The War Memorial

Title

The War Memorial

Subject

Photographs L - R

1. The War Memorial shortly after completion

2 - 4. The War Memorial

5, 6. Unveiling the Memorial Plaque to the fallen of WWII, 1972 From the Stroud News & Journal, Thursday November 16, 1972

7, 8 The War Memorial

Description

The war memorial in the form of a fountain and water supply was presented to the village and unveiled by Earl Beauchamp, Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire.

The memorial was set up in late 1917 or early 1918, initially as a private memorial to Mabel Dearmer and her son, Christopher, both casualties of the First World War.

Mabel Dearmer (1872-1915), born Jessie Mabel Pritchard, was a playwright, novelist and illustrator. During the War, Mabel, whose husband was then the chaplain to the British Red Cross Ambulance unit in Serbia, volunteered for the Serbian Relief Fund as a nursing orderly. She contracted enteric fever, and died at Kragujevatz on 11 July 1915.

Christopher, their son, was a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserves. Educated at Charterhouse and Christ Church, Oxford, Christopher was a linguist who had travelled in Germany, Russia and France, to study their languages.

At the outbreak of war, Christopher returned home from France to enlist. His valuable language skills lead to his quick promotion, and he could have spent the war in a staff job, away from the front lines; instead, he chose to join troops ashore at Sulva Bay, in Gallipoli, where a stray shell landed in his tent ten days into his campaign.

He was taken aboard the hospital ship HMS Gloucester, but died of his wounds on 6 October 1915. The structure was erected by Mabel’s husband and Christopher’s father, Rev Dr Percy Dearmer (1867-1936), priest, liturgist and historian of Christian worship, who is best known for his work The Parson’s Handbook (1899, editions to 1931), which advocated a return to the native English tradition in liturgy and ceremonial.

Dearmer was also largely responsible for editing the English Hymnal in 1906, on which he worked with composers such as Ralph Vaughan-Williams, and which resulted in a revolution in congregational singing. Percy and Mabel’s elder son, Geoffrey (1893-1996) was a celebrated poet, and was one of the last of the First World War poets to survive.

The memorial was commissioned by Dearmer from another Oakridge resident, Alfred Hoare Powell (1865-1960), architect, designer and painter of pottery, who was a significant figure in the Cotswolds Arts and Crafts movement. In an act which combined commemoration and philanthropy, Dearmer endowed the memorial, which incorporated a drinking fountain to provide a reliable source of clean drinking water for the village; it was pumped, at his expense, to the top of the settlement from the valley below, and fed by gravity into the fountain and troughs of the memorial.

The work was carried out by men of the village, using locally-quarried stone.

The site chosen was on a green at the village centre, just opposite the house in which the Dearmers lived; they had taken it over from Powell, who had previously restored it.

The memorial was dedicated in late 1917, some months before the end of the First World War, and was formally opened by Lord Beauchamp, Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, and college friend of Mabel and Percy Dearmer.

At the ceremony of dedication, the roll of honour of all the Fallen from the war was passed around; it was resolved to include them on the memorial, and so, after the end of the conflict, a plaque was added to commemorate all the men of the village who had lost their lives. After 1945, another plaque was added in remembrance of the Fallen of the Second World War.

Details of those whose lives are commemorated can be found as part of the War Memorial Exhibit

Source

Oakridge History Group

Files

The War Memorial shortly after completion
War Memorial
War Memorial
War Memorial, from  a 1938 Postcard
Unveiling the Memorial Plaque to the fallen of WWII, 1972 From the Stroud News & Journal, Thursday November 16, 1972
Unveiling the Memorial Plaque to the fallen of WWII, 1972 From the Stroud News & Journal, Thursday November 16, 1972
War Memorial
War Memorial

Collection

Citation

“The War Memorial,” Oakridge Archives, accessed March 5, 2021, https://oakridgearchives.omeka.net/items/show/60.

Output Formats

Geolocation