Website of the Laceby History Group

Laceby War Memorial (1919 - 1920)

Each year when the standards are dipped at the Laceby War Memorial and the martial tones of the bugle sound across the cemetery on Remembrance Day, do we give a second thought to the monument itself: who said it should be there; who gave the money for it; when was it erected and who designed it; who unveiled it and how much did it cost?

The answers to those questions are found in Parish Council Minute books which tell us that a public meeting was held in Laceby on Thursday evening January 2nd, 1919 to discuss the question of a memorial.

TTW. D. Field, Esq. occupied the Chair and the Chairman opened the meeting by referring to the heavy loss the Parish had sustained, in the loss of over 20 young men. He believed it was the desire of every Parishioner that their great sacrifice should never be erased from our memories and that we should in some form or another set up a memorial in our midst ever to remind us of their unselfishness and devotion to duty.

The Chairman asked for suggestions with regard to a memorial. The main idea seemed to be that of a monument to be set up in a prominent part of the village. The question then arose as to where the site should be.

Several sites were suggested such as the churchyard, The Square, the Cemetery and the spring, Grimsby Road. A discussion arose with reference to the churchyard and The Square. Very few parishioners seemed to be in favour of the churchyard and by some it was thought that a monument in The Square would be likely to cause an obstruction to traffic. In the endit was proposed and seconded that the site should be at the spring near the Beck bridge. It was put to the meeting and carried unanimously.

A further resolution was proposed that the Parish Council should ask for designs and estimates and these should be submitted to the next Parish Meeting. This was agreed".

The next public meeting called by the Parish Council was on February 19th, 1919 in the Temperance Hall.

"Two monumental designs were submitted to the meeting; the first in crucifix form by Mr. Tuttell of Lincoln at a cost of about £100. The second an obelisk in grey, red or black granite at a cost of £195. These designs were handed round for approval and on the motion of Mr. Townsend seconded by Mr. Saunderson it was unanimously agreed to accept the first design by Mr. Tuttell; subject to the council obtaining a definite estimate as to the cost and erection.

At the public meeting of January 2nd the site agreed to was at the spring near the Beck bridge; but on the council's recommendation the proposer and seconder were asked to withdraw their motion as the council did not advise a monument to be built on that site on account of the difficulty of dealing with the spring.

The resolution was withdrawn.

The council were of the opinion that a plot of land near the Odd fellows' Hall would be more suitable, providing the landlord Mr. H. Torr would give a portion to the parish for that purpose.

This was carried unanimously.

The question was asked as to how the money should be raised.Mr. Twidale proposed and Mr. Milligan seconded that it shouldbe raised by public subscription.

An amendment to this was proposed by Mr. Townsend seconded by Mr. Blow that the collection should be taken up in the boxes as had previously been done for the Red Cross work. Mr. Cammack proposed and Mr. Norminton seconded that the ladies who had collected for the Red Cross during the war should be invited to take round the boxes."

The next public meeting to discuss the War Memorial scheme was held in the Temperance Hall on Tuesday April 2nd, 1919 when Squire Field again took the Chair. However, between meetings, a Mr. J.R. Smith, a resident in the parish, had sent 25 guineas as his donation towards the scheme and also had ventured his opinion as to how it should proceed.

He appeared before the sub-committee to say, "They had not decided on a large enough scheme for the memorial to the Laceby boys fallen in the war. They should raise £1000 and he would guarantee to raise £600 himself by subscriptions, concerts, whist drives etc. and Laceby raise the rest. He had received an estimate for the memorial HE has in mind."

So, the meeting had to digest that and this was how it went.

"With reference to the scheme suggested by Mr. J.R. Smith, the Chairman explained the attitude of the Parish in the matter. The council took it for granted that the Parishioners would not wish for outside assistance and that they considered it was entirely a matter for Parishioners.

The action of the Council was endorsed on the motion of Mr. H. Curtis, seconded by Mr. Townsend and carried unanimously. Designs and estimates from Mr. Tuttell of Lincoln were submitted to the meeting. The actual cost of the monument, carting, erection and lettering as far as could be ascertained would be £172.

The figure of a woman and child on the base of the monument were considered unnecessary as it would make a difference to the cost of another £20 which would reduce the amount to £152. Mr. Drury moved and Mr. W. Silvester seconded that it should be omitted.

This was put to the meeting and carried unanimously.

A further proposal was made by Mr. Allison seconded by Mr. Curtis that the matter should depend upon the amount of money raised and if sufficient money was raised we should have the monument complete with figures both back and front.

This was also carried.

A letter was read from Mr. H. J. Torr Esq. of Morton Hall, Swinderby signifying his approval of the monument and presenting the Parish with a portion of land near the Oddfellows' Hall as a site for the memorial. Mr. Dossor moved and Mr. Curtis seconded that a hearty vote of thanks should be passed to Mr. Torr for his generous gift.

This was passed unanimously."

That meeting appeared to deliver a smack in the eye for Mr. J. R. Smith but snatching Mr. H. J. Torr's hand off for his generosity. But things were not settled satisfactorily yet. The next public meeting in the Temperance Hall showed there was discontent among the locals about the site chosen by the council.

"W. D. Field, Esq. occupied the chair. The Chairman explained the object of the meeting stating that he was dissatisfied with the site chosen for the monument - the Oddfellows' Hall site

- and that he had been given to understand there was a general desire to reconsider the question of the site.

Mr. Norminton protested against the monument being placed in the cemetery. Mr. J. Windley proposed The Square and Mr. Hill seconded the motion. Mr. Field pointed out that the Rural District Council and the Police would object to that so no vote was taken."

At this point in the meeting we have the sensible, logical view of a lady in the shape of Mrs. H. W. Knight who "appealed to the meeting very strongly in favour of the site in the cemetery."

You can imagine the exasperation in the voice of Mr. Townsend when according to the minute book he proposed a vote being taken of the

whole village! This was agreed.

Then the vexed question of how many sites should be polled.

"Mr. Norminton moved a resolution that only two sites should be polled. Viz: The Square and the Oddfellows' Hall. Mr. J. Windley seconded the resolution.

Mr. Knight moved an amendment that three sites should be polled. Viz: The Square, The Oddfellows' Hall and The Cemetery. This was seconded by Mr. Blow.

On a show of hands the resolution was defeated by 17 votes to 14 and the amendment was carried."

Eventually polling took place on Tuesday, 13th April 1920 in the Temperance Hall. The Cemetery site was chosen, the final cost being £196 - lIs - Od complete with thirty names.

The unveiling ceremony took place on September 20th, 1920 and was performed by Mr. Tom Daubney, an ex-serviceman who had lost an arm in the war.

So ended the saga of the site and the rest is 70 years of history.

by Brenda Anderson