Southport War Memorial

Southport War Memorial in London Square Memorial Gardens, Southport Merseyside. The design was the result of  a national competition judged by Sir Reginald Blomfield  of the Imperial War Graves Commission, who was also the  architect and designer of the Menin Gate, Ypres. Unveiled on 18 November 1923 by the Earl of Derby.

Sculptor Herbert Tyson Smith  (1883–1972) See also Accrington Memorial and the Liverpool Cenotaph. This is a complex memorial laid out as a central obelisk on which is carved; LOOK UPWARD STANDING MUTE. SALUTE the last two lines of Barry Pain’s Armistice Day poem (The Army of the Dead) There are  two large colonnades each containing a small chapel at each end. There are four circular pedestals which have carved figures and the names of the fallen. Wall panels are named for the battles they commemorate. To each side of the colonnades are memorial gardens with fountains. On the west face of the northern colonnade Britannia is shown holding a sword in one hand whist holding a small statue of winged victory. On the west face of the southern colonnade Britannia is mourning as she lays a wreath over a soldiers helmet. Full of literary and poetic references the various inscriptions read;

THEIR PORTION IS WITH THE ETERNAL by Laurence Binyon.

THEY DIED THAT WE MIGHT LIVE. WE LIVE ONLY AS WE SAFEGUARD THE IDEALS FOR WHICH THEY DIED. FREEDOM JUSTICE MERCY. SO LET US  LIVE THAT WE MAY SHARE WITH THEM THE LIFE ETERNAL  by Frederick Riley.

ON THE DECK OF FAME THEY DIED by Thomas Campbell’s Battle of the Baltic.

FAITHFUL TO HER WE FELL AND REST CONTENT adaptation of the  epitaph of Simonides on the Spartans who fell at Thermopylae

TO FAMOUS MEN ALL EARTHS IS SEPULCHRE translation by Thucydides in his book of the funeral oration spoken by Pericles about the Athenians who fell in the first year of the Peloponnesian War.

ALL THAT THEY HAD THEY GAVE by Rudyard Kipling from The Kings Pilgrim

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Christianity and the First World War

How was it possible for countries that were Christian to fight each other? – Some notes towards an answer to this question.

Violence, fighting, and warfare are, of course, completely alien to Christian teaching. Christianity has, at its core, the concept of love and therefore respect for every human being. See below for details.

The conduct of the First World War, therefore, in that millions of people in allegedly Christian countries set out to kill millions of people in other countries, was anti-Christian.

How was it possible for so many people to ignore the core tenets of their faith?

A pro-war mindset for the general populations in the belligerent countries was made possible partly by the new-found power of state-backed media and, partly, by Christian leaders (in Britain at least) misinterpreting Christian teaching and promoting a perversion of Christianity.

As in many wars, the propagandists working to promote the wars portrayed the enemy as evil and their own country as good and this had the implication that the war was a struggle between good and evil. In a very simplistic logical sense it was suggested that it was right for the good to destroy the evil (enemy). This was a popular justification for the war and it was easy for all sides to point to enemy actions of killing and destruction which could, with justification, be described as evil.

The English Poet Laureate (officially appointed state poet) Robert Bridges wrote a letter which appeared in The Times on 1 September 1914 in which he stated, “those who fight for them will fight for ‘the devil and all his works,’ and those who fight against them will be fighting in the holy cause of humanity and the law of love. If the advocacy of their bad principles and their diabolical conduct do not set the whole world against them, then the world is worse than I think. . . There was never anything in the world worthier of extermination and it is the plain duty of all civilised nations to unite to drive it back into its home and exterminate it there.” – Minds at War, P 51.

The following day Robert Bridges attended the inaugural meeting of the government’s secret war propaganda bureau. He was an enthusiastic member needing no encouragement to shout for war.

His poem, Wake Up, England, had been published in The Times on 8 August 1914. Here are three of the eight verses.

Thou careless, awake!
Thou peacemaker, fight!
Stand, England, for honour,
And God guard the Right!

Much suffering shall cleanse thee:
But thou through the flood
Shalt win to Salvation,
To Beauty through blood.

Up, careless, awake!

Ye peacemakers, Fight!
ENGLAND STAND FOR HONOUR.
GOD DEFEND THE RIGHT!

(Minds at War p38.There are more poems in a similar vein in Minds at War.)

 As an example of the perversion of Christian teaching here is the statement by Canon J H Skrine of Merton College Oxford, found in a pamphlet issued by the National Service League. “War is not murder. . .  War is sacrifice. The fighting and killing are not of the essence of it, but are the accidents, though the inseparable accidents; and even these, in the wide modern fields where a soldier rarely in his own sight sheds any blood on his own, where he lies on the battle sward not to inflict death but to endure it  -  even these are mainly purged of savagery and transfigured into devotion. War is not murder but sacrifice which is the soul of Christianity.” Out in the Dark, p136.

I’m not sure how many people would be convinced by this argument but there are reasons whole nations take up arms against other nations and the main factor is a sense of fear of the “enemy”. An expert witness on the subject of taking nations to war is Hermann Goering. This is what he said in 1946. “ The people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

(Quoted in Nuremberg Diary by Gustave Gilbert from a conversation Gilbert had with Hermann Goering in his cell at the Nuremberg War crimes trial 18 April 1946.)

How did the British people come to fear the German people in 1914? It was not an overnight conversion. In fact there had been many years of talk of the “German threat” in the media and in particular in The Daily Mail and The Observer newspapers. Some bestselling books about the German threat added to the wariness of ordinary people. Of course, for many years, this was just talk, but when Germany invaded a neutral country, Belgium, the threats began to look like a reality. Soon there were reports of German atrocities in Belgium, some true, some exaggerated, and some fictitious. Nevertheless an arm quickly spread and sympathy for Belgium was genuine. Soon Belgian refugees were arriving in Britain. (See Minds at War p52-53 and 216 for more details.)

If any more evidence was needed that Germany was a threat to Britain it was soon provided by the Germans themselves when, from the sea, they started bombarding East and West Hartlepool, Scarborough, and Southend. The destruction and casualties were fairly minimal, but the propaganda own goal from the German point of view was enormous. These raids were soon to be followed with Zeppelin and aeroplane bombing raids. The Germans had confirmed themselves as the enemy of Britain.

Once the war was declared the government brought in censorship, managed the media through its influence with key owners, and established a secret war propaganda bureau which a number of writers including the poets Robert Bridges, Rudyard Kipling and Thomas Hardy soon began to work for. (See Minds at War p54 and 58-67 for more details.)

Britain’s greatest military disaster, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, when 20,000 men were killed was announced to the world by The Times with the assessment of the battle as “complete success”.

When conscription was brought in it became harder for ordinary citizens to keep out of the army. They had to take a personal stand and become conscientious objectors. Three quarters of a million men applied for exemption from fighting and were brought before tribunals specially set up to test the authenticity of their consciences. These tribunals accepted only 16,500 men as conscientious objectors. The consequence for many of these was often severe. Thousands were imprisoned. Many were tortured and 71 died in prison. (Minds at War  p199 and Gerard de Groot, Blighty, British Society in the Era of the Great War. p155.)

David Roberts, 21 August 2013

Note: Christian teaching on war

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied,  ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”  Matthew Chapter 22, v36-40.

“I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Luke, Chapter 6, v27.

 

 

Clayton-le-Moors War Memorial

 

Clayton-le-Moors War Memorial is located in Mercer Park, Clayton-le-Moors, in Lancashire. Unveiled on 6 November 1920 by Major-General A. Solly-Flood.

Sculptor John Cassidy (1860 – 1939) born in Littlewood, Slane, Co. Meath, Ireland. The allegorical female figure  of ‘Victory’ seems to be showing the soldier the way.

Clapton-le-Moors War Memorial

Clayton-le-Moors War Memorial

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Haslingden, Oswaldtwistle, Clitheroe & Rawtenstall War Memorials

Haslingden War Memorial in Greenfield Memorial Gardens, Haslingden, in Lancashire. Unveiled in 1924.

The Oswaldtwistle War  Memorial is on Rhyddings Street, Oswaldtwistle, in Lancashire.  Victory  is shown standing on a globe with a  soldier defending a wounded comrade.  There are two bronze figures seated on the ships which project from the pedestal. These figures represent the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.  Unveiled on 14 January 1922 by Major General H Shoubridge.

Clitheroe War Memorial located within the grounds of Clitheroe Castle, in Lancashire. Unveiled in 1923. 

The Rawtenstall War Memorial in Rawtenstall, Lancashire. Stands in St Marys Church Memorial Gardens, St Marys Way. It features a obelisk with bronze reliefs beneath. These show various figures including  soldiers, sailors, airmen, a farmer, a miner, a nurse, a fisherman, a medical orderly, a railwayman, a labourer and a mother with child.

Sculptor of all four memorials is  Louis Frederick Roslyn, born Louis Frederick Roselieb, (1878-1934) son of George Louis Roselieb, a German sculptor. During his military service he changed his name to Roslyn.

Haslingden War Memorial

Haslingden War Memorial

Haslingden War Memorial

Haslingden War Memorial

 

Haslingden War Memorial

Haslingden War Memorial

Oswaldtwistle War Memorial

Oswaldtwistle War Memorial

Oswaldtwistle War Memorial

Oswaldtwistle War Memorial

Oswaldtwistle War Memorial

Oswaldtwistle War Memorial

Clitheroe War Memorial

Clitheroe War Memorial

Clitheroe War Memorial

Clitheroe War Memorial

Clitheroe War Memorial

Clitheroe War Memorial

 

Rawtenstall War Memorial

Rawtenstall War Memorial

Rawtenstall War Memorial

Rawtenstall War Memorial

Rawtenstall War Memorial

Rawtenstall War Memorial

Rawtenstall War Memorial

Rawtenstall War Memorial

Rawtenstall War Memorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Accrington War Memorial

The Accrington  War Memorial is in the town of Accrington, Lancashire, UK. It is situated within Oak Hill Park near the Hollins Lane entrance. Built as memorial to those who fell in the First World War, it was unveiled by H. H. Bolton on the first of July 1922. The memorial is a Grade II listed structure, designed by Sir Charles Reilly. It shows the figure of ‘Grief’ holding a wreath and palm leaf.

Sculpture:  George Herbert Tyson Smith (1883–1972), was born in Liverpool. (see also the Liverpool War Memorial, and the Southport War Memorial)

Accrington is  known for the loss of the “Accrington Pals” on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916, 235 of the battalion were killed, and a further 350 wounded, 17 of them fatally, all within 30 minuets. One of the battalion’s signallers, observing from the rear, reported:

“We were able to see our comrades move forward in an attempt to cross No Man’s Land, only to be mown down like meadow grass. I felt sick at the sight of the carnage and remember weeping.
'Grief' Accrington War Memorial

‘Grief’ Accrington War Memorial

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Exchange Newsroom War Memorial Liverpool

The Exchange Newsroom War Memorial, in the city of Liverpool
The monument was originally unveiled by the 17th Earl of Derby on 1st January 1924 at Derby House, Liverpool. It was moved in 1953 when the original Exchange building was rebuilt.
Sculptor Joseph Philips
PRO PATRIA
1914 – 1919 In remembrance of members of the Liverpool exchange
newsroom, who gave their lives for right and freedom.
Britannia stands  wearing a breastplate and helmet, covered by a  cloak and holding a trident, and sheltering a small girl. Below are depicted three soldiers, a sailor, and a nurse who tends to one of the soldiers.
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© Marguerite Rami

© Marguerite Rami

 

The Cenotaph Liverpool

The Cenotaph stands outside St Georges Hall on Lime Street in the city of Liverpool.
The Cenotaph on St George’s Plateau is unusual for a war memorial, its long low shape was designed to harmoniously fit the backdrop of St George’s Hall.
Designed by architect Lionel Budden.
Sculptor Herbert Tyson Smith (1883–1972) born in Liverpool, (see also Accrington War Memorial)
It was unveiled on the 11th November 1930, and consists of a simple horizontal block with two bronze reliefs each measuring over 31 feet. On one side those who have come to mourn the dead, whilst on the other the men of the Army, Navy, and the Royal Flying Corps marching off to fight. The inscription reads “To the men of Liverpool who fell in the Great War, and the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people”.
Mourning those who have died

Mourning those who have died

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© Marguerite Rami

© Marguerite Rami

Liverpool Hero’s Memorial to Victoria Cross recipients

Located in Liverpool’s Chavasse Park,  Abercromby Square, in the city of Liverpool.  Unveiled in 2008 to commemorate Noel Chavasse and fifteen other Victoria Cross recipients.

Sculptor Tom Murphy

The statue depicts Chavasse and a stretcher-bearer from the Liverpool Scottish Battalion rescuing a wounded soldier. Born in 1884, Noel and his twin brother, Christopher, sons of the Bishop of Liverpool grew up with a profound sense of duty to others. Noel qualified as a doctor in 1912. He became a Captain in the territorial army and was awarded the VC twice during the First World War (known as ‘the VC and Bar’) for extraordinary actions in rescuing and treating wounded soldiers on the battlefield, at great risk to his own life. He was also awarded a Military Cross. His second VC was awarded posthumously. Captain Chavasse died on 4 August 1917, at the age of 32, and is buried at Brandhoek New Military Cemetery in Belgium.

Captain Chavasse  is quoted as saying “I do not intend to run any risk at all, unnecessarily; my blood is not heroic.”

 

Captain Noel Chavasse helping the wounded

Captain Noel Chavasse helping the wounded

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