Beccles

World War 1 Memorials

There were some 1500 Beccles men who served during the war and 205 are recorded as having died. Some of the men recorded as having lived in Beccles appeared to have various connections with the surrounding villages and so some names are repeated on village memorials. The main Beccles Memorial is that which can be seen in St Marys Road and was funded by public donation. The starting point for the names on the memorial was a Roll of Honour that Beccles Council created. The Roll of Honour was started within a few weeks of the war beginning, and initially the data was collected by the ladies of the Liberal and Conservative organisations knocking on all the doors of the town. The list was kept up to date with regular additions through out the war and published at various times by the East Suffolk Gazette. A copy of the list was also displayed outside of the Town Hall. At the end of the war the Roll of Honour records were checked and in January 1920 published as an A5 booklet with copies given to each house in the town. The museum has several of these documents in its collection. As well as this booklet there were a number of other memorials created by various organizations in the town. Below is a list of all those that I have managed to identify and most still exist, although I'm unsure of a couple of them.

Beccles College Old Boys Memorial

Beccles College was located in Ballygate, where Old College Close is now located, but the building was demolished in the 1930s. I have been unable to find the location of the memorial tablets mentioned in the East Suffolk Gazette article below:

East Suffolk Gazette. 23 December 1919. Beccles College Prize Day, Memorial to Old Boys.

The unveiling by the Mayor (Mr AE Mickleburgh), of memorial tablets bearing the names of Old College Boys who served in the Great War took place on Monday afternoon, in connection with the distribution of prizes by the Rector (Rev FG Millar), in the presence of pupils and staff, parents and friends of the boys. The Principle Mr CC Hall RA (Hons), said it was a proud moment for him to think how many old boys of this school gladly answered the call of their country and took their part in the Great War. But then it was also associated with said memories when he looked down the list and saw the names of so many killed who were some of the brightest and best boys who had ever passed through the School. It was sad to think that all those bright young lives – they could not say they were lost, but were taken for the purpose that we might live. No fewer than 39 Old Boys had made the great sacrifice. The two tablets contained 301 names of Old Boys both English and French. The list of French was not complete because he could not get in touch with all the French students who had passed through the College. But it was pleasant to think that on more than one occasion an Old English Boy had dropped upon an Old French Boy in France or Belgium, and had talked about old times at Beccles College. He had received letters from both French and English students out there, who told of meetings with this one and that. The 301 French and English students whose names were recorded ranked from Majors to Privates. Sixty three obtained commissions, and fourteen distinctions were won: five MC's, one Italian MC, two MM's, two DCM's, one MSM, two Croix de Guerre, and one French MM.

The Mayor said he felt honoured by being asked to unveil the two handsome memorial tablets to the honour of the boys who once attended the College. They must feel it was a proud moment for the School – a proud moment for them as students to participate in such a memorial to former students in this College; and it ought to be an incentive to every student to do his duty when called upon. Mr Hall might well feel proud that so many of his Old Boys had obtained commissions and won honours and distinctions, as helpers in the great struggle through which they had passed for nearly five years. He trusted that those who had returned safely to their homes would assist in the reconstruction of their country as ably and willingly as they did for the freedom for which they fought. They had all been passing through trying times since the Armistice when they thought that everything would go swimmingly again and they would be restored to almost immediate prosperity. Unfortunately those hopes had not been realized; but he trusted they would win through and become a united nation for the general good. In conclusion the Mayor said he hoped the boys would all enjoy their vacation and those that came back would do so in good health and spirits. (Applause).

The article then goes on to describe the awards ceremony and the handing out of prizes.

Memorial for Beccles Pupil Teachers Centre.

The Beccles Pupil Teachers Centre Memorial plaque is on display in the Sir John Leman School along with two others. All three are bronze mounted on wooden bases. The first is a plaque commemorating Charles T Gilbert who died while serving in France in 1918, and the second commemorates the students who gave their lives in the 2nd World War. The third is the one commemorating the Beccles Pupil Teachers who lost their lives in the 1914-1919 war. The ceremonial unveiling of the plaque was recorded in the East Suffolk Gazette as follows:

East Suffolk Gazette. 23 December 1919. Memorial Tablet Unveiled.

A framed tablet memorial in bronze, “In memory of Fred Pendle, Robert Pipe, Charles Gilbert, Maurice Hurren, Percy Taylor and Percy Garnham, scholars of Beccles Pupil Teachers Centre, who fell in the Great War, 1914-1918,” with the inscription, “Help us play the man,” has been erected on the west wall of the entrance of Sir John Leman School, by leave of the Governors, and it was unveiled by the Rector (Rev FG Millar) on Saturday afternoon, in the presence of Miss E Wright, formerly head teacher of the Centre, members of the staff, parents and friends of the scholars. Miss Wright before calling upon the Rector, thanked the Governors for allowing them to put up the memorial to the boys who belonged to the old Centre School, and also the Rector for being with them. There might be some present, she said, who did not know there was a School in the Lecture Hall for some eight years in preparation for the present School. They were dependent a great deal in those years on the manliness and helpfulness of the boys, some 60 of whom passed through the School. The names of six of those boys appeared on the memorial tablet, and she thought if it had not been for their manliness and helpfulness the School should never have got through those early years as it did. Percy Garnham, one of the first of the boys, and Robert Pipe set a high standard for the other boys, and it went through the School to the very end, to the great encouragement and help of the staff. - The Rector, having unveiled the tablet, and read out the names and inscription it bears thanked Miss Wright for giving him the opportunity of being associated with this gathering in showing respect for those who had gone before, and whom they thought of not so much as individuals but as representing hundreds and thousands of Englishmen who went forth at their country's call and died boldly fighting for freedom. The Rector spoke of the personal responsibility of perpetuating the memory of those through whose sacrifice we lived and offered a respectful tribute to the Pupil Teachers Centre, it's poverty stricken equipment conveyed to those the lesson that there was no necessary connection between the buildings and the spirit and inspiration which turned out such men as these they were commemorating. - Mr MF Buck added a few words of sympathy and appreciation, and thanked the Rector and Miss Wright for their share in this tribute to worthy characters, who owed much in their training in the Beccles Centre for pupil teachers.

Congregational Church Memorial.

East Suffolk Gazette. 25 November 1919. Memorial to the Fallen

At the conclusion of the morning service at the Congregational Church, on Sunday, the Rev WE Davies (the Minister) unveiled a tablet to the memory of members of the Church who fell during the Great War. “I think we all feel,” he said, “that this is a moment of deep emotion. Our heart is full of gratitude for the great love expressed for our sakes by the large number of young men of our nation. Associated with this Church and congregation there were 18 who gave all that we might live. And in the name of this Church, as Minister, I have to unveil a tablet on which is given the record of names of those brave and heroic souls. I regret very much that I did not know all of them, some of them had passed to that borne from whence no traveller returns before I commenced my Ministry here. Others of them I remember with a great sense of love and affection for their pure, unselfish, and proved Christian character. But all of those, very dear to my heart and to the heart of those associated with the Church, did that which was best of all, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” In the name of this Church and congregation I unveil this tablet (inscribed). “To the glory of God and in memory of the men associated with this Church and congregation, whose names follow, who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War, 1914-1918: FA Brown, MW Brown, J Christie, DA Clark, SJ Drewell, B Freeman, DR Freeman, P Garnham, HF Hall, JA Jeffrey, JC Mobbs, SS Mobbs, W Prime, H Rackham, JT Self, FW Simmons, JM Ward, EF Wilkinson. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us now and evermore. Amen.” The tablet, which is of brass, mounted on polished oak, is erected on the south wall of the church.

St Benets Memorial.

St Benets Minster has a plaque listing the names of the congregation who died serving in the war and and hidden behind it a casket containing the names of all those whos erved ikn the armed services. The service where the memorial was unveiled was recorded as follows:

East Suffolk Gazette. 7 September 1920. St Benets War Memorial.

A mural monument – as a lasting Memorial of those St Benet's congregation who served in the late Great War – has been erected in this church. The design was made by Mr FE Banham, the architect of the church, and is a handsome ornament in this fine building. A small recess – hollowed out in the Western wall – contains a casket, in which is a parchment roll inscribed with the names of all those belonging to the Catholic parish of Beccles who served in the war. The recess is enclosed with a cast bronze plate with a raised inscription of the names of the eight heroic boys who gave their lives for their country. This is relieved either side with an alabaster column, the whole thing being framed in a handsome Seaton stone surround, surmounted with a carved crocketed pinnacle on each side. Where required, the “fillings” are worked in gold and green glass mosaic. The monument is from the sculpture yard of Messrs. Wall and Co, of Cheltenham, who carried out the work most satisfactorily. Mr HA King of Beccles, fixed it in position. The unveiling ceremony took place on Sunday evening, the 29th August.

The article then goes on to describe the ceremony. The memorial inscription is as follows:

Pro Deo et Patria
1914-1918
..............
Albert Ashley MM
Charles Forder
Frances Holland
Joseph Keable
Peter Kearns
Clifford Lobban
Arthur Smith
David Wincup
..............
RIP

Caxton Press Memorial.

The Caxton Press was one of the towns larger employers and a lot of its employees went off to war. The Company offered to give any man who served his job back at the end of the war. The factory that existed at the time of the war was knocked down in 2006 to make way for a Supermarket. The print works was relocated to Ellough and the War Memorial removed and installed in St Michaels Bell Tower.

East Suffolk Gazette. 4 April 1921. Dedication of Memorial Tablet to Caxton Heroes.

It was with reverent and sympathetic assembly of friends and relatives, former comrades in arms and fellow employees, who gathered around the front entrance of the Caxton Press on Wednesday evening, when the beautiful Memorial Tablet erected by Messrs. Wm. Clowes and Sons Ltd., to twenty three of their employees who lost their lives in defence of their King and country, 1914 to 1918, was unveiled by Lieutenant Colonel GC Knight Clowes DSO, who journeyed from London for that special purpose. The Memorial Tablet is of oak, and was designed and executed by Mr F Knights, “Warren,” St Margarets Road, Lowestoft. Inside the carved laurel wreath at top is an inscription, “In memory of our fallen Comrades.” Beneath is a scroll, inscribed, “1914 William Clowes and Sons Ltd 1918,” and underneath this, “ The undermentioned Employees lost their Lives in Defence of King and Country.” Then follow the names of the heroes, with their rank, regiment, and department in which they were employed at the Caxton Press. Thirteen were privates, one gunner, five lance corporals, one CQMS. It may be mentioned here that upwards of 200 of the firm's employees served in either the Territorials or joined up with the new Armies, and were called to active service in the East, Gallipoli, and France. Six lost their lives in Egypt, and the rest in France. When the local history of the war comes to be written, if ever, a meed of praise will be the share of our Beccles boys who, fighting numerous battles in France and Palestine, took part in the capture of Jerusalem.

Before unveiling the Memorial Col Clowes read out the names of those comrades who lost their lives in the war. Some time, he remarked, had elapsed now since the war was over, but he felt certain he could say on behalf of all present, that their relatives and friends, who in the most happy times felt the greatness of their loss, had their deepest sympathy. Colonel Clowes then removed the Union Jack which veiled the Memorial, and the Rector dedicated the Tablet “to the glory of God and in memory of the men of these Works who have laid down their lives for their King and Country during the War.” He thanked God for all those who had given their lives “in this righteous war,” and beseeching Him, in whose all merciful keeping they are, to grant that “we and they may have our perfect consummation and bliss in the Light and Peace of Thy Kingdom where the glory of Thy countenance shineth for ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Rev WE Davies in commemorative prayers of those “who did great things for us”, asked God the Father “to help us keep in holy memory the services they rendered for us. For their fortitude we praise Thee; for their long endurance for their high faith in the country's cause we praise Thee. We ask Thee, O God, to sanctify this moment and its remembrance to every heart: may we as we search for the responsibilities and obligations imposed upon us do faithfully and be faithful in memory of them who died for us, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“O God Almighty and Holy Spirit,” he continued, “Who hast taught us that a greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend, we ask Thee to place into our thought and life the purpose this moment of remembrance for those whom we remember best, those who did this for our sake. We ask Thee, O God, to teach us that tomorrow is ours; that Thou purposed for us yesterday rich things in the freedom and duty and conscience of our nation. Grant, Lord, that we may not feel that we have lost the inheritance they have brought for us, but make it richer by our energy and service and surrender. They made their sacrifice, they gave their lives, they did their best to high duty and great and holy cause. They gave all. Bless Thou them and us. May this moment be unto us a time of dedication, and that their love shall not be in vain nor their labour in vain.

Mr RB Devereux, an ex Service man, then placed a large laurel wreath at the foot of the Memorial on behalf of the firm's employees. Permit me to remind you, he said, that the value of such a memorial lies not only in its fitness as a commemoration of those who have gone, but also in its living, inspirational; value for those of us who remain. We do well to honour the memory of our former comrades. If it means anything to us at all, it should surely mean the dedication of our lives to the pursuit of those ideals for which they surrendered everything.

For the youth they gave, and the blood they gave
We must render back the due.
For every informal and unnamed grave
We must pay with service true,
Till the scales are straight with equal weight,
And the world is a world made new.

The solemn and touching ceremony ended with the “Last Post” sounded by trumpeters with roll of drum (Messrs. Barkham, Ward, Walker, Harris, Steverson), and the Blessing pronounced by the Rector.

The Caxton Press Roll of Honour

As well as the tablet referred to above the factory kept two lists, one of those who died, which was published in the East Suffolk Gazette on 27 April 1920, page 5:

(Dept)
J Balls, Lance Corpl, 8th Batt. East Surrey Regt.Binding
WS Barnard, Corpl, 5th Batt. Suffolk Regt.Machine
AG Barnes, CQMS, London Fusiliers.Composing
H Bloomfield, Pte. 1/5th Batt. Gloucestershire Regt.Warehouse
MW Brown, Pte. 8th Batt. Suffolk Regt.Composing
EJ Byford, Gnr., RFA.Composing
WL Churchyard, Pte., 5th Batt. Suffolk Regt.Composing
JA Copeman, Pte., 8th Batt. Suffolk Regt.Binding
A Cushion, Pte., 5th Batt. Suffolk Regt.Composing
ER Day, Pte., 1/5th Batt. Suffolk Regt.Machine
JR Finch, Pte., 7th Batt. Suffolk Regt.Binding
BW Freeman, Pte., Devonshire Regt.Composing
JD Harper, Pte., 5th Batt. Suffolk Regt.Composing
AW Judge, Corpl, 2/6th Batt. Suffolk Cyclists.Composing
WM Knights, Pte., 2/1st Batt. Oxford and Bucks LI.Machine
FW Laws, Pte., 2nd Batt. Suffolk Regt.Composing
H Leon, Pte., Royal Fusiliers.Composing
FS Oxborough, Corpl, 4th Batt. Suffolk Regt.Composing
EG Pipe, Lance Corpl, 2/4th Batt. Oxford and Bucks LI.Monotype
W Prime, Pte, 4th Batt. Suffolk Regt.Composing
HJ Rackham, Pte., 6th Batt. Queens Royal West Surrey Regt.Machine
ER Stimpson, Corpl, 7th Batt. Suffolk Regt.Composing
JM Ward, Lance Corpl., 2nd Batt. Suffolk Regt.Composing

and a second list of those who served. The museum has a copy of the longer list which is printed on paper and then glued to a piece of hardboard.

Name(Department)Branch or Service
Adams GMachineRoyal Garrison Artillery
Andrews AJComposingSuffolk Regiment
Archer AEMachine3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Archer CMachine3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Balls JBinding5th Suffolks
Barber GWComposing3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Barnard GComposing3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Barnard HLMachineLord Kitcheners Army
Barnard WSMachineSuffolk Regiment
Baxter HMachineSuffolk Regiment
BirdFoundryLord Kitchener's Army
Borrett SWatchmanWorcester Regiment
Brighton AComposing3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Catchpole FCEngineeringRoyal Fleet Reserve
Chapelow ELEngineeringWoolwich Arsenal
Churchyard WLComposingSuffolk Regiment
Cooke HBindingSuffolk Regiment
Cooper JComposing3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Copeman JBinding5th Suffolks
Crickmore JMachine3rd East Anglian Howtizers
Cushion AComposingSuffolk Regiment
Cushion CComposingSuffolk Regiment
Cushion WMonotype3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Day AWComposing3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Day ERMachineSuffolk Regiment
Drewell PMachine3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Ellis GWarehouseSuffolk Regiment
Evans WFoundry3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Fairweather TComposingSuffolk Regiment
Fisher WMachineSuffolk Regiment
Fiske CEMachine3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Flowerdew CBinding3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Foyster JMachine6th Suffolk Cyclists
Freeman BComposingSuffolk Regiment
Goldsmith ETCounting HouseSuffolk Regiment
Goldsmith SGComposing6th Suffolk Cyclists
Gooch FMachineSuffolk Regiment
Harper JDComposingSuffolk Regiment
Harvey FComposingSuffolk Regiment
Harvey WFoundrySuffolk Regiment
Harvey ARComposing5th Suffolks
Hazleton WJComposingSuffolk Yeomanry
Holmes FBindingSuffolk Regiment
Howard WRComposing3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Ingate AMonotype5th Suffolks
Jermany ERFoundryLord Kitchener's Army
Judge AComposing6th Suffolk Cyclists
Judge TECounting House3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Knights EComposing3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Knight WMMachine6th Suffolk Cyclists
Laws AJComposingSuffolk Regiment
Ling WMachine3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Littler LAComposingLord Kitchener's Army
Mills AEMachine3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Mills AEMMachine3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Norman HMachine6th Suffolk Cyclists
Page RComposing3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Parnell FBindingSuffolk Regiment
Parnell GMachine3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Phillips ACMachine3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Phillips OJComposing3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Pipe EGComposing4th Ox and Bucks Infantry
Piper ACMachineSuffolk Regiment
Pollard WVComposing3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Pye AFoundry6th Suffolk Cyclists
Rackham FWarehouseLord Kitchener's Army
Rae AHBinding3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Read JReadingSuffolk Regiment
Read RWarehouseSuffolk Regiment
Reynolds EJComposingSuffolk Regiment
Riches CComposing3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Savage BComposingSuffolk Regiment
Sheen HComposingLord Kitchener's Army
Simper HComposingSuffolk Regiment
Spall RAMachine3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Spall WComposing3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Sporle CBinding5th Suffolks
Sporle OBinding3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Steverson LComposing3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Stimpson ERComposingLord Kitchener's Army
Trask GComposingSuffolk Regiment
Turner FComposingSuffolk Regiment
Ulph EFoundry1st Co Essex & Suff RGA
Ulph FComposing3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Ulph LComposing3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Upcraft WMonotypeSuffolk Regiment
Walker SWComposingSuffolk Regiment
Ward EGMachine3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Ward WAComposingSuffolk Yeomanry
Warnes WAFoundry6th Suffolk Cyclists
Watson HGMachine3rd East Anglian Howitzers
White SMachine3rd East Anglian Howitzers
Wiggett CMachineLord Kitchener's Army
Wiggett TComposingSuffolk Regiment
Woodard CComposingSuffolk Regiment
Woolner MBindingSuffolk Regiment
Woolnough BComposingSuffolk Regiment
Wright EFMachineSuffolk Regiment
Wyatt ADComposing6th Suffolk Cyclists
Byford EJComposingRoyal Garrison Regiment

Beccles War Memorial

The largest Memorial constructed to the men of Beccles who fell in the war was built by the Town Council and funded by public subscription. The memorial stands in St Marys Road outside of the Memorial Hospital, another memorial to those who fought in the war. The unveiling of the memorial is recorded in the newspaper at the time.

East Suffolk Gazette. 3 October 1921. Beccles War Memorial Cross Unveiling Ceremony.

The unveiling and dedication ceremony of the beautiful Memorial Cross erected at the junction of St Mary's Road and Priory Road, near the approach to the hospital which the townspeople have decided to erect in the near future to the memory of the two hundred and more brave men of Beccles who gave their lives in defence of King and Country in the Great War, 1914 to 1918, took place on Saturday afternoon, October 1st. There was a large concourse of people at the heart stirring and impressive ceremonial, and so complete were the arrangements that everything passed off without a hitch in the programme. Invitations had been sent out to two near relatives of each of the fallen, and accommodation was found for them, and also for members of the Town Council and of the War Memorial Committee and others officially concerned in the afternoon's programme in close proximity to the Memorial. The Town Band, under Bandmaster JW Hazelton, rendered selections of music near the site from 2:15 to 3 pm, during the arrival of invited guests and the public, who, together with ex-Service men, were all able to occupy positions giving them full view of the proceedings. Some 600 or more school children were allotted convenient places on Homefield meadow. There were also Boy Scouts in evidence: and last but not least in importance, a detachment of the Loyal Suffolk Hussars (T), and the 1st Suffolk Battery RFA (T), under the command of Major RW Brooks. Other officers present were Captain W Crisp, Lieutenants FJ Quinton and FC Newman, Sixteen ex-Service men were invited to hep in carrying out the afternoon's arrangements, viz. Major S Barrett, Messrs. ST Wade, W Ward, F Clatworthy, G Taylor, C Freestone, G Carr, J Westrop, F Pollard, W Butters, A Devereaux, F Barway, A Bracey, C Rose, R Meadows, and E Everson. All the above named readily gave their services, and did much to promote the smooth working of the arrangements. These were made by a Sub Committee comprising Mr EA Thompson (Chairman), Miss Beatrix Allen (Hon. Secretary), the Rev. FG Millar, and the Rev WE Davies, who were also responsible for the work of erecting the Memorial Cross. Shops were closed and flags were flying at half mast in honour of the dead.

The Memorial Cross has been designed on the traditional lines of the ancient Wayside Crosses, which divided them into three clearly marked parts:-(1) The base or socket stone raised on steps to protect it. (2) The shaft, generally octagonal and tapered. (3) The head.

The site of the Memorial is just such a one as would have been chosen for one of these ancient Crosses; in an elevated position on a triangular position on a triangular site, where three roads converge.

The Cross consists of a base made up of four steps, the second one being much higher than the others, to form a seat, and the riser filled in with panels of flint, the top edge chamfered: the bottom step forms an octagon 12 feet in diameter. The socket stone is 5 feet square, the top being fixed 6 feet above the ground line. It is inscribed with the dedicatory inscription: “In honour of the men of Beccles who gave their lives for the country in the Great War, 1914-18,” and the names, regiment, or ship (restricted to those who died between the outbreak of war and November 11th, Armistice Day, 1918) of the fallen incised into a V section, slightly weathered on top and with a small projecting moulding to throw the rain of the face of the stone.

Pot of this rises the shaft, a square of 1 ft 6ins. merging into an octagon and tapered to 1 ft at the top, ornamented about a third of the way up with an elaborately carved wreath of laurel leaves, enclosing the sacred monogram, and finished at the top with a carved “knop”.

The height of this shaft from socket stone to top of “knop” is 16 ft.

The head is a simple cross 3 ft high with carved supports to strengthen the horizontal arms.

The total height of the monument is 25 ft, and its weight about 32 tons (18 tons concrete and 14 tons stone). It has been carefully executed in Portland stone by Mr HA King, Station Road, Beccles, from the design of Architect, Mr Gerald Cogswell, 2 Bedford Square, London.

The beauty of the design and the skill and workmanship in carrying it out have been the subject of universal approval. The immediate background was laid out last autumn with shrubs of various kinds, and these with the trees immediately adjacent form a fitting and admirable setting for the Memorial Cross.

The Committee invited Sir T Courtenay Warner, Bart, CB, MP, Brettenham Park, Suffolk, Lord Lieutenant of the County to unveil the Memorial; also the Ven Archdeacon Darling, MA, Eyke Rectory, Woodbridge, and the Rev. JA Pattern, MC, MA, of Ipswich to take part in the ceremony; and that the Navy and Army might be represented by distinguished officers of the Services, invitations were extended to the Naval Divisional Officer, Great Yarmouth, Commander HV Dundas, RN, 50 Fitzgeorge Avenue, Kensington, W, and Lieutenant Colonel CG Astley Cooper, DSO, RFA, Northwith House, Ipswich, who represented the Army. The Architect, Mr Gerald Cogwell, was also invited. The reception of the Lord Lieutenant and other guests by the Mayor and Corporation took place at the Town Hall at 2:30, after which the party left in motors for the site in St Marys Road, where Sir Courtenay Warner inspected the Guard of Honour. The Mayor (Councillor EA Mickleburgh), the Deputy Mayor (Councillor EJ Hindes), and the Town Clerk (Mr W Bryan Forward) were wearing their official robes. With the guests in the enclosure were the Rector and the Rev WE Davies, and other members of the Sub Committee.

The Mayor prefaced the unveiling by saying he esteemed it a great privilege to be present to assist in the first part of the ceremony of unveiling a Memorial to the men of Beccles who had fallen. This Memorial would stand for all time in memory of those who gave their lives that we might remain in peace. A greater Memorial, he trusted – a Memorial Hospital – would be erected, and it was up to them who remained, if they had any gratitude for those who fell in fighting our battles, to do all in their power to as soon as possible erect a Hospital which would keep them always in memory. He asked the Lord Lieutenant to unveil the Memorial Cross.

The ceremony continued with prayers and speeches during which the names of the 205 men who had fallen were read out by the Town Clerk.

Beccles Parish Church Memorial Chapel and Chancel Screen

The Crowfoot family had commissioned a new chancel screen for St Michaels in the years before the war, but it was not ready to be installed until the summer of 1914. With the outbreak of the war it was decided to leave the screen in storage. Towards the end of the war a decision was taken to add a further section to the work and dedicate it to the memory of those who died during the war. The following newspaper article reports the service of dedication marking the installation of the completed screen in 1920.

East Suffolk Gazette. 20 July 1920. Beccles War Memorial.

Dedication Service at the Parish Church. A special service for the dedication of the chancel screen in the Parish Church erected in the memory of Miss Elizabeth Crowfoot and the new Memorial Chapel to perpetuate the memory of the Beccles men who fell in the Great War, was held on Tuesday evening last.

The article then goes on to describe the service in detail and finishes with:

Many of the congregation remained behind to visit the memorial chapel, which although not yet completed (it is hoped to fill in the open arch in due course as funds permit), is furnished with altar, reredos and lectern, of waxed polished oak, chairs etc. ready for use by the public and private worship. An inscription at the bottom of the chapel screen on its west front, runs as follows: “To the glory of God and in grateful memory of the men of this Parish who gave their lives in the Great War, 1914-18, this Chapel was restored to its former use in AD 1920.

Mr WG Horseman of Southampton and London was the architect employed to design the beautiful screens, all of which are hand carved and erected by Messrs. Howard of Norwich. The alter cross which was specially designed from a 14th century model, bears the inscription “To the glory of God and in the memory of Brothers who fell in the Great War this cross is given by the Beccles Branch of the Girls Friendly Society AD 1920.” Other gifts to the chapel include the lectern by Mrs Mingaye; clergy stall by Mothers' Union; hymn books, prayer books, and Bible for the lectern; by anonymous friends; collecting plate by the Ravensmeer Mothers Meeting; book rest by the Infant Girls Ravensmeer Sunday School; Linen (two sets) by anonymous friends; carpet by another friend; three vases by another friend; support for alms desk, by Mr B Bunn.

There is an inscription along the bottom of the screen which reads “To the Glory of God and in grateful memory of the men of this Parish who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-18 this Chapel was restored to its former use in AD 1920.”

Beccles and District Memorial Hospital

Beccles Hospital in 1914 was situated in Fair Close and was need of replacement. Various plans had been discussed but the war brought an end to any hopes of a new building for the forseeable future. During the war additional hospital facilities were created in Fredericks Road and in a number of local country houses. In 1917 the idea of building a new hospital for the town and dedicating it to those who fought during the war was raised. As the outcome of the war became more certain the feeling that their should be a long term and useful memorial to those who had given so much became more established. In 1918 the Town Council launched a fund raising campaign, initially for some £7500 but eventually £12000, and the new hospital opened in 1924. The report below details the ceremony:

East Suffolk Gazette. 11 February 1924. The War Memorial Hospital at Beccles. Opening Date – February 16th.

The building of the War Memorial Hospital for Beccles and District having now been completed, its opening will take place on Saturday, the 16th inst., at 2:30 pm, when the initial service will be rendered by General Sir Anthony Bowlby, KCB, KCMG, KCVO. The new Hospital has been erected on a site given by Mr Alec Elliott, with ample air space overlooking the Grange Estate, and approached by way of St Mary's Road. It has been built in red brick with red pantile roof in a style reminiscent of the Flemish influence which obtains in the Eastern Counties, under the supervision of a Construction Committee consisting of Messrs. CL Harnby, E Johnson Hindes, JP Larkman, EA Thompson, CG Napier Trollope (Chairman), and Dr HG Wood Hill. The designer was Mr E Boardman (Boardman and Sons, Architects, Norwich), and the builders Messrs. Thurman Ltd of Felixstowe, who have carried out the work to the entire satisfaction of the Committee, and it may be added that the subscribers who have been privileged to inspect the work. The building has cost about £12,000 raised by public subscriptions and special gifts.

The article goes on to name particular donors and describe the hospital, its gardens and facilities and the plans for the opening ceremony in detail.