E.A. Smith, B.Sc.
9. HYMN … “Fight the Good Fight”
10. Wreaths placed by Ex-Service Men …
11. Prayer, and Benediction .. Revd. A. ANTLIFF
GOD SAVE THE KING
We are lucky enough to hold in the archive the notes that Ernest made for his heartfelt speech:
“Their names are enshrined in our hearts. Let none of us forget those Styal men who went forth inspired by the same spirit of duty & self sacrifice… Let us take our courage in both hands, let us remember our dead let us gather inspiration from their glowing example of simple & noble self sacrifice; and it is in the fervent hope that this monument will always remind us not only of our dear laddies & their noble deaths but of our duty to the ideals for which they so ungrudgingly laid down their bright young lives…”
“These memorials… will be an everlasting appeal to our better selves. They should ever recall the spirit that sent those dear fallen lads of ours forth… Surely these monuments erected all over the country are a perpetual reminder to us of the terrible cost of modern war, of the suffering & sadness. Of the waste of lives, of the destruction…
And this is the great lesson that must be taught & insisted upon by parents & teachers alike to the children of this & succeeding generations.”
The War scattered the men of Styal far and wide, and those who lost their lives were laid to rest across the globe. Ally and I spent some time researching where these brave men were buried.
Brigadier General Noel Lee, 1867-1915
Pieta Military Cemetery, Malta
Captain Fred Eastwood , 1895-1917
Ferme-Olivier Cemetery, Jussy, Belgium
Captain Arthur Tylston Greg, 1894-1917
Jussy Communal Cemetery, Belgium
Captain William H Watney, 1880-1915
Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium
Sec Lieutenant Robert Philips Greg, 1899-1918
Lijssenthoek Cemetery, Belgium
Sec Lieutenant Noel Esmond Lee, 1897-1917
Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium
Sec Lieutenant Godfrey J Mason, 1897-1918
Gorre British and Indian Cemetery, France
Sergeant James Goldstraw, 1894-1918.
Wilmslow Cemetery, England
Corporal George Allman, 1888-1914
Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium
Lance Corporal William Bone, 1886-1914
Cement House Cemetery, Belgium
Lance Corporal Alfred Sprowson, 1888-1915
Cairo War Cemetery, Egypt
Private Arthur Adshead, 1885-1916
Knightsbridge Cemetery, Mesnil-Martinsart, France
Private James Ashpital, 1898-1917
Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium.
Private Charles Bowyer, 1893-1916
Thiepval Memorial, France
Gunner John Earlam ,1885-1918
Morbecque British Cemetery, France
Private Arthur Frost, 1888-1914
La-Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France
Private Arthur Jackson, 1889-1916
Styal, Cheshire, England
Private Arthur Jenkins
Resting place unknown
Private Harold Johnson, 1887-1918
Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt
Private Thomas Leah, 1878-1917
Tancrez Farm Cemetery, Belgium
Private Thomas Moore 1893-1917
North British Cemetery, Baghdad, Iraq
Private Albert Scott
Resting place unknown
Private Alfred Wood, 1891-1916
Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France
Private John Worthington, 1897-1917
Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension, France
Marian Allen, Arthur Greg’s bereft fiancée, wrote this poem on Armistice Day 1920.
The battlefield gives up her nameless son,
With peace about his feet and head at rest,
He does not come alone this silent one
Who tears the nations sword upon his breast.
A simple warrior unmarked by fame,
Who heard the call and took a soldier’s chance,
He fought and died and left behind a name
Writ only in the blood stained soil of France.
For all who fed the battle line as he
Or spread their wings and climbed the tractless skies
Or trafficked the dark roadways & the sea
The Empire’s symbol of her Dead he lies;
While year by year November mists again
Will mourn above the ground where they were slain.
If you have any information about the men whose names are etched on Styal War Memorial, or if you have information about those who were lucky enough to be welcomed home, please get in touch at email@example.com. Heroes of Adventure is open until this Sunday, 16 November.