War and Remembrance – The Making of a War Memorial

The transcriptions below are from Great Dunmow Parish Council Minutes held by the Essex Record Office, Chelmsford – SEAX Catalogue D/J 88/2/1 (1894-1936).

Great Dunmow Wednesday 17th April 1918
At a meeting of inhabitants of the Parish of Great Dunmow called by the Rev W J House and W H Pace for the purpose of discussing the desirability of erecting a suitable memorial to Dunmow men who had fallen during the present war and held in the Church Schoolroom this evening there present:-

The Rev W J House, The Rev W H Pace Mr Wm Hasler (Chairmen of the Parish Council) and a large number of ladies and gentlemen, inhabitants of the Parish

On the proposition of J W King it was unanimously carried that Mr William Hasler take the Chair.

Mr Hasler suitably addressed the meeting and asked those present to put forward their views.

The Rev W H Pace spoke at length and moved that a war memorial of some sort be erected by the inhabitants.

The Rev W J House addressed the meeting and supported the Rev W H Pace, and moved that a Committee be formed with a view to providing a temporary institute at once and to take such steps as may be necessary to provide a permanent institute. J W King and many others also spoke and expressed their views, when, after considerable discussion, the proposals of the Rev W H Pace and the Rev W J House were, by consent of the Chairmen withdrawn.

The Rev W J House then moved that a committee be formed to consider what form the proposed shall take. This was seconded by J W King. Before putting this to the meeting J Gibbons and J V Mackenzie spoke on the resolution and L C Mackenzie moved an amendment that the whole question be adjoined until peace was declared.

The Chairman put the amendment to the meeting, which was defeated. The resolution was put to the meeting and was carried by a large majority. Resolved unanimously that a Committee of 25 ladies & gentlemen be appointed, with power to add to their number, the following persons were unanimously appointed:-

Mrs Armstrong

Messers Rev W J House
J V Mackenzie
G Lowe
W H Mills
H W King
F W Baldey
Dr J H Gardiner
J Newman
Major Hasler
R R Smith
F J Nicholls
H Rumsey
L G Saville
A J Mills
J W Beard
P Tyler
H J Sewell
Dr Tench
A R Spurgeon

The Rev W H Pace kindly consented to act as Hon Secretary to this committee and to convene its first meeting.

A note of thanks to the chairmen for presiding <illegible> the meeting


Thursday 3rd October 1918 – Proposed War Memorial
The Chairman stated that the Committee appointed by a meeting of inhabitants to consider the question of a war memorial for the Parish had requested him to call another meeting of inhabitants and asked those present to fix a date for this purpose. After consideration it was resolved that the meeting be called on Friday 18th October 1918 at 7 o clock pm at the Church Schools, provided this date and time is suitable to the Rev W J House and W H Pace


Dunmow 18th October 1918 – Proposed War Memorial
At a meeting of the inhabitants of the Parish of Great Dunmow held in the Church Schoolroom on Friday the 18th Day of October 1918, to receive the report of the Committee appointed to deal with the question of War Memorial, there were present

Mr W Hasler J P 
In the Chair
The Rev W J House, M.A. & W H Pace B.D. and many ladies and gentlemen inhabitants of the parish.

The Notice calling the meeting was read

The minutes of the last meeting of inhabitants were read, confirmed & signed

The Report of the Committee was presented by the Rev W H Pace as under:-

The Committee elected, met on May 10th and asked the following to serve as co-opted members of the Committee:- Capt. Bacon, Lieut Col J Gibbons, Messrs E J Bond, A Bovill, A E Floyd, J Gibbons L C Mackenzie, F Robus, W O Sharp, J Smith, R Stacey, C L Suthery, W de Vins Wade & C Welch all of whom consented.

Messers J Bacon J L Livermore, J H Trembath declined.
Miss Lyle & Mr E J Foakes did not reply.

The following offices were chosen:-
Chairman Mr J Hasler JP
Vice-Chairmen Dr J W Gardiner
Treasurer Mrs C S Suthery
Secretary Rev W H Pace

The committee met again on May 24th and listened to the Rev R L Gwynne who pleaded for a cottage hospital as a worthy memorial.

Dr Gardiner proposed the following resolution:-
“That this committee sets before itself the task not only of raising a memorial to the Fallen, but also of commemorating and as far as possible perpetuating the spirit of self-sacrifice and co-operation in the cause of humanity, in which our country undertook, and is carrying on the war, in the hope of making the world a better place for men to live in. This was carried, as was the further resolution, moved by the Rev W H Pace. That an Executive Committee of six, in addition to the officers already elected be appointed to take steps for the building of a Social Club and the erection of a Memorial to the Fallen as the Dunmow War Memorial. The following were elected:- Mrs Armstong (who asked to be excused from serving) The Rev W J House, Messers J W Beard, E J Bond, H Rurnelly & W de Vins Wade.

The Executive Committee has met on four occasions. At the first meeting Mrs C S Suthery reported the receipt of the following generous offers to the fund for providing a Social Club, providing five others gave sums of £500. Messrs Hasler & Clapham £1,000, A Bovill £500, W Hasler £500. An offer for a house for sale in the town was made but not accepted.

Arising out of the question of framing an appeal for funds for the Social Club came a division of opinion as to what restrictions, if any were to be laid down for the running of the Club. The committee found itself unable to agree, and on Friday August 16th, the whole Executive resigned. The General Committee accepted the resignation and reformed the election of the new committee to this meeting.

The Chairmen addressed the meeting

The Rev W J House spoke and moved that the resignation of the Committee be accepted, this was seconded by the Rev W H Pace and carried mem con.

After further discussion it was proposed by the Rev W J House seconded by the Rev W H Pace, that new Committee be formed, with a mandate from this meeting to follow up the proposals of a Social Club, etc. Public Hall and memorial in Stone.

Mr J Trembath then addressed the meeting, and moved as an amendment that the whole question of a memorial be left over until the men now on Active Service return home. The Amendment failed to find a seconder.

The Chairmen put the Resolution to the meeting, which was carried with one dissenter.

After considerable discussion in which many took part, the Resolution appointing a new Committee was by general consent withdrawn, and it was proposed by F J Nicholls, seconded by A Dennis and carried mem con that the original Executive Committee be re-appointed with power to add to this number and that it be an instruction from this meeting that they are to confine their activities to raising the funds necessary for the proposed Social Club etc Public Hall and memorial in Stone and not to discuss questions of management and other details

It was further agreed that the Committee should report to another meeting of inhabitants before spending any money or making any commitments.

A vote of thanks to the Chairman for presiding terminated the proceedings


Thursday 14th November 1918 – Proposed War Memorial
A letter dated the 1st November 1918 from the Rev W H Pace Hon Secretary of the Executive Committee appointed by the Inhabitants was read and after considerable discussion it was proposed by J Gibbons and seconded by A J Mills that a Committee be formed to issue an appeal for funds to provide a suitable memorial in Stone to be placed in the centre of the town on some other spot that may be agree upon. On being put to the meeting six voted for the Resolution and one (the Chairman) against. Resolved unanimously that the Committee consist of three members of the council. Messrs A Dennis, J Gibbons A J Mill, three inhabitants of the town, The Rev W J House & W H Pace mr E O Davey ex officio membus. C S Suthery as Treasurer and L G Machenziie as Hon Secretary

Thursday 27th March 1919 – Proposed War Memorial Committee appointed
The Chairman then addressed the meeting on the question of the proposed War Memorial Hall & explained the position of affairs up to that date. After considerable discussion it was unanimously resolved that a Committee should now be appointed by this council to carry on.

Proposed by J W Beard seconded A J Mills unanimously carried that the following person constitute the committee and that power be granted them to co-opt

P Andrews
Gardiner J N
Tench A
Southery C as Hon Treasurers
Dennis A
Hasler Wm
Wade w de v
Boyce Serg Major & Perry A as ex-service men
Floyed A
Major Welch
Col J M Gibbons
J Stacey
R Turner


Thursday 25th March 1920 – Proposed War Memorial Committee
This committee reported as under:-

1. That the proposed scheme for a Town Hall and club be abandoned on the grounds that it appears to lack sufficient support both moral & financial having regard to the fact that only 120 houses out of 620 had responded to the appeal.

2. That public notice of this should be given by way of printed bills

3. That this Committee be retained to act & proceed to obtain a sum of at least £1000 for the purpose of erecting a stone memorial to be placed on the Downs near the Doctors Pond or some other suitable suite.

4. That the public also be asked to subscribe towards a fund for the Club.

Proposed by F J Baldry seconded by W G Sell that the report of the Committee be seconded & adopted. Carried.


Gt Dunmow 7th July 1921
Reports of Committees – War Memorial Committee

Col J Gibbons Chairman of this Committee gave a brief resume of the proceeding of same and a statement of the finances.

Draft Programme of the unveiling by Lord Byng on the 17th inst was submitted and also of the general poster inviting the inhabitants to attend.

Proposed by A Dennis seconded by L G Savill and unanimously carried that the report be received and adopted.

The Clark was instructed to order a suitable laurel wreath in order that the Chairman may place same at the foot of the memorial on behalf of the inhabitants.


From Essex Chronicle, Friday 22 July 1921

Dunmow Memorial Unveiled by Bishop of Chelmsford and Lord Byng
On Sunday the two war memorials to the 84 Dunmow men who fell in the Great War were publicly unveiled in the presence of large gatherings. In the morning the marble tablet in church was unveiled and dedicated by the Bishop of Chelmsford and in the afternoon the public memorial, a stone column erected in High Street, upon the open space at the bottom of New Street was unveiled by General Lord Byng of Vimy who resided for some years at Newton Hall, Dunmow, before removing to Thorpe Hall, Thorpe-le-Soken. The tablet in church, which is of beautiful design, was provided by the relatives of the fallen soldiers, and the public memorial in High Street was provided at a cost of £760 by subscription in the parish. The subscription totalled £1,073 and it was arranged that the balance should go to the Dunmow Social Club which was founded as a war memorial to be of use to the young men of the parish. Col Tom Gibbons D.S.O was chairman of the Dunmow committee with Mr C.S. Suthery (of Barclays Bank) hon tres., and Mr L C Mackenzie hon sec. The public memorial is a handsome triangular Portland stone column upon a circular granite base and upon each side there is carved in relief a cross. Upon the front panel of the monument is inscribed: “Remember the men of this place who died for freedom and honour A.D. 1914-1918”. The names occupy the sides of the column. Mr. Basil Oliver was architect for the memorial. Union Jacks were flying a half-mast over Dunmow, and half muffled peals were rung upon the church bells.

The Church Memorial
The tablet in church which is placed in the south wall near the font is by Mr K Smith of Dunmow Monumental Works. There was a full congregation for the morning service, which was conducted by the Rev. W J House, vicar of Dunmow. The Rev John Evans, vicar of St Mary’s Colchester and formerly vicar of Dunmow, read the opening sentences of the burial service. The Rev B E F Mitchell M.C. curate of Dunmow served as Bishop’s chaplain. The first lesson from Wisdom 3 1-16 was read by Col Tom Gibbons D.S.O who commanded the 5th Essex in Egypt and the second lesson, St John 14 1-16 was read by the Rev R E F Mitchell. Psalms 15 and 121 were chantged. During the singing of the hymn “O valiant hearts” the Bishop and clergy proceeded to the south aisle where the Bishop released the Union Jack covering the tablet, and dedicated the tablet. The hymn “Soldiers who are Christ’s below” was sung during the return to the chancel and the Bishop ascended the pulpit.

The Bishop of Chelmsford said that service would live in their memories when other services were forgotten, because it touched their hearts and souls. The restless world needed re-assuring to-day that Christ was alive. No one who believed in God could be a pessimist, he must be an optimist. Men needed the proper perspective. He had been asked “What have we got out of the war?” and “Was it worth while?” From the point of view of pounds, shillings and pence it was all loss but no nation surely would plunge the world into a gigantic struggle for the sake of getting richer by commerce? All the trade of the world was not worth Dunmow men who had fallen, and there were millions fallen all over the world. We want to war for something higher then financial prosperity – for freedom, liberty, righteousness, justice – the things that counted. And now we had the victory the privilege purchased at so great a loss had to be properly used. Materialism was looming too large in the world. Had it been so in 1914 we should have lost the war. When in 1914 the Kitchener posters announced “Your King and country need you,” the men of Dunmow did not stop to ask if it would pay. The pay was only 1s a day, but the men left their homes without any thought of being paid. The same call was needed in peace as in war. Christ spoke today and said “I am alive; you cannot leave Me out without detriment to the world and yourselves”. The time was coming when Christian men and women would have to confess Him openly. For two thousand years men had been saying “Thy Kingdom come” but they never thought of communication between that prayer and public policy. The Christian would only have one kind of politics – that which would bring in the will of God. They should regard the ballot box with that idea alone. There was much talk in the world about death, but Christ had abolished death, the grave was a corridor into life. If we looked at death from the right point of view we could never be sorry for anyone who had passed beyond the grave. Of course, it was human nature to sorrow, but people should rejoice that their dear ones had gone to the region of growth and development. He believed in the communion of saints, and every Sunday morning when he went out on his work he could not help thinking that his late father was praying. “God bless John” as he did when he was a boy at home. When people got up beyond, they would almost laugh at how much they were worried about small things on earth.

Kipling’s Recessional was sung, and the service concluded with the National Anthem.

The tablet in church bears the following inscription, surrounded by a green laurel wreath, from which hangs a gilded Crusader’s sword, dividing the two columns of names of the fallen. “They whom this tablet commemorates, at the call of King and country left all that was dear to them to endure hardships and face dangers. And then passed out of the sight of men by the path of duty and self-sacrifice giving up their lives that others might life in freedom. Let those who come after see to it that their names be not forgotten.”

The public memorial
Lord and Lady Byng were the guests of Col and Mrs Tom Gibbons at Dunmow, and on walking up to the memorial the General was received by a guard of honour composed of local ex-Service men under Lieut A C Knight, Essex Regt. The 5th Essex Territorials under Lieut Hinton (Braintree) held a hollow square facing the monument and saluted General Bung who inspected both the ex-Service men and the Territorials. The General chatted with all the ex-soldiers, including one who had lost a leg. The children of the Sunday Schools were on the side opposite to the troops and the crowd gathered around. The Dunmow Town Band in Mr Floyd’s garden near the monument accompanied the singing of hymns. Among those present besides Gen and Lady Byng were the Countess of Warwick and the hon Mrs Maynard Greville, the Bishop of Chelmsford, the clergy and ministers, the committee and the Dunmow Parish Council. The service opened with the hymn “For all the Saints”. The Rev W J House, vicar, offered prayer, and the Rev W H Pace B.D (Chelmsford formerly Congregational pastor at Dunmow) read the Scriptures.

The Dunmow Record
Col J M Welch, T.D., D.L. on behalf of the people of Dunmow offered Gen. Lord Byng a hearty welcome to Dunmow and thanked him for his kindness in attending to unveil the memorial. Dumow people knew Lord Byng not only as a great soldier, but also as a former resident and they remembered him as a kind neighbour, for whom they had the greatest respect. (Hear, hear). Out of a population of 2,800 Dunmow contributed 600 men to the fighting forces of the country during the war, and of that number he was glad to say that 418 offered themselves during the early stages of the war, when men were most urgently need, and before any form of compulsory service was introduced. There were 84 Dunmow men who fell in the war. Their names on that monument would serve to remind future generations of the duty nobly done and the sacrifice made, that our people might live in peace and freedom. They would further remind people that they had a duty to perform by their lives and conduct to be worthy of the great sacrifice made. (Hear, hear).

General Lord Byng then released the Union Jack by which the monument was enshrouded. He said they had met to pay a last tribute to the 84 Dunmow men who gave their lives in the great war, and to ensure that those names should be handed down to future generations. He asked the people to remember what the tribute to the fallen should be. They paid lip service by prayers and hymns, but was there not something more to be done in the way of tribute to the men who gave their everything for the nation? Would not the men who had fallen expect that in the future those who remained should try to fulfil what the fallen in the past did so nobly? It was the greatest thing a moral man could do to give his life for his country, yet it was a simple thing to do for it was simply in answering the call of duty that the men lost their lives.

Great and simple
These 84 Dunmow boys did a very grand and a very simple thing, ought not those who had got through the 4½ years of war with their lives to try to carry through what those boys made the sacrifice for – to preserve and continue their country as a prosperous whole? They must not only pay respect to the dead. They must also fulfil the object to attain that for which the boys who had fallen gave up all the blessings of this life. The time was now to consider if the ambition of the boys who gave all to make this country happy and better for the war could not be realised. With those words he would leave the people to consider what was in front of each one to do now and in the future.

The hymn “O God, our help in ages past” was sung, and the Bishop of Chelmsford, having dedicated the memorial said there was a right and a wrong way to re-make England after the war. Those who had served in the war knew that England could not be put right with cannon and rifle, and did not want to see the horrors of war in France and Flanders brought home to the women and children of England. A better way was by service and sacrifice. The war was not won by dividing class from class, but by all classes working together. England must be rebuilt sanely and soundly to be made worthy of the comrades who had gone. The Bishops asked the boys as the passed the memorial to doff their caps to their fathers and brothers who had fallen. God had carried us through the war and He could bring us the peace to our native land, so that all the loss and sacrifice endured should not be in vein.

Col Gibbons read the deed conveying the memorial to the Dunmow Parish Council, and the Chairman, Mr J W Beard, accepted the memorial on behalf of the parish and hoped that peace would remain among all nationalities. Buglers sounded the “Last Post”. The Bishop of Chelmsford pronounced the Benediction, buglers sounded “Reveille” and the proceedings closed with the singing of the National Anthem.

Relatives then placed floral tributes on the monument. Lieut Lockwood, 5th Essex, in uniform, placed a laurel wreath tied with the Essex Regiment colours, black, blue and yellow from the 5th Essex Comrades’ Association; Mr W R Siggers placed a wreath from the Dunmow branch N.A.D.S.S and Mr A B Perry placed a floral tribute from the Dunmow Priory Lodge, R.A.O.B.


From Essex and Herts Observer

MEMORIAL TABLET.-A memorial service for the members of the congregation who fell in the War was held at the Dunmow Congregational Church on Sunday morning, when a memorial tablet, bearing the names of the men, was unveiled by the Pastor (the Rev. W.H. Pace). The tablet of green marble, has been erected by subscriptions from members. It bears the inscription: “In ever grateful remembrance of Fredierick Attridge, Alfred T. Caton, Walter V. Jakins, Ralph Milbank, Frank L. Pitts, Arthur T. Reed, William G. Saunders, H. Mackenzie Scarfe, Victor Spurgeon, A.Edgard Yeldham, John S. Wackrill, of this congregation, who yielded up life in the Great War, 1914-1918, for our sakes.” The Paster made felling allusion to the occasion, and the choir sang the anthem, “What are these?”. Kipling’s recessional was also sung.


War Memorial in Great Dunmow's church

Great Dunmow's War Memorial


You may also be interested in
– Memorial Tablet – I died in hell
– Memorial Tablet – I died of starvation
– Memorial Tablet – I died of wounds
– The Willett family of Great Dunmow
– Postcard from the Front – To my dear wife and sonny
– War and Remembrance – The Making of a War Memorial
– Great Dunmow’s Roll of Honour


School Trip Friday for the academically challenged
will return next Friday.

© Essex Voices Past 2012-2013.

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