The original War Memorial consisted of a plaque of light grey granite, inscribed with the names of the 19 WW1 fallen from the Garstang and Bonds district.
It was designed by Messrs. George C. Rushfirth Ltd. of St. Annes, and was sited over the entrance to the Market House in the town, and was unveiled on Sunday 18th January 1925 by Septimus Pye, JP.
Paul Smith’s book, Garstang’s Great War Heroes, describes the ceremony:
“In attendance were members of the War Memorial committee, members of Garstang British Legion, members of the local lodges of the Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes, Garstang Girl Guides, and members of the 5th Battalion Kings Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment, Garstang. The ceremony ended with the hymn, “Oh God our help in ages past”. Buglers sounded the Last Post and a verse of the National Anthem was sung, after which the Reveille was sounded, and the salute given”.
The Market House
After the end of WW2, the Garstang British Legion led calls for a memorial to the fallen of that conflict, and eventually the site of the current War Memorial was chosen.
The original WW1 granite plaque was moved from the Market House to the new site, on land owned by the Oddfellows who had their hall nearby. The land was gifted to the people of Garstang by the Adelaide and Castle Lodges of the Oddfellows in May 1987, and a small plaque to that effect was placed on the memorial.
The WW2 plaque was added to the memorial alongside that of WW1, and both remain there today. The current War Memorial consists of two light grey granite plaques, containing the names of the fallen of each war, and has been improved several times since.
Those named on the WW1 plaque on the memorial are:
Thomas Houghton Armstrong
Private 22258. 8th Battalion King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment
Thomas was called up in March 1916 and sent to the Western Front in February 1917.
He was killed in action at the Battle of Arras on 30th April 1917. He was 35.
Thomas is one of the many who have no known grave. He is remembered on the Arras Memorial, in Artois, France.
Private 1704 later 31687. 3rd Cheshire Yeomanry. Later 8th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment (The Prince of Wales Volunteers)
Wilson enlisted in the Cheshire Yeomanry on 31st May 1915 and was sent to the Western Front in December 1915. He was later transferred to the 8th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment in June 1916.
He was killed in action at the 3rd Battle of Ypres on 3rd August 17. He was 24.
Wilson has no known grave but is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres.
John Bayman Coward
Private 555547 16th Battalion, The London Regiment. Later No. 36 and No. 59 Squadrons, The Royal Flying Corps
John was conscripted to the London Regiment some time prior to August 1917, and then on 23rd August 1917 he joined the Royal Flying Corps No. 36 Training Squadron. He was later transferred to No 59 Squadron in France.
On 26th March 1918, John was posted as missing, and when his body was later recovered he was buried at St. Pierre Cemetery near Amiens.
He was 19.
Private 48963. 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers
Edward was already in the Royal Welch Fusiliers when war broke out in 1914. He was assigned to guard duties at the temporary prisoner of war camp at Caton, near Lancaster.
In May 1915 his battalion moved to Litherland near Liverpool, where Edward died of a heart attack while still serving.
He is buried at St. Thomas’s Church, Garstang.
He was 33.
Gunner 126553. G Battery, 5th Brigade, Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery
John enlisted at Garstang in late 1915, and joined the Royal Horse Artillery, serving in France as a gunner from 1916 until he died following the Battle of Albert on 26th August 1918.
He is buried at St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France.
He was 43.
Private 30062. The King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment
Thomas enlisted in 1915 and was sent to the Western Front in late 1916.
He was killed in action near Arras on 22nd March 1918. He was 26.
Thomas is one of the many who have no known grave. He is remembered on the Arras Memorial, in Artois, France.
Private 7201 later 203432. 10th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.
Richard enlisted on October 31st 1916 at Garstang, and was sent to the Western Front in March 1917.
He was killed in action at the Battle of Arleux, part of the Battles of Arras, on 28th April 1917.
He is buried at the Canadian Cemetery No. 2 at Neuville St. Vaast.
He was 21.
Driver T3/030229. 273rd Railway Operating Company, Army Service Corps, The Royal Engineers
Charles enlisted in December 1914 and was sent to the Western Front in September 1915. On November 9th 1915 he was sent to Salonika, in the Mediterranean, where he worked on the railway moving men, munitions and wounded to and from the front.
Charles developed broncho-pneumonia and was sent to the 2nd/1st Northumberland Field Hospital where he died on 19th November 1918.
He is buried at Mikra British Cemetery near Kalamaria.
He was 25.
Private 27756. 8th Battalion The King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment
James enlisted at Garstang on 9th December 1915, initially in the Army Veterinary Corps, and then transferred to the 8th Battalion The King’s Own.
He was sent to the Western Front on July 26th 1916.
He was killed in action during the Battle of Arras on 12th May 1917.
James is one of the many who have no known grave. He is remembered on the Arras Memorial, in Artois, France.
He was 24.
Thomas Patrick Longworth
Sapper 66057. 106th Field Company, The Royal Engineers
Thomas enlisted on 26th January 1915 and was sent to the Western Front on 26th September 1915.
He spent two periods of home leave in 1916 and 1917, before returning to the Western Front in June 1917.
He was killed in action on 9th April 1918 in the River Lys Valley near to Bethune. He was 22.
Thomas is one of the many who have no known grave. He is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial near Zonnebeke.
Albert Edward Mather
Private 23550. 8th Battalion The King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment
Albert enlisted in Manchester in 1916 and was probably sent to the Western Front in late 1916 or early 1917.
He was killed in action during the first Battle of Arras on 28th March 1918. He was 30.
Albert is one of the many who have no known grave. He is remembered on the Arras Memorial in Artois, France.
Private 2321. 1st/5th Battalion The King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment
Arthur enlisted at Lancaster on 9th September 1914 and was sent to the Western Front on February 11th 1915.
He was killed in action at the second Battle of Ypres on 23rd April 1915. He was 20.
Arthur is one of the many who have no known grave. He is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres.
Noel Trevor Worthington
Lieutenant. The King’s Royal Rifle Corps later attached to The 6th Battalion The King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment.
Noel volunteered for war service in August 1914 and was commissioned on September 15th 1914.
On June 13th 1915 Noel arrived in the Mediterranean, where the battalion were involved in the Gallipoli Campaign.
He was killed in action on August 8th 1915. He was 31.
He is buried at Embarkation Pier Cemetery, near Chailak Dere, Turkey.
Gunner 112947. 241st Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery
James enlisted at Garstang in 1915, and probably arrived in France in January 1917.
He was wounded during the Battle of Passchendaele and died of his wounds at the 1st Canadian General Hospital, Etaples on 12th October 1917. He was 32.
He is buried at the Etaples Military Cemetery near Boulogne.
Private 18534, later Temporary 2nd Lieutenant. The Kings Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment and 1st Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry.
Colin originally enlisted in the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment and was later transferred to the 1st Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry.
He was commissioned as Temporary 2nd Lieutenant on 1st May 1918.
He was wounded during the Battle of Cambrai and died of his wounds at the IX Corps Main Dressing Station at Vadencourt. He was 23.
He is buried at Vadencourt British Cemetery, near Maissemy.
Colin’s father was Septimus Pye, JP who unveiled the Garstang WW1 Memorial which bore his son’s name in January 1925.
Gunner 160935. 119th Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery
Richard joined the Royal Garrison Artillery on 11th May 1917 and was later sent to the Western Front.
He was wounded during the Battle of Passchendaele on 28th October 1917 and died of his wounds the following day at the No. 3 Casualty Clearing Station. He was 34.
He is buried at Nine Elms British Cemetery, near Poperinghe.
George W. Ronson MM
Lance Corporal 14401. 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards
George enlisted at Garstang on December 21st 1914 at Garstang Town Hall.
He was sent to the Western Front, probably late in 1915.
He was killed in action at the Second Battle of Arras on 27th August 1918. He was 22.
He is buried at Croisilles British Cemetery, near Arras.
During his war service George was awarded the Military Medal for Bravery in the Field.
William Thomas MM
Private 43367. Later 2nd Lieutenant. 10th Battalion The Essex Regiment, later 2nd Battalion East Lancashire Regiment. Attached to the 1st/5th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment.
William enlisted in November 1915 and joined the 10th Battalion The Essex Regiment. Some time during 1917 he moved to the 2nd Battalion East Lancashire Regiment.
He returned to England in early 1918 and served with the 3rd Training Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment at Saltburn.
On 25th June 1918 William was posted back to France, and was attached to the 5th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment and involved in the latter stages of the war.
Like many soldiers at that time he contracted influenza, and died of pneumonia on 7th November 1918. He was 27.
He is buried at Caudry British Cemetery, Picardy.
Richard Hall Ward
Sergeant 200984. 4th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
Richard enlisted at Preston on 9th November 1914 and was sent to the Western Front on 23rd December 1916.
He was killed in action in the Battle of Pilckem Ridge on 31st July 1917. He was 26. Richard is one of the many who have no known grave.
He is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres.
Garstang Fallen who are not named on the Garstang War Memorial
There are a number of men who fell in the Great War who are not named on the War Memorial. One is named below:
John Pedder Kelsall
Private 241037. 2nd/5th Battalion Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
John was born in Garstang on 23rd March 1890, the son of Joseph and Jane Kelsall.
He married Ruth Brooks in 1916, and the couple lived at Brook Lodge, Scorton.
John was wounded in action in late March 1917, and died of his wounds on 3rd April 1917. He was 28.
He is buried at Estaires Communal Cemetery, France.
John is remembered on the War Memorial at St. Mark’s Church, Dolphinholme.
William Trevor Barnes
Sergeant 1077966. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
William was born in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, on 6th April 1921, the son of William Henry and Frances Helen Barnes (nee Isles). William was a heavy motor driver.
William had a sister, Winifred. In 1939 the family were living at Overpool Road in Ellesmere Port where William was a general clerk.
The family later moved to Fern Villa, Bowgreave, and William was employed by a firm of corn millers in Lancaster.
William was one of three flight crew of a Sunderland Mk III aircraft DV974 KG-G piloted by Flight Lieutenant Mayberry of the Royal Australian Air Force.
The aircraft had departed Bathurst (Banjul) Gambia on 1st October 1943, en route to Port Etienne but was recalled due to bad weather. The aircraft crashed on approach while attempting to land at Bathurst.
All three crew, including William were killed. He was 22.
William has no known grave, and is remembered on the Malta Memorial, near Valetta, Malta.
Able Seaman P/JX630325. Royal Navy
Norman was born in Garstang in 1925, the 5th son of Fred and Annie Cookson. He was the brother of Richard (Dick) Cookson, who is also named on the memorial.
There were 9 children in the Cookson family, 7 boys and 2 girls. The family lived at 2, Kepple Lane Garstang.
2 brothers served in the Royal Navy where both lost their lives, 2 in the Army and one of the sisters served in the ATS.
Norman joined the Navy in 1943, and was due for demobilisation on the weekend following his death.
On 6th November 1946 Norman was working on a cutter from a naval trawler, HMT Lundy off Deal in Kent.
The men were clearing wreckage of the sunken Belgian Steamer, Flandres, when an explosion occurred, killing four men and seriously injuring two others.
Norman was one of the four men who were killed and who have no known grave but the sea. He was 21.
He is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.
Private 3861305. 2nd Battalion West Yorkshire (Prince of Wales Own) Regiment.
Lionel was born in Settle in 1913, the son of William Edward and Rebecca Lund.
He married Dorothy Crompton in Garstang in 1940. The couple had one daughter and lived at Market Place, Garstang. Lionel was employed at the local creamery prior to joining up.
Lionel died on 26th May 1943. He was 29.
He is buried at Ranchi War Cemetery, India.
An inscription on his grave reads:
“TOO DEARLY LOVED TO EVER BE FORGOTTEN. DEVOTED WIFE DOROTHY AND BABY KATHLEEN”
A memorial service for Lionel was held at the Methodist Church in Garstang on Thursday June 24th.
Thomas Hornby Billington
Sergeant 1044838. 214 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Thomas was born in Garstang in 1922, the son of Leonard and Alice Kelsall Billington (nee Richardson).
He attended St. Thomas’s School, Garstang and was the goalkeeper for the school football team in the Whitsuntide Shield competition. He was also a member of St. Thomas’s church choir.
Prior to joining up he was employed by W. H. Singleton, Pork Butchers on High Street, Garstang.
On the night of 12th September 1944 Thomas and the crew of a Boeing Flying Fortress Mark III bomber aircraft were returning from a bombing mission over Frankfurt. They were last heard of around midnight on 12th September when they transmitted a radio message to say they were returning.
The plane is presumed to have gone down in the English Channel and all 10 crew members on board were lost.
Thomas was 22.
He is remembered on the Runnymede (Air Force) Memorial.
Denis Ronald Dagger
Rifleman 3393238. 1st Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps.
Denis was born in February 1920, the second child of Harry and Ethel Dagger of Woodview, Bowgreave. He was born in Chapel-en-le-Frith in Derbyshire where his mother was visiting her sister at the time.
There were 7 children altogether in the Dagger family, 6 boys and 1 girl.
Denis attended St. Thomas’s School, Garstang, and before joining the army in November 1940, was employed by the Manchester United Cooperative Laundries, and later by Mr. A. Robinson, a farmer of Bowgreave, Garstang.
On 30th April 1943 the battalion was engaged on the front line near Djebel Kournine in Tunisia when Denis was killed. He was 23.
He was originally buried at Bou Arada Military Cemetery, Tunisia, and later re-buried at Medjez-El-Bab War Cemetery, Tunisia.
An inscription on his headstone reads:
HE DIED THAT WE MIGHT LIVE. TOO DEARLY LOVED TO BE FORGOTTEN
Gunner 1156612. 145 (The Berkshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment Royal Artillery
Thomas was born in Garstang in July 1923, the elder son of Alan and Florence May Salisbury.
There were 2 children in the Salisbury family, both boys.
The family lived at Bonds Cottage on Bonds Lane, Garstang, and owned a butcher’s shop on Bridge Street.
Thomas was a scholar of St. Thomas’s School, Garstang, and before joining up in June 1942, was employed at a Garstang branch of the Preston Industrial Co-operative Society.
He was a member of the Loyal Adelaide Lodge of Odd Fellows and well known locally as a member of the Garstang Silver Band and Astoria Dance Band.
Thomas joined the army in June 1942 and served with the Royal Artillery (Berkshire Yeomanry).
On the outbreak of World War II the Berkshire Yeomanry were deployed on airfield defence until July 1940.
They were then sent to Northern Ireland on garrison duties where they enjoyed uninterrupted training, before returning to England in July 1943. The Regiment was then posted to India, in February 1945.
Thomas was taken to hospital in Delhi with acute appendicitis, where he developed peritonitis from which he died on 14th June 1945.
He was 21.
Thomas is buried in Delhi War Cemetery, India.
An inscription on his gravestone reads:
IN LOVING MEMORY OF THE DEAREST SON AND BROTHER IN ALL THE WORLD
Second Radio Officer Merchant Navy. SS Corabella
Benjamin was born in 1920 in Garstang, the son of Herbert and Agnes Ethel Cartmell.
Herbert was a draper and the family shop and home was in Market Place, Garstang.
There were 4 children altogether in the Cartmell family, 2 boys and 2 girls.
Benjamin attended St. Thomas’s School, and then Lancaster Royal Grammar School.
He joined the Merchant Service in January 1940.
On 30th April 1943, the SS Corabella was part of a convoy of 18 ships en route from Takoradi to Freetown, South Africa.
As the convoy was about 130 miles south west of Freetown four of the ships, including the Corabella were hit by torpedos fired from a German U Boat U515, and sunk.
9 of the Corabella’s crew died in the attack, including Benjamin. He was 22.
Benjamin has no known grave but the sea, and is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
He is also remembered on a stained glass window in the United Reformed Church in Garstang.
First Radio Officer. Merchant Navy. SS Tremoda
John was born in 1921 at Garstang, the son of John Francis and Mary Gertrude Green.
John had one sibling, a sister Ellen. The family lived at Loyola, By Pass Road, Garstang.
At 02.05 hours on 27 Aug 1941, John was serving on the SS Tremoda, which was travelling from London to Duala via the River Tyne, with a general cargo and war stores. Tremoda was travelling in in convoy OS-4.
Tremoda was torpedoed by German U Boat U-557 off the west coast of Ireland, west of Achill Island, County Mayo.
The master, 25 crew members and six gunners were lost, including John. He was 20.
20 crew members and one gunner were picked up by FFL Chevreuil, a French Naval minesweeper, and landed at Kingston, Jamaica.
John has no known grave but the sea and is remembered with his comrades on the Tower Hill Memorial.
Sergeant PO/X115872. 601 L.C.M Flotilla Royal Marines
Ernest was born on 5th November 1909 in Barrow in Furness, the son of James William Spence & Edith Mary Spence (nee Howcroft.)
Ernest had 5 Sisters & 3 brothers. He attended St Georges Church of England Infant school in Barrow.
He married Mary Gorst in 1934 at St. Thomas’s church, Garstang. Mary was a teacher at the local school.
Ernest and Mary moved to Churchtown in 1937, and had a son, Duncan.
Prior to joining up Ernest was a gamekeeper on the Bleasdale estate.
Ernest volunteered in 1941 and joined the Royal Marines spending time training in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) for intended service in the Far East.
He then served with 601 LCM Flotilla, which in 1944 was part of the build-up for D Day.
on June 5th, the eve of D-Day, 601 LCM Flotilla, accompanied by their sister craft of the 600 and 604 Flotillas and the Mk3 LCMs of 650, 651 and 652 Flotillas, weighed anchor and departed from Itchenor, loaded with a variety of supplies for the D Day beaches, including transport vehicles for beach parties, command trucks for the assault tanks, ammunition trailers pulled by jeeps and crated ammunition to replenish supplies used during the initial assault.
Despite unfavourable sea and weather conditions, they landed on Juno Beach in the late evening of D Day. Initially they came under fire and bombing but managed to successfully unload their cargoes.
601 LCM Flotilla was later ordered back to England, weighing anchor at 0430 hours on the morning of July 21st 1944.
A total of 15 craft formed the convoy led by LCM 1059. Severe gales in the channel caused havoc with crews being seasick and craft damaged.
Valiant efforts were made to return to the Normandy beaches but at 21.30 hours on the evening of July 21st 1944, LCM 1059 became overwhelmed, sank and 32 men, including Ernest lost their lives. He was 35.
Ernest has no known grave but the sea and is remembered with his comrades on the Portsmouth Memorial.
Lance Bombardier 950831. 95 Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Artillery
Harry was born on 10th August 1919 in Garstang, the son of Thomas Cook, a locomotive driver, and his wife Isabella (nee Foster). Harry had 2 sisters Elsie & Mary. and the family lived at Wheatfield, Bowgreave, Garstang.
He attended St. Thomas’s School. Garstang. In March 1940, before joining the army he was employed by Mr. I. Storey, poultry farmer of Garstang.
He was also a member of the Garstang Institute.
Harry died during the Western Desert Campaign. He was originally reported missing in July 1942, and officially declared as dead on 14th November 1942, his body was never found. He was 23.
Neville Proctor Bryning Green
Flight Sergeant 1079710. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Neville was born in 1922 in Garstang, the son of Robert P. Green and Jane H. Green (nee Proctor). The family lived at Park Hill, Garstang.
Neville attended St. Thomas’s School, Garstang, and Lancaster Royal Grammar School.
Before joining up he was serving his apprenticeship with his father and uncle Messrs. Green Brothers, painters and decorators.
On the night of the 9th May 1944, 6 Wellington bombers from 40 Squadron were on a mission to attack a glider bomb factory at Portes-les-Valences in France.
However, thick cloud in the area obscured the view of the target, and the Wellington Neville was flying in crashed into the mountains near Valences some time in the early hours of 10th May. It is believed the pilot was attempting to get under the cloud for a better view of the target..
All five crew were killed, including Neville. He was 21.
Neville and the crew are buried at Mazargues War Cemetery, Marseilles, France.
*Note: Neville’s entry on the CWGC website shows Bayning which is incorrect. Bryning is the correct spelling.
George Pollitt Taylor
First Radio Officer. Merchant Navy. MV Corbis
George was born in Bury 1910 the son of George Edgar Taylor & Mary Anne (nee Pollitt). In 1911 they were living in Starkey Street, Heywood.
He had a brother Norman and a sister Lucy .
By 1939 the family had moved to Sunnyside, Moss Lane in Garstang where his father was a gasworks manager.
George attended St. Thomas’s School, Garstang, and the Lancaster Royal Grammar School.
He was also a boxer and keen hockey player. Prior to joining up he was employed by the firm John Mackintosh and Sons, Ltd.
In the early hours of 18th April 1943 the Corbis was en route from Abadan to Bandar Abbas when it was hit by two torpedoes from U Boat U-180 about 500 miles east-southeast of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The ship was set on fire and sank. 50 crew were lost, including George. He was 32.
George has no known grave but the sea, and is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial in London.
Able Seaman D/JX 153141. Royal Navy. HMS Repulse
Richard (Dick) was born in Garstang in 1921, the 3rd son of Fred and Annie Cookson. He was the brother of Norman Cookson, who is also named on the memorial.
2 brothers served in the Royal Navy where both lost their lives, 2 in the Army and one of his sisters served in the ATS.
On the evening of 8 December, Force Z departed Singapore for an attempt to destroy Japanese troop convoys and protect the army’s seaward flanks from Japanese landings in their rear.
Force Z was spotted during the afternoon of 9 December by a Japanese submarine, and float planes from several Japanese cruisers shadowed them until dark.
The crew of a Japanese submarine spotted Force Z at 02:20 on 10th December, reported their position, and fired five torpedoes, all of which missed. Based on this report the Japanese launched 11 reconnaissance aircraft before dawn to locate Force Z. Several hours later 86 Japanese bombers from the 22nd Air Flotilla based in Saigon were launched carrying bombs or torpedoes.
Repulse was hit by a 250kg bomb dropped from an altitude of 11,500 feet (3,505 m). The bomb penetrated through the hangar to explode on the armoured deck below, inflicting a number of casualties.
Repulse was then hit by four or five torpedoes in rapid succession.
The gunners on the Repulse shot down two planes and heavily damaged eight more, but the torpedo damage proved fatal.
At 12:23, Repulse listed severely to port and quickly capsized with the loss of 508 officers and men, including Richard. He was 20.
Richard has no known grave but the sea, and is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.
James Alfred Woods
Private 14573624. 7th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment
Born 1925 in Prescot, Merseyside, the son of James Woods & Margaret (nee Brown) who were married in Garstang in 1924 .
In 1939 the family lived at Byerworth Cottage on Byerworth Lane, and James’ father was a poultryman.
James died on 8th August 1944. Age 19
He is buried at Banneville-la-Campagne War Cemetery, Calvados, France
An inscription on his headstone reads:
GREATER LOVE HAVE NO PARENTS THAN US. GOD KNOWS BEST