Newly discovered names of WW1 and WW2 soldiers unveiled during Warwick's war memorial centenary ceremony
They had been discovered by the research team from Unlocking Warwick, the Town Council volunteer group, who have been finding the human stories behind all the names on the memorial
Newly discovered names of soldiers who died during the two world wars were added to Warwick s war memorial during a ceremony marking the memorial's centenary.
The ceremony, which took place on Saturday (July 10) took place at the memorial in Church Street exactly 100 years to the day since the structure was first unveiled following the 'Great War' on July 10 1921.
And exactly seventy years ago, additional plaques were installed with the names of those who had died in the Second World War.
To mark the centenary of the memorial, two new bronze plates were dedicated by the Mayor of Warwick, Cllr Richard Edgington, with the names of 14 Warwick men who for various reasons were missing from the original plaques.
They had been discovered by the research team from Unlocking Warwick, the Town Council volunteer group, who have been finding the human stories behind all the names on the memorial.
The ceremony was attended by relatives of some of those commemorated on the new plaques, and it brought together some members of the same family who had never met before.
Unlocking Warwick's research leader, Christine Shaw, said: “During the final stages of WW1, Charles Ward from 56 West Street had been killed at the age of just nineteen, but his name was missing from the memorial.
"His niece, Barbara Bayliss, alerted us to Charles's military service and death in 1918, following our appeal for information.
"Barbara was one of the special guests at the ceremony, as was her sister Pat Martin, and their second cousin, Susan Ward, whom they had never met before.
"With Pat's grandchildren, Zaylie and Thomas, and Mavis Ward, Susan's mother, it was a moving family occasion”.
Barbara Bayliss said: “To see our uncle's name on the memorial after all these years was so important; we are extremely grateful to the research team and the council.
"Without your help Charles's sacrifice might have been forgotten”.
Her sister Pat Martin added: “I just wanted to say a big thank you to the volunteers for organising the War Memorial ceremony, and to say how much we enjoyed it.
"It’s great to see Uncle Charles’s name on the War Memorial. And it was lovely to meet Susan Ward and her mother. We are going to keep in touch now."
Belinda Leaver's uncle, Len Sleep from Wathen Road, had fought in France during the Second World War, and died of his wounds at Dunkirk in 1940 at the age of twenty.
She read out a summary of his life and service.
Also present at the ceremony were Greville and Michael Warwick, whose uncle Ralph Jordan from Hanworth Road had been killed in the Second World War.
He had joined the navy and was working at a training centre on the south coast when it was strafed by a German fighter and Ralph was killed instantly.
Greville Warwick said: “It is marvellous to have our uncle recognised on the memorial. I remember him very well. He would take me for rides on the crossbar of his Raleigh bike.
"Later that bicycle was bequeathed to me and I rode it for many years”.
The researchers, Christine Shaw, Tricia Scott and Helen Fellows, read out summaries of the lives of the four names from the First World War and the ten names from the Second World War that are on the newly installed plaques.
The Mayor, Richard Edgington, said: “Finding all these personal stories has been a remarkable project, coming to its conclusion on the centenary of the memorial.
"I'd like to thank all those members of the public who responded to the appeal for information, and the research team for their efforts over the past three and as half years."
Rick Thompson, secretary of Unlocking Warwick, said: “All credit for this fantastic project goes to research leader, Christine Shaw, who initiated the project , and with her colleagues Tricia Scott and Helen Fellows spent many thousands of hours studying military websites, consulting records, and contacting relatives of the Fallen.
"It was Christine's energy, enthusiasm and staying power in getting this project up and running and continuing it over three years that found the missing names and the personal details, and brought the families together for this lovely occasion.
"The new plaques incorporate some names that had been added piecemeal on small plaques over the years, and we have corrected one or two errors.
"There are now more than 480 names of service people from the relatively small county town of Warwick remembered on our memorial, and the personal stories of each one of them can be found on our special website, as a permanent resource for schools, historians and local families."
The ceremony ended with the mayor laying a wreath commemorating the fourteen Warwick men who are newly remembered on the memorial. The wreath carried the simple legend, 'Not
For more information go to: www.warwickwarmemorial.org.uk
The newly discovered Warwick 'Fallen' now remembered on the war memorial
Names of soldiers from the First World War
Arthur Henry Gunn was a farm labourer living with his parents at Hawkes Cottages in Heathcote, Warwick. At the outbreak of war at the age of 19, Arthur Gunn signed up - rather appropriately - for the Rifle Brigade. He served in France but was discharged in 1917 because of ill health – according to the official papers “aggravated by the strain of active service”. He died shortly after the Armistice and is buried in Warwick Cemetery.
Algernon William Percy was the only son of Lord Percy of Guy's Cliffe House, the younger brother of the Duke of Northumberland. Algernon, known as 'Bobby', died in the Battle of Jutland
when his ship, the battlecruiser Queen Mary, blew up, killing nearly all the thirteen hundred crew on board. Lord Percy had unveiled the memorial exactly 100 years ago. His son's name was not on the plaques – probably because he has a memorial at Milverton Cemetery near Guy's Cliffe. But the Percy family said they will be very pleased to have Algernon's name on the main Warwick memorial.
Charles William Ward was born in Wasperton and was living there with his five brothers and sisters in 1911. By the outbreak of the war, the family were living at 56 West Street, Warwick. Charles died in battle on April 10 1918, during the final stages of World War One. He was just 19 when he was killed.
John Woodfield lived at 9 North Rock, Saltisford, before getting married and moving to Kenilworth. He worked as a grocery warehouseman. He joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and while serving in France rose through the ranks to become Company Sergeant Major. He died in 1919 from war-related injuries and is buried in Kenilworth cemetery.
Names of soldiers from the Second World War
Walter Aston lived in Beauchamp Avenue in Warwick and was a member of All Saints Church in Emscote. He died of his wounds in an Italian prisoner of war camp in 1944 at the age of 25.
Douglas Burton lived at 68 Emscote Road. He joined the RAF as a volunteer in 1941. He was killed during a night bombing operation in June 1944, aged 21.
Jack Colbourne was born in Warwick in 1908. He was brought up at 46 Coten End and went to Warwick School. He was a captain in the Royal Engineers and was killed during the Dunkirk
evacuation in 1940.
Fred Constable from bowling Green Street also went to Warwick School, but at the age of 15 emigrated to New Zealand with a group of other boys. He fought with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Middle East, and was killed at Tobruk in Libya.
Alfred Green lived at Cliffe Hill in Warwick. He loved aeroplanes, got his pilot's licence, and even built his own plane for flying practice. When war was declared Alfred joined the Air Transport Auxiliary after the RAF had rejected him because of poor eyesight. He was killed in a flying accident while ferrying military aircraft in 1941.
Percy Hirons. Janet Arthurton, a family friend, provided Unlocking Warwick with the information about him. Percy, known as 'Mick', was born in Longbridge and later lived in Sherbourne. He was one of five children. He enlisted in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in 1940, then transferred to the Wiltshire Regiment. Mick was killed in NW Europe in 1944.
Augustus Jennings was a career soldier with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, living at Budbrooke Barracks. In 1940, he was the Company Sergeant Major of a unit of the Warwicks who were holding back the German advance to allow thousands of troops to be evacuated from Dunkirk. When they ran out of ammunition they surrendered. But instead of being taken prisoner, about 100 men were herded into a barn by the S.S. and murdered in the notorious Wormhoudt Massacre. A survivor later told how CSM Jennings had thrown himself on to the first grenade to be lobbed into the barn in a vain attempt to protect his men.
Ralph Jordan from 66 Hanworth Road was the son of a coal miner - one of 13 children. Ralph worked at the Lockheed factory in Leamington before volunteering for the Navy. He was working in Brighton at a naval training establishment when a German fighter strafed the building, and Ralph was killed instantly.
Len Sleep was the sixth of nine children and the family lived at 32 Wathen Road on the Packmores Estate. His parents both worked at Hatton Asylum. Len was a factory worker but was also in the Territorials for four years before joining the Royal Warwickshire Regiment at the outbreak of the war. He fought in France but died of his wounds at Dunkirk in May 1940 at the age of 20.
Jack Smart and his wife Jessie lived in Victoria Street. He served as a Corporal in the Army Pay Corps, and was captured in Hong Kong on Christmas Day 1941. He died in a Japanese prisoner of war camp seven weeks later.