Memory Lane: Roll of honour

First World War memorial board of 28 pupils from long-gone Church Road Council School, Thornton, found in a Yorkshire reclamation yard, installed, unveiled and rededicated in Millfield Science and Performing Arts College
First World War memorial board of 28 pupils from long-gone Church Road Council School, Thornton, found in a Yorkshire reclamation yard, installed, unveiled and rededicated in Millfield Science and Performing Arts College
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BRAVE old boys of a Fylde coast school, who died during the First World War, are once again having their memories honoured in a proper fashion.

The words “Lest We Forget”, which first appeared in Rudyard Kipling’s 1897 poem Recessional, take on new significance when you consider the shabby journey endured by a memorial plaque, unceremoniously dumped from its school walls, some years ago.

It now takes pride of place at Millfield Science and Performing Arts College, Thornton, where it has been installed and rededicated.

Yet, just a few months ago, the future of the plaque, which was languishing unwanted in a reclamation yard in Yorkshire, was far from guaranteed.

In March, an article appeared in the Bulletin of The Western Front Association (WFA) with a photograph of an unidentified memorial plaque from “a Church Road Council School”, listing old boys who had given their lives during the Great War. The caption with the photograph asked if anyone could identify where the school was.

The memorial, a large oak panel, had been found in a reclamation yard and bought by a WFA member, Trevor Spindler, who recognised the importance of returning this memorial to its community.

Tom Williams, a Thornton member of the WFA, whose aims are of furthering interest in the period 1914–1918 and to educate the public in the Great War, with particular reference to the Western Front, managed to identify the names listed, as well as come up with the school name.

Tom says: “The memorial board was dedicated to the boys of Church Road Council School, Thornton, who had given their lives in the First World War. It was unveiled on July 6, 1920 by Brigadier General G H Gater, director of education for Lancashire.

“It is tragic that it ended up where it did, so far away from the Fylde coast, but I am working on a roll of honour for the Thornton War Memorial and fortunately recognised some of the 28 names on the board.”

A few phone calls and emails later, and Tom was able to organise the collection of the memorial, which was returned to Thornton.

Tom is a member of North Fylde Rotary Club, which meets every Wednesday at 7.30pm at the Briardene Hotel, Cleveleys.

Members had no hesitation in agreeing to refurbish and install the memorial in Millfield Science and Performing Arts College, the successor to the old Church Road School.

Headteacher Sean Bullen was pleased to have the memorial erected at the school, taking its rightful place among the other honour boards that did manage to make their way safely from the old Church Road premises several decades ago.