Badshot Lea War Memorial

Badshot Lea War Memorial

Title: Badshot Lea War Memorial
Description: Photographed by Maurice Hewins by-nc

From Badshot Lea and Farnham in the Great War by Maurice Hewins (2005)

The names of Badshot Lea’s fallen were inscribed on the Farnham War Memorial in Gostrey Meadow, which was unveiled on 10 April 1921.

Since an initial public meeting held on 5 February 1919, Badshot Lea had planned to have its own memorial. However, as in some other local villages, there was friction about the details. An unnamed correspondent wrote to the Farnham Herald about the feeling in Badshot Lea and the decision ‘to put memorial tablets in the Church and Primitive Methodist Chapel, because of insufficient funds for a memorial in a public open space’. He (or she) went on to call for a public meeting (Farnham Herald, 8/1/1921).

This provoked an angry reply in the Herald of 22/1/1921:

‘The only regret rife in the village is one of sharp regret that no more than £42 could be raised for the purpose of erecting an outdoor memorial for our fallen. The committee’s experience of public meetings – that these were never attended by more than a score of adults – led them to circularise the subscribers as to the disposal of the funds since the sum raised was obviously inadequate for the project. Accordingly each subscriber was given a slip on which to indicate whether his or her donation may go to a church or chapel memorial, or be divided. Of course donations are returnable. The disposal of the fund concerns the subscribers alone. It was impractical and also expensive to convene another meeting. W F Rankine, Hon Sec Memorial Committee.’

Fortunately a highly appropriate compromise was found:

‘At a meeting of the Farnham Council Schools Committee a letter from Mr Rankine was read, asking for permission to put the tablet on the outside wall of the school. Mrs Tice said the village had not raised enough money for the original scheme. The trouble was that the chapel people did not like the idea of the memorial being placed in the churchyard, which was originally agreed on. It was thought that the difficulty could be got over by using the school wall. The Rector, Rev Crum, said they did not wish to prevent the church and chapel people of Badshot Lea coming to a peaceful settlement.’

 (Farnham Herald. 19/2/1921)

The Committee sent a sympathetic letter asking for more details, and said it would need Surrey County Council approval. Having been given the proposed size and position of the tablet, the school managers recommended acceptance at their meeting on 2 March 1921. On 5 May they reported that County had given their permission, but it was a further two years before work was completed. It was finally ready for a service on Armistice Day 1923.

‘A most impressive service arranged by the united churches of Badshot Lea viz St George’s and the Primitive Methodists was held around the memorial tablet at the crossroads on Sunday at 10-45. A considerable number of ex-servicemen were present. The memorial was suitably draped and surrounded with wreathes. Notable was one from the Scouts on parade under Scoutmaster G Hansford. The service was conducted by Rev Metcalfe and Mr W G Green of Bagshot, with Mr Neal as organist. The silence was signalled by the Aldershot camp siren. The Last Post was played by an Artillery trumpeter.”

(Farnham Herald, 17/ 1/1923)

Click here for the men remembered on Badshot Lea War Memorial


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