Memorials - Lostock Hall - South Ribble Civic WW1 Memorial
Making a New Memorial
The borough of South Ribble was defined in 1974 and was assembled from the villages and townships formerly administered by Leyland Urban, Walton le dale and Preston Rural Councils. As a consequence the borough had no single point of remembrance for those who died during the Great War. Indeed, a list of those souls local to the area who surrendered their lives in defence of our country was not in existence.
The Council became aware that Charlie O’Donnell had, for some years, been researching the information contained on the various war memorials in the area. When approached, Charlie kindly agreed to develop a specific list of those soldiers who were born in and/or lived in South Ribble and died as a consequence of the First World War
As part of the Council’s suite of events to commemorate the Great War It was decided to create a significant memorial prominently positioned and central to the borough. The location chosen was Dandy Brook Park in Lostock Hall near to the roundabout at the southern end of Watkin Lane. Included in the memorial were to be the names of the fallen compiled by Charlie.
The memorial, recently installed, is 8m in diameter, semi-circular in plan and rises from 4m to 9m in height. The steel frame is clad in Cor-ten steel which is designed to rust evenly. Once the outer coating of rust is formed the remainder of the steel plate is protected from further rusting. An image of a soldier in repose, 5m high, is cut into the centre and a traditional poppy is attached.
When viewed from within the park the names of the fallen can be seen, these are laser cut into the plate and backed with stainless steel.
Within the park a peace garden is being formed. The garden is intended as a place for quiet reflection and contains a simple grassed lawn flanked by beds of sensory planting. The area is shielded from the rest of the park by a recreation of a WW1 trench wall made up of H section steel posts supporting oak sleepers and topped with sand bags (these sand bags contain concrete and are protected by a steel wire gabions). To the wall will be attached a plaque listing, in alphabetical order, the names of the fallen and showing the date of death and service number. It is thought this information could form the basis of further research by the community.
Further works are ongoing to link the memorial and peace garden, through the park, to St Catherine’s Hospice. New paths are being created and a new bridge will be installed to cross the River Lostock. The bridge will be based on a design commissioned at the start of WW1 and developed in 1915 by Charles Inglis.
Steve Barritt, South Ribble Borough Council
Finding the fallen
When I first set out to publish the work that was to become South Ribble in the Great War back in 2012, I had no idea that a permanent memorial would be planned for the area and that I would have a major role in piecing together the names for that memorial. I had begun by making a survey of all the memorials in the local towns and villages and compiled these into an offline database. The next step was to find the basic details of the men by using various online resources such as the Commonwealth War Graves website and military sources via Ancestry UK.
Steve Barritt from South Ribble Council became aware of my work through the auspices of David Hunt at the South Ribble Museum and exhibition centre. I had visited David as he is the custodian of the Wesleyan WW1 memorial. Steve had compiled a basic list by using the publication 'Soldiers Died in the Great War' via Ancestry UK. A basic search using place names by Steve and myself yielded a number of new names that have not previously been on memorials in the local area. I added these to my ever growing database and had to whittle it down to men who were born or who had lived (or both) in the local towns and villages. This stage involved the use of civilian records such as Births, Marriages and Deaths and the 1911 Census.
I have also been lucky enough to have been allowed access to the work of other researchers in the area. In particular I need to mention Bill Waring of Leyland Historical Society who started his research in the 1990s, Jim Rawcliffe for Brownedge & Bamber Bridge, Sarah Yates for Higher Walton, Bill Brierley for Lostock Hall, Helen Howell for Walton-le-Dale, Teresa Taylor for Samlesbury & Roach Bridge, Steve Barritt of South Ribble Council and Heather Crook for Penwortham and the western parishes.
The final stage was to quality assure the list I was putting out. The aforementioned Bill Brierley and Sarah Yates together with Stan Grosvenor M.A. of the Western Front Association verified the names and I am indebted to them. Stan in particular has been a great source of information and inspiration and we have chewed the fat many times over a few pints at The Gables in Leyland.
There is still plenty more to discover about these men and their families. There are also those men who served and came home and also the women who worked hard at home. Please contact me if you have anything at all to share. Thank you all.
Battle of the Somme commemorations and the Inglis bridge.
The 1 July 2016 saw a service at the memorial to commemorate the men from the area who fell at the Somme. The ceremony was attended by dignitaries and pupils from Lostock Hall High School. The pupils had made poppies from clay and these were arranged in an area to the side of the memorial. The names of the men who fell were read and the exhortation was read and the last post played.
A few days earlier saw the unveiling of the continuation of the memorial area. The Inglis bridge erected over the River Lostock (or dandy brook) is based on a World War 1 design. In previous conflicts, rivers were spanned using boats and timber beams lashed together to form pontoons. Although much of the Great War was fought from the trenches, when the order came to advance, speed of movement became the key to success. A new type of bridge was needed. A modular bridge which was light and portable. Charles Inglis had already considered the issue and had a design ready to go.
In the field the bridge was used to support front line troops. The sappers were often called upon to build bridges whilst under fire. The rapid deployment of the Inglis Bridge helped to reduce the casualties. As the fighting moved forward the sappers would erect a more permanent structure whereupon the Inglis Bridge would be dismantled and transferred forward to support the next offensive.
The new bridge is based on the version developed by Charles Inglis during 1915 and referred to as the 'Heavy Type.
Every effort has been made to recreate the bridge as closely as possible to the original. However, for safety reasons, the following design changes have been introduced; the timber transoms (large members across the base) are replaced with steel, steel decking is installed and safety barriers added. The bridge is fixed and cannot be disassembled.
South Ribble Borough Council / Charles O'Donnell
Published 1 October 2016