Remembering the fallen soldiers of Styal – Heroes of Adventure

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.

Some of the soldiers of Styal in the Mill Yard before deployment
Some of the soldiers of Styal in the Mill Yard before deployment

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.”

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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…

Ernest William Greg
Ernest William Greg

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.”

Styal War Memorial

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 quarrybankmill@nationaltrust.org.uk. Heroes of Adventure  is open until this Sunday, 16 November.

Laura

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