Burscough St John The Baptist.
The East Window of St John the Baptist Church, Burscough.
Close up view of the East Window the ‘original’ village War Wemorial.
Photogragh courtesey of St Johns Church & David Orritt.
In order to fully express the intentions and ideology that preceded the concept of this The ‘original’ Lathom & Burscough village War Memorial, no finer words are available than those of the Rev Travers Stoney. The Rev Vicar of this church during the period of
The Great War.
St John The Baptist Church Burscough.
” What form should the memorial take”
Rev Travers Stoney’s letter to the Council.
Christopher Chavasse learner curate wrote….
‘The Bishops Address’
Extracts above are taken from the publication ” The Memorial East Window”
By kind permission of the author David Orritt.
The names above are listed in accordance with the alabaster stone memorial as displayed with in the church. As such are done so in a ‘relative’ order of death, in the obvious sequences of out of date order one has to accept human error in the memorial transcription of the stone in the years following the Great War, these errors are referred to in the dedication reference stated above.
Prior to 1999 the Regiments appropriate to the men were not known, with the war memorial showing names without regiments, as it still is today. On behalf of the church research was undertaken to rectify this for David Orritt the author of this publication by local military historian Richard Houghton
Robert Walmsley believed to be a driver of the National Motor Volunteers. This was a home based transport service created to assist the movement of wounded soldiers around the country. Counties had a designated reginonal HQ and an area of operation, so for example Lancashire would have had such an HQ covering its South West area.
♦ Insert NMV badge
A newspaper report 1917 cited that “Mr Walmsley of Hoscar was invloved in a rather tragic accident in a motor vehicle whilst travelling to Rufford, he is well known in the area in particular around Burscough, Rufford & Croston for his work with assisting local Red Cross with the wounded soldiers ”
The parish magazine of St Johns November 1918 cites “Robert Walmsley of Hoscar has been killed” nothing more than that.
Hoscar is a hamlet adjacent to Lathom still exists today built around a station halt, pub and a mission church.
This is a perfect example of the sort of work the National Motor Volunteers would have become involved in. I would add that significant research has been done to try and create another identity for Robert Walmsley without any confirmed definition, given that, it is reasonable to assume the man above is the man commemorated on the church memorial. Not a casualty of a foreign land nor subject of an air raid over England nonetheless he devoted his spare time on war effort when at that time a motor vehicle was rare and such an accident was still an accident however uncommon…
No lawyers4you in our lives then.
For a full espanded resume of the casualties from this memorial please refer to the page related to The Lathom & Burscough War Memorial.
The lower portion of the East Window is shown below.
Clearly showing the military & nursing figures so well appropriated to local people, This is surely conviction that the intentions of the window would reflect the village for eternity as a war memorial, The Rev Travers Stoney is rightly worthy of that acclaim.
It is also true to say that whoever ‘researched’ those who served or died in the early post war years prior to the window being completed, did so in a way worthy of the greatest credit, as all those figures can be shown to represent men or women of the village as the verification below will show. Also we must not forget the work of the Russian glass artist Gustav Hiller then residing in Liverpool. He is well known for other examples of his excellent work in particular on behalf Liverpool Cathedral.
Research today is more akin to internet and media exploration or the good old reference book, the latter apart in 1919 non of that was possible. However the insight, imagination, perception of the persona who concluded the fact finding cannot be denied he/she was truly in tandem with Rev Stoney in the ideology that, what they were to create was to be an everlasting testimony to the bravery & patriotism of the men and women of Lathom & Burscough. It truly is the village war memorial.
The opinions cited below belong to the author of this aspect of the website. The heriatge society or its managing committee have had no input into said opinions.
We are concentrating on the centre three panels of the window.
First image is that of an Army Padre. Some years before the war the Bishop of Liverpool’s son Christopher Chavasse (brother of the future ‘Double VC’ termed VC & Bar, Capt Noel Chavasse RAMC attd Liverpool Scottish) was a ‘learner curate’ at
St John’s Church. He was ordained at St Bride’s Church, Catherine St, Liverpool on 20th February 1910 by his father, The Rev Bishop of Liverpool. Taking his first curacy in 1910 at The parish church of St Mary in St. Helens. There he remained until the autumn of 1913 when he became chaplian to his father until he enlisted on August 5th 1914 along with his brother Noel.
From early 1915 St John The Baptist Church had a curate named Arthur George Ozanne he attempted to enlist in 1916 in the Territorial Force but was denied by the Bishop ( Parish magazine 11/1915) However in 1917 the patriotic, if not persistent Rev Ozanne was granted said approval subsequently a commission. He served in Palestine (parish magazines April / Oct 1917) and Egypt attached to the 12th Norfolk’s (parish magazine July 18) Later 9th Sufolk Regt France / Flanders.
Advertiser 04/1917 incorrect edit, as he went abroad not to YMCA but to Army Chaplains Department serving in Palestine.
During his service he was wounded as the report below shows.
The window can be said to represent both men, however does not charity begin at home ?
To deny Ozanne the connection to the window would indeed be charitable to Chavasse, given his very close employment connection to St Johns, his war record, he severely being wounded the author has no doubts who the image represents.
No denying Chavasse’s war record being Military Cross winner himself, was nothing but courageous. Add to the fact he was but one member of the most highly decorated families of The Geat War.
Noel VC & Bar, MC, MID. Brother Bernard MC & Bar. Brother Christopher MC non of whom are ‘fighting’ men, indeed we are discussing two doctors and a padre, only the youngest Aiden, who was also killed, was from a fighting unit 11th(Pioneer) Bn Kings Regiment.
Creditable accaim indeed, however i rather think Rev Stoney himself would have had much to say in aportioning suggestions or names in which to create the images we can see today. Given the chance to add his weight to opinion for which he was not shy in expressing, he would have had a chance to redress the balance as it were. The letter below confirms a suspicion that he may have done so.
Second image is that of a Scottish soldier, or a man from a Scottish Bn… the diced glengarry he wears is the head dress of the 10th Bn Kings Regt ( Liverpool Scottish)
Two possibles Fred Mcleod 29.6.17 & William Ashcroft 21.9.17.
The third image of a ranking soldier has many likely personalities far too numerous to mention.
In the middle pane we have nurses tending wounded soldiers.. Miss Laing sister of Capt Norman Preston Laing RAMC who himself died in 1919, was Queen Alexandria’s nurse in France. Whilst Miss Wells sister of Norman Lancaster Wells casualty of Gallipoli himself with no grave, served with the Red Cross also in France.
Wounded servicemen we have numerous men from Burscough one could cite Henry Rockliffe Stoker Rh who suffered for two years before succumbing in 1918, or James Whelan Liverpool Road who lost a leg serving in the Coldstream Guards amongst many others.
Pane three first image is that of a ‘flyer’ only one personality James H Stringfellow former choir boy at St Johns pilot RAF perfect fit. Then the second image is that of an Anzac soldier, St Johns parish magazine 06/1917 quotes “Mr James Taylor of Moss Lane, Lathom hs been informed that his son Pte John Taylor 16th Battn, Australian Imperial Forces has now been assumed killed in action whilst serving at Gallipoli, he was reported missing in April 1915”
The third ‘older’ image is Royal Navy Stoker cap tally says HMS Lion. At The Battle of Jutland HMS Lion was Admiral Beaties flagship, on board was Stoker Henry Rockliffe who was subsequently seriously wounded, he was to die in December 1918 having never regained full recovery from the effects of his service. He is not commemorated by Commonwealth War Graves as it is assumed that his parents never informed the authorities, then Imperial War Graves of his demise. As by that time he was discharged from service, they without due notification he would therefore die as a civilian. He is buried in the St Johns RC Churchyard, Chapel Lane, Burscough.
Lastly the boy sailor.. HMS Chester says his cap tally, Cornwell VC is his name. Once was the time when he was the iconic image for all boys to aspire to be. The RC catholic Churchyard at Parbold has a Cornwell military grave of their own local casualty , it is believed they are related, and it is also understood that the VC winners grandmother was indeed a ‘boatee’ working the Leeds-Liverpool canal.
It is with some pride that our heritage society is in the position to present such an epitaph to brave men. To be able to do so in the form of a village memorial that can be attributed in such a manner to link given names to images adds to the heritage of the district we aim to promote. Such eulogy is not in any way detriment to men who cant be appropriated as in the same way as all men cant be heroes. The intention of Messrs Stoney Hillier in conjunction with the parishoners was with considerable pride to create a lasting testimony to the men of the village, they have certainly achieved that. Almost ninety years has passed since its inception, one can hope that someone will be saying one hundred & ninety one day.