LEVERSTOCK GREEN'S WAR MEMORIALS
Since the end of WW1, Leverstock Green has had several memorials to that conflict and those who fought for our country at that time, and more especially to remember those who failed to return as they paid the ultimate sacrifice - their death.
Some of these still survive, and one never actually came to fruition, but the memorial usually referred to as THE Leverstock Green War Memorial, is the principle one; the one around which we all gather every year on Remembrance Sunday, and which you can see on the many photographs on this page. It has since its erection in 1921 had two different locations - but more about that later. The other memorials which I will give details or links to later on were/are:
- The then proposed village hall, which was initially intended to be a Memorial Hall
- The Queen's Westminster Rifles Stained Glass Window in the church.
- A brass memorial plaque put up in the then Leverstock Green National School, Bedmond Road
- And further memorials within Holy Trinity Church, including another stained glass window, choir stalls, a commemorative picture and the chancel screen erected in memory of Rev Durant's family, one of whom, his only son Michael Arthur, who was awarded the Military Cross, was killed during the war:
PLANNING THE GRANITE MEMORIAL
2nd July 1919 - A meeting was held at the home of Mr. Secretan (The Dells), to discuss the erection of a war memorial. The following article appeared in the Gazette on 12th July 1919.
A meeting was held at Mr.. Secretan’s Bennetts End, on July 2nd, to discuss the erection of a war memorial to those men of Leverstock Green who have laid down their lives for their King & Country in the great war. In spite of heavy rain there was a very large attendance. Those present were asked to give their views freely and openly. After some discussion it was unanimously decided (that subject to permission being obtained) a stone column with the names of the fallen inscribed on it, should be erected in a prominent position on the Green. It was felt that such a memorial would keep fresh in the minds of all and especially the children, the names of those men who had died for them and that it would be a warning to generations to come of a world war. In this small village 27 men made the great sacrifice. A committee of 11, all of whom had been bereaved in the war, were elected to carry out the views of the meeting.
[Gazette 12th July 1919 p.7]
ERECTION & UNVEILING OF THE MEMORIAL
2nd April 1921 - The Gazette carried a notice of the forthcoming unveiling of the new war memorial, to take place on Saturday April 9th by L. Col. Smeathman DSO MC at 3pm. [Gazette 2/4/1921]
Saturday 9th April 1921 - Leverstock Green’s war memorial was unveiled.
LEVERSTOCK GREEN’S TRIBUTE
TO ITS FALLEN HEROES
Erected by the united efforts of the villagers the Leverstock Green War Memorial was unveiled on Saturday afternoon in the presence of practically the whole of the inhabitants who thus paid worthy homage to the gallant 28 of the village sons who sacrificed their life in the service of King and Country in the Great War of 1914-18. Leverstock Green is not a very large village but its population of some 640 souls will gaze with justifiable pride upon the column of Cornish granite standing predominantly on the village green, and in this tribute to the everlasting memory of their heroes of the war they have left nothing in default. The column is mounted by a grenade and in the centre of the column is a Crusader’s sword in bronze. Unfortunately owing to the high cost of materials the first intention of having a bronze grenade could not be carried into effect, but nevertheless the memorial worthily serves its purpose, and the site is the best that could be chosen, an ideal one for here who passing through the village could fail to observe that Leverstock Green has not forgotten. The design was an original one by Mr.. Arthur Green architect, late of Bennetts End and it was carried out by messieurs Mence and Finn of St. Albans. The stone sculptor being Mr.. Alderton of Harpenden. The unveiling ceremony was most impressive, being performed on a typical April afternoon, when the sun vied with the water laden clouds for supremacy. It was a happy choice by the committee to invite that well known and popular soldier Lieut. Col. Lovel Smeathman DSO MC whose gallant association with the local regiment is an everyday story. To unveil the memorial shortly after 3 o’clock the Rev. A. Durrant Vicar, and a procession of Choir boys wended their way across the green from the parish church, and taking their stand by the memorial opened the service with the hymn “Stand Up Stand Up For Jesus” and the Vicar led the assembly in prayers. psalm cxxx “Out of the deep have I called unto thee” was read in alternative versed by the Vicar and the people and the Rev. Durrant most impressively read the lesson from Wisdom III 1-6.
Leut. Col. Smeathman then unveiled the memorial and said that the honour of so doing had fallen to him, principally he thought, because it was his pleasure, perhaps, more that anyone else in the district, to share the joys and sorrows of the men who went from that locality to the Great War. He would, before proceeding, read the names of the 28 men who had been killed on their countries service.
Harry George Biswell
George de Beger
Arthur Michael Durrant
James Knox Hart
William Walter Sears
Reginald Herbert Secretan
Proceeding Leut. Col. Smeathman said those were the names of the 28 men who from the parish fell during the war. They with others, who happily had come back, went cheerfully and willingly and
NONE WAS CONSCRIPTED
The population of the village was about 640, and that was a record of which they might be proud. It was said and thought that such memorials as this were not necessary, and certainly during their lifetime it would require no mention to remind them of what these men had done to help England the freest country in the world, but the danger being in that the generations to come might forget the heroism of our soldiers, and the speaker said to those who mourned the loss of a dead one he would say one word They knew that if they were here and the same circumstances arose again they would do the same again.