St Martin's War Memorial
St Martin's Church War Memorial, 2007
St Martin's church Parish Church War Memorial was dedicated on Sunday 12 June 1921, bearing the names of 106 of the congregation who fell in the Great War. To read more about an individual click on their name in one of the pictures of the panels, below.
To read more about an individual please click on their name.
To read more about an individual please click on their name.
Photograph courtesy of Clive Gilbert 2007
The Vicar of St Martin's at the time of the Great War, was Waldegrave Bainbridge-Bell. He wrote a regular 'letter' to all his parishioners in the Parish magazine. The following narrative has many quotes, in italics, from articles published in the magazine.
Appeal for photographs
In January 1919, just two months after the end of the war the Vicar proposed to have a book containing the photographs of those in the Parish who 'laid down their lives in the Great War'. He then asked their friends to send him a copy of their photographs 'with the name, address, and regiment of the fallen soldier or sailor written on the back, and any details that would be of general interest such as his age when he joined up, where he went to school, whether he was a member of the Choir, or Guild, etc., when he was confirmed'.
How best to Commemorate the fallen
Then on 28 January 1919 the Vicar wrote asking his parishioners to consider how best to commemorate fallen comrades. He was against anything that was a 'mere utility'. Although the community ought to have public baths and a public reading room, such things would not be a 'real memorial' but would simply be the 'provision of a need, which local rates might quite suitably supply'.
His view was that a suitable memorial would be 'a building where Christ Crucified is preached, and Christ risen is worshiped'. We want to hand on the faith, in which they went out to die: that faith in Him, which comforts those who mourn'.
He went on to write that if the people of the Parish wanted the social extension of Church life, then he would suggest the 'building of a really good Parish Hall and Institute', as the need for such a facility was great. At the moment all the parish's clubs, societies and meetings, have only 'one miserable room' available, and for this he was rather ashamed. Therefore, if parishioners felt that their memorial should enhance the social and educational needs of the Parish, then 'here is a distinct opportunity'.
However, it remained his view that 'the building of the western bays of our Parish Church', would be 'the most fitting of all offerings'. He then asked the parishioners to think it over and let him know their thoughts.
He ended with 'It is a glorious opportunity of doing something really worthy of the feelings which stir so strongly within us and which will interpret to generations yet unborn (lest they forget) how we felt about the lads who went out from this corner of the Empire, to make history, and to glorify God by their deaths'.
Vote for preferred option
The Vicar's letter dated 26 March 1919 noted that it had not yet been decided what form the memorial should take, and he noted that the views expressed at the memorial meeting had been varied. He had circulated a list of alternatives, and had asked everyone to cast a vote for their preferred option. To date about 40 replies had been received. Those who had not yet indicated their preference were urged to take away a voting paper, available at the west door of the church.
Presumably the people voted, and decided against erecting a building, instead opting for a memorial tablet. The Vicar's letter dated 23 February 1920, informs the congregation that a Mr. J.O. Cheadle had been appointed to design the memorial tablet, a drawing of which had been placed by the west doors, and the cost was to be £420. He stated that there would be room for '80 names in good bold lettering'. (Note: the final total of names inscribed is 106).
Provisional list of names
In March 1920 a provisional list of names was produced, with an appeal for errors and omissions to be notified. The list, as published in the Parish Magazine is as follows:
William Northey, George Scott*, Walter Wells*, Charles David*, Philip Morley*, Frederick Nash*, Benny Elderton, Charles Murray*, Edward Clarke*, George Walford*, David Gaskell, John Butcher, William N. Gardiner, Ernest Botting, William Pye, Albert H. Beams, Frederick English, Walter H. Cooke, Alfred S. Harknett, Albert Maskell, Frederick M. Galyer, Horace Stanley Knight, Tom Sheppard, Alfred Stevenson, Thomas H. Burfitt, William Henry Bailey, Francis J. Bailey, Frank Arthur, Raymond Norrington, Charles Ballinger, Joseph E. Toms, George Sturgess, Alfred Terry, Edward Friday, Ernest J. Wheeler, Alfred Middleton, Oliver J. Shrubb, Harry Coombes*, James R. Jenkins, John Shrubb, William M. Vincent, Albert Ockenden, Trefelyn Roland Cropley, A. George Stevenson, George Tracey, H. H. Gruntvig, Stewart A. Gabriel, Jack Marson, Robert J. Ledger, Henry Cumming, Walter Guy Tye, Arthur G. Chittenden, William England, Clement Harvey, Archer E. Goble, Christopher A. Clapham, Arthur S. Harknett, George C. Portt, Samuel G. Eley, Henry Gorey, Fred Gorey, John S. Wickens, Gordon H. Grellier, Frederick Plume, Joseph G. Hawker*, Archie K. Watkins, Leonard Smith, Percival W*. Albert Chalwin, John W. Jeal, William Broughton, Leon H. Ratcliff, Thomas Palmer, Percival R. Smith.
(* = do not appear on the final memorial)
It is interesting to note that this initial list contains the names of 74 men, and of those, 11 do not appear on the final memorial. As previously stated the number of men commemorated is 106.
War Memorial committee
On 28th April, 1920 a War Memorial committee was appointed under the Chairmanship of Mr. H.M. Grellier, whose son Gordon Harley Grellier had been killed in action on 31 October 1918. Once the war memorial committee had received a 'firm estimate' for the work (the initial estimate being £420 plus architect's fees) an appeal for funds was to be made. However, by June 1920 the appeal had still not been made, but gifts had been made by the parents of three of the boys who had been killed.
In July 1920 the Parish magazine stated that 'The Committee are anxious to obtain full details as to regiment, rank, place and date of death, and names of relatives of those whose names should be inscribed on the Roll. And that Mr Grellier 'will gladly receive any information from the friends of those who fought and fell'.
In September 1920 the Vicar was writing that a list of names would be hung at the Church doors, and that if possible the list would appear in the local press, and he was anxious that parishioners should scrutinise it, lest any errors or omissions had crept in. The cost had gone up to about £500, towards which about £300 had been received by the treasurer, Mr. Arthur Moore.
No Government funding
The memorial in the church was entirely private, with no government funding, so all the money would have to come from public donations. The Government was funding the erection of crosses and memorials in the foreign lands where the men fell, but very few of the relatives would be able to afford to travel to pay their respects. For this reason, private memorials in the UK were important, and everyone was urged to contribute, however small the amount.
It seems that raising the requisite amount of money proved to be difficult as in November 1920 an envelope seeking subscriptions was delivered to every house in the parish, to be collected in a fortnight. The appeal was styled as not pleading for assistance, but as giving each parishioner a chance to share in the common tribute to 'our glorious dead'. The envelopes seem to have been successful, as by December, with not all of the envelopes collected, the fund had risen to within £50 of the required amount. Individual donations had ranged from £25 to 2d.
By February 1921 the list of names had been finalised, having been twice published in the Epsom Herald. It contained the names of 106 men, arranged in chronological order of death, and the full names, rank, military honours (if any) and the regiment of each man, duly verified by parents and relatives.
The order for the memorial was placed with Messrs. Wooldridge & Simpson, of Oxford, at a cost of £305 5s. 0d., plus 10s. 6d. per dozen for the incised letters. The Architect's fee was £50. £502 0s. 9d. had been subscribed, which was considered to be amply sufficient to cover the cost of the Memorial and any incidental expenses.
By May 1921 the memorial had still not been constructed, and it was reported to the War Memorial committee that some of the pilasters had been lost in transit.
St. Martin's Parish Church War Memorial was dedicated with due ceremony on Sunday 12 June 1921. It was unveiled by Major-General Sir J.R. Longley, K.C.M.G., C.B., and dedicated by the Rev. F.I. Anderson, C.M.G., Assistant Chaplain General. A Guard of honour was provided by the 5th East Surrey Regiment, and an officer and six buglers from Epsom College O.T.C. The National Federation of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers, and The Comrades of the Great War attended.
Two years and seven months after the end of the Great War, St Martin's church had a fitting memorial to their young men who had been killed in the war. A memorial that met with universal approval.
Book of Memorials
In August 1921 it was decided that in addition to the fixed memorial in the church there should be a chained 'Book of Memorials', in which it was proposed to engross on its vellum pages, further details about the men whose names appear on the Memorial Tablet. The Church Council having decided unanimously that such details as would be of general interest engrossed in the Book, as a permanent historical record.
By January 1922 the 'Book of Memorials' had been completed, and the details, headed by a short preface, were to be preserved on its parchment leaves for all time. Parishioners were invited to inspect the book for themselves, which was lying 'on the oaken desk standing near the pillar at the junction of the new and old nave'.
Address of Memorial :
St Martin of Tours Church, Church Street, Epsom, KT17 4PF
Location of Memorial :
Attached to interior wall of Church
OS Map Ref :
Physical Description :
Five rectangular inscrition tablets set within an ornate NOWY headed frame. Columns flank the central tablet which contains a cross carved in relief.
Number of Names :
Restricted as subject to church opening hours and church services.
Reference : 51738