Historic photo offers a flashback to March war memorial on the day it was officially unveiled in June, 1921

17:32 03 June 2014

1921 March War Memorial Service.

1921 March War Memorial Service.


The grandson of auctioneer Joseph Collingwood JP has discovered a photo of the March war memorial on the day it was officially unveiled in 1921.

1921 March War Memorial Service.1921 March War Memorial Service.

The Grade II listed memorial bears the names of 210 men from the town that died during four years of fighting.

The stone memorial was unveiled on June 19, 1921, by Captain Colin Coote, MP for the Isle of Ely and shows Mr Collingwood JP on the inside railings in the photograph.

The dedication was given by Rev S Walton.

His grandfather died just two months after the unveiling ceremony.

March War Memorial. Picture: Steve Williams.March War Memorial. Picture: Steve Williams.

Mr Collingwood, one of six grandsons, brought in a photo of the official unveiling which shows a packed Broad Street with people joining in the event.

The memorial was designed by Mr Storr-Barber at a cost of £900 and showed the names of 210 men killed in the First World War. A further 103 names were added of those who died in the World War II. Mr Storr-Barber had been a private in the Royal Marines.

The memorial is in the form of an obelisk approximately 5.8m tall, constructed from light gray Cornish Granite. On the elevation there is a life size statue of a soldier made of White Sicilian Marble, holding a 0.303 Lee Enfield Rifle standing in the reverse arms position. He is dressed in World War I battle uniform.

The reverse arms position is formed by placing the muzzle of the rifle on the left foot. Both hands, with palms facing downwards are placed across the rifle butt.

March War Memorial. Picture: Steve Williams.March War Memorial. Picture: Steve Williams.

The soldier is wearing a steel battle bower (commonly referred to as a ‘tin hat’). This was introduced in March-May, 1916, in response to a large number of head wound casualties being suffered by British troops. Prior to this, the only headgear worn by British troops was the standard issue peaked, soft felt cap.

The memorial was designed, sculpted and constructed by Mr. Storr-Barber of Leominster, at a total cost of £900. During World War I, Mr Storr-Barber was a private in the Royal Marines.

Since 1921 there have been 103 names added of those who died in the Second World War, as well as three additional plaques bearing another 21 names between them.

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