“All Together Now” – Christmas Truce 1914

 

“All Together Now” a memorial by sculptor Andy Edwards erected in 2014 to commemorate a  handshake between an English and German soldier ahead of the Christmas truce on the Western Front in 1914. The  Christmas truce is used to describe a series of unofficial cessations of hostilities that occurred along the Western Front during Christmas 1914. Heavy fighting had been taking place for several months before German and allied soldiers stepped out of their trenches, shook hands and agreed an unofficial truce so that they could bury thier dead. The soldiers then began  to talk with one another, exchange gifts, sing Christmas carols and to play football. A Captain John Lew described the football match in a letter sent to his wife. Captain Lew is quoted as saying the truce was “nothing other than extraordinary”. Men who were now fraternising had been trying to kill each other the day before.

The sculpture is in temporary residence at Liverpool Cathedral, and before that was displayed at the bombed out church of St Lukes In Liverpool.

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Macclesfield War Memorial

Macclesfield War Memorial is located in Park Green, Macclesfield, Cheshire, It was unveiled in 1921. Sculptor John Millard. The design proved extremely controversial at the time, but was finally adopted. Britannia can be seen laying a crown of laurels on the body of a soldier who has died from gassing. The fallen soldier is still clutching his gas mask which he was unable to put on before being overcome. At the top of the memorial stands a female figure mourning the loss of the soldier, she represents those left behind. She losely clutches a fold of her clothing as if to wipe away the tears. The memorial has been listed by English Heritage as one of the ten most memorable War Memorials in England.

To the front of the memorial has been placed a post to symbolise those men who were shot at dawn. It stands the exact distance away from the memorial as the men who were lined up to shoot their colleague. These  were the ‘Pals Regiments’ and so would have known each other well. The post will remain in place until November 2019. All 306 men who were shot at dawn were exonerated in 2006.

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The Royal Artillery Memorial

 

The Royal Artillery Memorial is located at Hyde Park Corner in central London.  The memorial measures 13m by 6m by 9m and is made of Portland stone. There is a replica Howitzer gun which sits imposingly of the top of the memorial. There are four bronze figures which are placed on each side of the memorial: a driver to the west, an artillery captain to the east, a shell carrier to the south, and a covered dead soldier to the north. Carved stone panels show  detailed military scenes from the First World War. Although these have suffered from deterioration it is still possible to see the effects on man and horse as they endeavour to move in the quagmire of the Western Front. The sculptor was Charles Sargeant Jagger, awarded the MC . Born in 1885 in Kilnhurst, Yorkshire. Jagger wanted  his work to realistically portray the uniforms and conditions of WW1. This was not universally popular at the time. The main inscription reads  ’In proud remembrance of the forty-nine thousand and seveny-six of all ranks of the Royal Regiment of Artillery who gave their lives for King and country in the Great War 1914—1919.

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Maxwelltown War Memorial

Maxwelltown War Memorial, Dumfries, Dumfries & Galloway, located at the junction of Rotchell Road, and New Abbey Road, Dumfries. Unveiled June 4th 1922. Sculptor Henry Price born in 1872 in Wrexham, Denbighshire. The memorial was commissioned by The burgh of Maxwelltown  at a cost of £700.  The base of the memorial is an obelisk of grey granite, on which is stands  the highly unusual figure of a King’s Own Scottish Borderer, with outstretched arms. The imagery mirrors that of Christ suffering on the cross for the redemption of mankind. 

A postcard from the unveiling of the memorial

A postcard from the unveiling of the memorial

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Stalybridge Tipperary Man Memorial

This unusual memorial features Jack Judge sitting on a granite rock, studying the ‘Tipperary’ songsheet, whilst a First World War soldier leans over his shoulder and plays the song on his mouth organ. It is sited outside the newly renovated Stalybridge Town Hall, just a few hundred yards away from what was once the Grand Theatre. The statue was unveiled on December 16th 2005. Jack was appearing at the Grand Theatre, Stalybridge, near Manchester. One night, after a performance, a fellow artiste bet Jack he couldn’t write and perform a new song within 24 hours. The song was was allegedly written for a 5 shilling bet  on 30th January 1912 and performed the next night at the local music hall. Judge’s parents were Irish, and his grandparents came from Tipperary. It became popular among soldiers in the First World War and is remembered as a song of that war. The Irish regiment the Connaught Rangers were witnessed singing this song as they marched through Boulogne on 13 August 1914 in the 1st World War by the Daily Mail correspondent George Curnock. This was then reported in that newspaper on 18 August 1914 and the songs popularity started to grow.

In November 1914 it was recorded by the well-known tenor John McCormack, which helped contribute to its worldwide popularity. 

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Stalybridge War Memorial

Stalybridge War Memorial, Tameside  is located on the north side  of Trinity Street where  it meets Market Street. Sculpted by F.B. Blundstone  a native of Stalybridge and unveiled November 6, 1921.

The memorial takes the form of a bridgehead, in the shape of eclipse, over the river tame at the entrance to Trinity Street. It comprises two pedestals, each 10ft high either side of Trinity Street. Each pedestal bears an 8ft high bronze figures.The original memorial measures 110ft from wing to wing. The wing walls are 5ft high and terminate at secondary pedestals topped by lions crouching. The names are carved on polished granite, and the base of a memorial is finished with a border of fluorite spar.

The pedestal bears the town coat of arms, in stone and, written on it is: 1914 1918. Jutland, Zeebrugge. The Falkland Isles. The inscription: Remember the love of them who came not home from the war. See you to it that they shall not have died in vain.

On the other side of Trinity Street is the army pedestal, topped by an angel ministering to a dying soldier. It too bears the coat of arms with 1914 1918, with Marne, Ypres, &  Somme. The inscription: All you who pass by remember with gratitude the men of Stalybridge who died for you.

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Ashton War Memorial

Ashton War Memorial is located in the memorial Gardens between Old Street, Crickets Lane and Mossley Road In Ashton-under-Lyne. The architect was Percy Howard ARIBA who was born in Ashton. The sculptor was J Ashton Floyd.  General Sir Ian Hamilton unveiled the memorial on Saturday, 16 September 1922. The memorial  is 35ft high and built from 50 tons of Portland stone. The crowning group comprising a wounded soldier figure and the winged figure of peace, is made of bronze and weighs two tons. The soldier, wounded and exhausted, holds a spray of laurels in his bandaged left hand. The winged figure of peace supports him, taking the sword of honour, which he holds.  The soldier, having received the laurels of everlasting gratitude, hands over his sword, the symbol of justice, which the winged figure takes into her keeping. Around the base, the RAF is represented by a propeller and steering wheel, the Royal Navy by ropes and an anchor, and the army by trench mortars, riffles, swords, steel helmets and gas masks. There are two lions, one either side of the central column, each weighing two tons. They are on bases 6ft high and typify the British Empire. One is in combat with the serpent of evil, while the other has crushed the serpent and is triumphant.

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Hall of Memory Birmingham

Birmingham War Memorial in Centenary Sq, Birmingham, West Midlands. Birmingham’s Hall of Memory was erected between 1922 to 1925 to commemorate the 12,320 Birmingham citizens who died in the Great War, with a further 35,000 who returned with a disability. The Hall, made from Portland Stone was opened by Prince Arthur of Connaught on July 4, 1925 at a cost of £60,000, which was raised entirely by public subscription. It contains  a roll of honour of WWI & WWII. Designed by S.N. Cooke and W.N.Twist, it was erected by John Barnsley and Son. The four allegorical figures on the outside are described as either Navigation, Astronomy, Flight, and Peace, or Army, Navy, Air Corps, and Women’s services. They were sculptured by Albert Toft 1862 – 1949. (See Thorton-Clevelys, Chadderton, & Oldham War Memorials). 

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Oldham WWI War Memorial

The Oldham War Memorial is outside St Mary’s Church, Church Street, in the town of Oldham in Greater Manchester ( Historically part of Lancashire)  opposite the Town Hall. It is unusual in that it depicts a group of soldiers in the trenches going over the top. Mounted on a  square pedestal with panelled doors leading to the books of remembrance. The memorial was unveiled by General Sir Ian Hamilton and dedicated by the Bishop of Manchester 28th April 1923. The sculptor was Albert Toft (1869 – 1949) (See Thorton-Clevleys and Chatterton War Memorials) took four years to complete the sculpture.

The memorial is a tribute to all the men from Oldham who lost their lives in WW1. Commissioned in 1919 by the Oldham War Memorial Committee who wanted a fitting tribute to all those who died fighting the war to end all wars. The stone base was created from Granite with the centrepiece and the doors beneath being created from bronze.
In 2013 the memorial underwent extensive restoration.

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