Mexborough & Swinton Times, April 2nd
A Handsome Memorial
The Unveiling Ceremony.
On Easter Day, Conisbrough, paid its tribute to the glorious dead of that historic old parish. The village war Memorial, erected in the Coronation Park, the charming little wayside retreat given to Conisbrough some years ago, by Mrs Godfrey Walker, was ceremonially unveiled by General Sir Allngton Bewicke-Copley, C.V., K.B.E., of Sprotborough Hall.
The site is overlooked by the grim old castle, hoary with reminiscences of age, and was in which the private soldier, the common patriot, was not so lovingly remembered, not so tenderly regarded, at any rate not so publicly honoured, as today.
The movement for the providing a public memorial to the men of Conisbrough, who engaged in the late war, and yielded up their lives in the sure and certain hope that this country, and their village might be redeemed and rescue from the terrible menace which then threatened it, has been in existence since the latter stages of the war.
The late Mr W.H .Jones wassail sometime chairman of the village committee formed for this purpose, and at his death, last year, he was succeeded by Mr Irad Webster, who presided over the impressive ceremony last Sunday afternoon.
The unveiling was witnessed by over 3000 people. The proceedings opened with prayer by the reverent H.Middlewood, and then Mr Webster asks for a moment of silence, in solemn and respectful memory of the men in whose honour the people were gathered.
Following this, Mr Webster gave some particulars regarding the monument – a very handsome piece of work by Messrs Tyas and Guest (Swinton), executed from the designs of Captain M.Tyas.the Memorial includes the figure, in Portland stone, of a typical infantryman, standing on a plinth of Bradford stone. Of the four sides of the plinth are inscribed names of the 168 Conisbrough men who gave their lives.
The cost of the Memorial is £540, and this amount has almost been raised- will be raised – by subscription. On the day of the unveiling a subscription of £50, was received from the Denaby Main branch of the Yorkshire Miners Association.
Mr Webster mentioned that this was the first statue ever raising Conisbrough, which, as the place was in history, and it was memorable. On that account, but much more on account of the splendid gallantry and self-sacrifice of the men went forth from Conisbrough to defend our shores. He trusted that Conisbrough would have every cause to be proud of its sons, but would never pass through such another trial.
General Sir Allngton Bewicke-Copley said he was very grateful to them for interesting to him, as an old soldier, the privilege of unveiling their memorial in the shadow of their fine old Castle. He esteemed it a special privilege because your past nearly all his life among soldiers, and had been glad to be associated with them in their griefs and joys
War, he said, was a horrible calamity. It saddened and desolated homes, lands and peoples. But there were lessons to be learned from war. Among these were remembrance and service to the community.
General Sir Allngton Bewicke-Copley proceeded to give a moving description of the burial of the unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey, and the unveiling of the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
There was, he said, bound to be a good deal of unrest after the earthshaking war through which we had just gone. But we must remember that those who gave their lives for their country expected us to do.
We are called to make it a sweeter and a better England. We should try to dedicate our lives afresh to our country, the community, and to God. With a very solemn sense of what he was doing, he would unveil the Conisbrough Memorial. “To our glorious dead.”
Following the unveiling, a bugler sounded the “Last Post,” and then captain H.C.Harrison propose a vote of thanks to the war Manorial Committee and Sir Allngton Bewicke-Copley, Lieutenant W.Appleyard seconding
The proceedings close with the benediction pronounced by the reverent W.A.Strawbridge, vicar of Conisbrough.
During a service, the hymns, “Oh, God, our help in ages past,” and “Eternal Father strong to save,” were sung.
There were a great many representatives of bereaved families present, and the monument was filled high was wreaths within a few minutes of the conclusion of the ceremony.