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Preparing to "hop the bags" outside Beaumont Hamel. 1st Battalion, Lancashire Fusliers. 1-Jul-1916 In Aug. 1914 on the outbreak of war, along with the rest of Britain, Marple sent its young men to serve King and Country. During the next four to five years around eight hundred took up arms. Many of them would return with horrific injuries, one hundred and forty-one were destined never to return. Following the war it was decided to raise money by public subscription to honour the memory of these men. After considering various options the committee, comprising of local councillors and dignitaries, decided that the best option would be a memorial park complete with a carved cenotaph. The Carver and Barlow families, who owned land in the centre of Marple, donated a large part of this and offered the remainder at a nominal price. The grounds were laid out with tennis courts and a bowling green for the citizens of Marple to use. The memorial itself was carved from grey marble and the names of the fallen etched in gold. Following the Second World War the memorial was enlarged to allow another fifty names to be added.

Today, except for the tennis courts which are no longer used, the park is well maintained. The bowling green is still a much-used facility with probably the finest views in Marple. The memorial cenotaph still looks toward the cross at Cobden Edge and is the focal point of the Remembrance Sunday services each year, ensuring that the collective sacrifice of lives made in two World Wars are honoured and remembered.

British stretcher bearers near Bossinghe, 1 Aug 1917 It seems inevitable though, with the passing of so many years, that the individual detail of the lives and deeds of these brave young men have gradually faded from memory. As relatives die or move away and the survivors of those times are diminished by age, there are few left who can remember first hand who these men were. There is a very real danger, in towns and villages across the country, that the inscriptions on many war memorials will become only a list of names, forgotten people with histories lost in the past. Thanks to the special bravery of one dead man and the curiosity, dedication and determination of three living, this danger has been averted for the fallen of Marple.

The Victoria Cross In July 1996 three local firemen noticed that John S. Collings-Wells had the letters V.C. D.S.O. after his name on the memorial. This signified that he had won the Victoria Cross, the highest possible award for bravery in battle and the Distinguished Service Order. Curious to know how these awards had been earned they embarked upon an investigation, without realising where it would lead. Their initial curiosity satisfied, they started to search for details about some of the other names on the memorial. On discovering that it was possible to trace these men's stories if enough effort was applied, it soon developed into a consuming passion, occupying most of their spare time. This quest for knowledge lead to trips as far and wide as Chester, London and the battle fields of France, as well as uncountable hours in local record offices.

Their success was such that they traced the details of each and every man commemorated on the Marple War Memorial, who fell during the First World War. This is despite the one hundred and forty-first being added on 22 May 1999, only weeks before their printer's deadline. The names have now become "their men" and they talk of them as old friends and comrades. Their devotion to the task has culminated in the publication of the book REMEMBERED commemorating the lives of these Marple men and released on Armistice Day November 1999, to ensure they are now never truly forgotten.

Having spent four long years researching their first book, the authors could have been forgiven for resting on their laurels. However, Jon and Peter were unable to shake off the feeling that the job wouldn't be finished until they had paid similar tribute to the men of Marple who fell during the Second World War. Fittingly, on 10 July 2005 - National Commemoration Day - the pair released their new book, World War II Remembered. This chronicles the lives and untimely deaths of these 50 men, and ensures that they will be remembered too.

The tables below list all the dead commemorated on the Marple War Memorial. Clicking on John S. Collings-Wells' in the WWI table will show you an extract from the first book. 

The books are available from local quality bookstores and also through our own on-line Bookstore. If you are not local and do not want to buy on-line, you can purchase a copies by mail order. Please contact Peter Clarke  using our contact us page.

For additional information on John S. Collings-Wells and other winners of the Victoria Cross visit the Victoria Cross Reference, part of the Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

ADSHEAD Herbert

Marple War Memorial

MYCOCK Edward
ALLEN Frank NEALE Oswald
ARCHER John NORBURY Allan
ARDERN Joseph ORFORD Charles R.H.
ASHTON Robert PHILLIPS Benjamin
ATKINSON Fred PHILLIPS George
AUSTIN Leonard PICKFORD Fred
AUSTIN William PICKFORD Raymond

BAGSHAWE Geoffrey

FOWLER Edward PLATT Horace
BARLOW Harold C. FROST Harry PLATT Samuel
BARNES William GARDINER Fred PLATT Thomas
BARTON Colin GODDARD William PROCTER Stanley
BATES Carlos B. GREAVES Norman RHODES Arthur
BELL Joseph GREENHAIGH Ernest SMITH Bertram
BENNETT Ernest GREENWOOD Wilfred SPEAKMAN Richard
BENNETT Josiah HAUGE Joseph SPEAKMAN Robert E.
BROCKLEHURST G. Bowden HALL Dennis STOTT Wm. Arthur
BROCKLEHURST Sidney J. HALLAM John W SYLVESTER Harry
BROOM Alan HALLWORTH Herbert TAYLOR G. Frederick
BROWN John HAMPSON John TAYLOR Granville
BUDENBERG Donald H. HARDY Jack TAYLOR William K.
BURRELL Joseph HARGREAVES Frank TEFFT John
BURTON Harold HARTLEY Bernard H. THELWALL Frederick
BRADWELL Frank HAYES Arthur THELWALL Samuel
BYROM Clarance HAYES John W. TOMLINSON Arthur M.
CARVER Basil HOLLAND Joseph TOTTERDELL David
CARVER Oswald HOOLE Arthur TRUST Ernest H.
CHANEY Wm. Herbert HOPWOOD Fred TRUST Ernest H.
COOKE Harold HOPWOOD Walter RIDGWAY Stanley
COOPER Harold HOWARD J. Leslie RILEY Fred
COOPER William ISHERWOOD F.E. Bradshawe ROBINSON Leonard
CRESSWELL A. Gordon INGHAM Charles H. SHARPLES J. Everatt
DAWSON Frank T. JACK J. Edward SHARPLES Norman
DEAN William JOHNSON Cyril B. SINCLAIR Kenneth
DIXON Robert C. KERSHAW James SLATER Charles E.
DUDDY Joseph LEIGH William WALTER Raymond
DUXBURY James LLOYD Fred WARBURTON Stanley
DUXBURY William MACKERETH Egbert WARD William E.
EUSTACE John MATHER Roland WARNER Thomas G.F.
FARMER Arthur J. McDERMOTT Joseph WILLSHAW Sydney
FERNLEY James McLAINE Donald WELLS John S. Collings
FERNS Albert MILLER Benjamin WOODCOCK Walter C.
FIELDING George MILLER George W. WOODHOUSE Henry
FIELDING John MORGAN Alec WRAY Thomas
FLETCHER Walter MORRIS Burt YARWOOD Richard
FLINT Walter

The Marple Dead of World War I

YOUNG Edmund Turner
FORTH Charles YOUNG Malcolm H.

 

BASNETT William

Marple War Memorial

PICKFORD Henry
BATTERTON Fredrick Raymond PORCHER Frederick Charles
BEARD Cyril RICHARDS Donald Arthur
BIRD Anthony Goulding RIDINGS John Joseph
BLEAKLEY Ronald Miles ROBINSON Leonard
BRIDGE Godfrey SHAW Kenneth
BROWN Rowland SHAW Thomas
CLARKE David SHELDON Cyril Arnfield

COCKS William

LONGDEN Thomas SHUTTLEWORTH William
DIXON Thomas Stanley MACNAB Peter SKELLERN Tom
DOWNS Frank MALLETT Charles Lucas SMITH Robert
GIBSON Albert William MCMILLAN Donald SOWERBY James Handley
GREEN Thomas Edward MESSENGER Ernest Paul TAYLOR William
HAYNE George William MOTTERSHEAD Robert Kenneth TEW Harold Philip
HAMMAN Anthony Creighton MYCOCK Leslie TYRELL Harold Francis
HAZELHURST John NIELD Frank Knowles WALKER John (Jack)
HEATH Alfred OLDHAM Edwin WALKER John Keith
HIGGINBOTHAM Alan PARROTT John Charles WHALLEY George
HOLLAND James

The Marple Dead of World War II

WILSON Gordon Albert Charles
KIRK Samuel WOOD Thomas