Centenary of the Unveiling of the Wayside Cross Memorial to WW1, Kingsley

Kingsley’s War Memorial was unveiled on Sunday, 20th February 1921, (the photograph below depicts the occasion). In fact, there are two memorials, a plaque in St. Werburgh’s Church and a Wayside Cross on Dovedale Road, at its junction with Church Street. (Dovedale Road was a field in 1921).

Unveiling of Wayside Cross February 1921

The cost of Kingsley’s plaque was met by parishioners and friends of the men who had died. The Wayside Cross was paid for by the parents of Robert Myles-Heywood, in honour of their son’s memory and in memory of the men from the parish who also died in the war.

It is not clear why the Heywood’s chose this spot for their son’s memorial. However, they had close links with St. Werburgh’s Church for a number of years and they were friends of the Bolton family whose factory was at Froghall.

A comprehensive report of the event was recorded in either the Cheadle and Tean Times or the Cheadle Herald and it is reproduced here. The newspapers in which the report appeared are no longer available.

‘Impressive service took place in Kingsley afternoon, when the memorial tablet erected on the west wall of the church, and the wayside cross were unveiled’ The former has been erected by the parishioners and others, and is a handsome tribute, in white marble on a grey marble slab, to the memory of those from this parish who made the great sacrifice in the late war. The wayside cross erected by the roadside leading from the church on to Froghall, is also a handsome monument standing some 17ft. high from a stone base. It is made of Hollington stone, and has been erected by Mr and Mrs H. Heywood, of Hales Hall, Cheadle, to the memory of their only child, Robert Myles Heywood, who died of wounds on February 15th 1915. This also bears the names of the Kingsley men who fell in action.

The proceedings commenced soon after two o’clock, when 50 or 60 of the ex-service men were marshalled on the Oak Bank by Lieut. T. Alcock, and, accompanied by the schoolchildren, tradespeople and others.

Meanwhile a large congregation was assembling in the church, and by the time that the ex­ Servicemen were seated the church was filled to overflowing. There must have been two or three hundred people unable to find accommodation, but these remained in the precincts of the church. Amongst the congregation were Mr. and Mrs. R. Heywood, Colonel Crooke (cousin of Mrs. Heywood, Dr. and Mrs. Bearblock, and Mr. E.J. and Mrs. Bolton, Oakamoor, and many other prominent local residents.

The service was most impressive, and the hymns were well sung by the vast congregation. The clergy present were the Rector (the Rev. W. G. Mayne), and the Rev. J.H.J. Daggar (Foxt with Whiston), and the Rev. S.H. Hoare (Hanley), formerly chaplain to the Overseas Forces, who preached a sermon most appropriate to the occasion. He particularly laid stress on the great sacrifices made by the mothers and wives in the loss of their loved ones.

Previous to the sermon the memorial tablet erected by the public was handed over to the care of the church by Mrs. Jas Bradshaw, sen., on behalf of the subscribers and from the rectory.

As the clergy and choir left the church to proceed to the wayside cross, the recessional hymn, “For All the Saints,” was sung. Mr. Holbrook was the organist.  The collection for St. Dunstan’s Hostel was £14.

Rarely, if ever, has a larger concourse of people assembled in Kingsley than that which attended the simple but beautiful service by the wayside. The roadway was lined and the banks too, albeit a more orderly or reverent crowd never were together. Every word of the Rector’s dedication was listened to eagerly, and as Mrs.Bearblock unfurled the Union Jack from the base of the Cross the silence was most impressive. Then the whole congregation joined in the singing of the hymn O God Our Help In Ages Past, the band accompanying.

Dr.Bearbrook added a few words to the excellent sermon heard in the church, and said, could he have his way, he would have erected throughout England these wayside crosses as a reminder for the great sacrifices made by these heroes.

Still another impressive part was seen when the whole of the ex-servicemen

filed singly past the cross, and each one saluted to the memory of his comrades.

Wreaths were then deposited at the foot of the Cross, these including the following: –

“In grateful memory, from the subscribers to the tablet”;

“In loving memory of our dear son Gunner G.Ramsell”;

“In memory of the members of the Kingsley Reading Room”;

“In sacred remembrance of G.H.Smith, from his father, mother, brothers and sisters”;

“In loving memory of our dear brother, Geo.Ramsell”;

“Kingsley United Service Club, in memory of our fallen comrades, also    Lieut. Heywood, of Hales Hall, from ex-servicemen of the parish”;

“In loving memory of Pte. Brindley, from mother and family”;

“In fond remembrance of Pte.Geo.Wheawall”;

“In remembrance of Jas.Poyser”;

“In memory of fallen heroes, from the Kingsley Red Cross Society.”

Both during the service in the church and at the Cross, the “Last Post” was sounded by Mr Ralph Hall.

The tablet in the church, which is the work of Messrs. Mellor, of Burslem, bears the following inscription: “To the Glory of God and grateful memory of the men of this parish who gave their lives for their King and Country in the Great War, 4th August 1914 -11th November 1918.

Geo.H.Smith, Sept  22nd  1914;

Robert  M.Heywood,  Feb 15th  1915;

Rowland  A.I.Beech, Feb 21st,  1915;

Thomas Salt, Oct 9th 1915;

James Poyser, March 16th, 1916;

Charles Allen Aug. 12th, 1916;

Isaac Hammond, Aug 31st, 1916;

Arthur Keene, Oct. 12th, 1916;

Thomas Clowes, Oct. 19th, 1916;

Ernest Upton, April 9th, 1917;

George Fallows, April 19th, 1917;

Edward E. Bradshaw, May 21st, 1917;

George Wheawall, Aug.8th, 1917;

Thomas Barker, Aug.8th, 1917;

Rowland J. Burston Dec.12th, 1917;

James Meakin, Jan. 20th, 1918;

Jas.H.Wildgoose, May 8th, 1918;

Colin Capewell, May 26th, 1918;

George Ramsell, Aug. 8th, 1918;

Moses Holland, Oct 5th, 1918;

Wm. Brindley, Nov 2nd, 1918;

John W. Salt, Nov 18th, 1918;

Kenneth R Lovatt, Dec 5th ,1918;

Rowland J Beech, Aug 30th, 1919;

Erected by the parishioners and other friends.

The inscription at the base of the cross is as follows: “Robert Myles Heywood, of Hales Hall, Cheadle, Lieut., 2nd Batt. The Buffs, born Feb. 1st, 1884, died Feb. 15th 1915, of wounds received in action near Ypres, Feb.14th, ‘ln Domino Confido.’ Erected by his parents in cherished remembrance of their only child. Also in honoured memory of the men of Kingsley who laid down their lives for their country in the Great War 1914-1918. ‘They died that we might live.’

Interestingly, George Price-Bevans is listed on the Wayside Cross but for reasons unknown is not recorded on the St. Werburgh’s Plaque.  His listing on the Wayside Cross seems to have been a later addition as it is listed after Rowland Beech (Snr) who died before him.

Two other names who feature on the Wayside Cross, (G. W. Hood and J. Tideswell) appear to be later additions. They are inscribed under the names of men lost in WW2.

Each year Kingsley Parish holds two acts of Remembrance. On Armistice Day, (11th November), a service is held at the Wayside Cross in Dovedale Road. On Remembrance Sunday, a service is held in St. Werburgh’s Church.

Charles Hall – A Mystery Solved

As many will know Kenneth Unwin and I researched a book called all the Kingsley Men – you can download a copy here for free to beat the isolation blues.
Anyway, one man we researched was Charles Hall. He was an absent military voter in 1918 meaning he was in the army but registered to vote.
We found him referenced in a Cheadle and Tean Times article dated May 1918 which said he was in hospital in Edinburgh having been wounded by exploding shrapnel whilst bringing a man in from no man’s land. He was apparently recommended for a medal.
Try as we might I could not find any trace of a man bearing that name being awarded a medal nor unsurprisingly could we trace any record of him there being so many men of the same name.
Well, today I spent a short while looking at pension records that were not available when we did the research prior to the book being published.
I was looking for a Charles Hall who did not die and was born in 1895.
And I found him – he served with the London Regiment (2nd Batallion Royal Fusiliers) having initially joined the 5th North Staffs in mid-1917 and going to France in 1918.
He lived at 2 The Green Kingsley, another address that still exists and is a family home to this day.
He received a gunshot wound to the arm which fractured his upper arm and led to his discharge from the army some 12 months later. He was assessed as 20% disabled and received a pension until 1923 when his disability was removed. This was not necessarily due to recovery but due to the government of the day reviewing all pensions and removing many of them as finances were tight.
The battalion war diary makes no reference to the events that led to him being wounded (believed 13th May) and he certainly never got any award for his efforts.
He died locally in 1958 aged 63 years.

1918-2018 Commemorations a Year On

Its hard to believe that a whole year has passed since the community came together on 11th November last year to commemorate a hundred years since the guns had fallen silent as the ‘Great War’ came to an end.

Whilst its been a long time coming (plus a hacked website in between) there is now a page dedicated to the days evens along with pictures and some video.

That page can be found HERE

In addition, the download Ebook of All the Kingsley Men is still available via this link and its free

Peace Celebration 1919

Victory celebrations

Although hostilities ceased with the Armistice on 11 November 1918, the First World War did not end officially until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in June 1919. In Britain, peace was celebrated on 19 July that year, with a Victory Parade in London as the main event.

A camp for the troops taking part was set up in Kensington Gardens and thousands of civilians flocked to the capital for the festivities. Nearly 15,000 British Empire servicemen took part in the parade, led by Allied commanders including Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig and Marshal Ferdinand Foch.

Kingsley Peace Celebration 1919

It’s unclear what if any celebrations took place in Kingsley Parish. As stated above the date officially was 19th July. However commemorative mugs produced to mark the celebration locally seem to have been misprinted as they state the date of the celebration was 19th June.

We would be grateful if anyone has any stories, eapecially Kingsley related as regards the Peace Celebrations of a century ago.

Kingsley Peace Celebration Mug


The architect Sir Edwin Lutyens designed a cenotaph – an ’empty tomb’ to honour the dead – for the marching troops to salute as they passed along Whitehall. 

His simple and non-denominational monument was represented on the day of the Victory Parade by a temporary structure of wood and plaster. The permanent stone memorial was unveiled on Armistice Day 1920. It is now the scene of the annual National Service of Remembrance.


Celebrations and memorial services took place all over the country. But there was some criticism that this was too extravagant when so many ex-servicemen were now unemployed. 

In Manchester, demobilised soldiers marched with slogans like ‘Honour the dead – remember the living’, and to demand ‘work not charity’.

Some argued that the money would be better spent supporting returning servicemen who had suffered physical and mental injuries.


At a time when revolutionary ideas were sweeping across Europe, Lord Derby’s scheme was very unpopular. On 9 December 1918, men of the Royal Artillery stationed at Le Havre burnt down several depots in a riot.

On 3 January 1919, frustrated soldiers mutinied at Folkestone when they heard they were being sent back to France. Later that month, a mutiny at Calais involving around 20,000 men witnessed the temporary formation of soldiers’ councils.

Crisis averted

In response, the new Secretary of State for War, Winston Churchill, introduced a new scheme in January 1919.

Based on age, length of service and the number of wounds a man had received, it ensured that the longest-serving soldiers were generally demobilised first.

The new system defused a dangerous political situation, although problems still occurred.

Empire troops

Demobilised Commonwealth soldiers were often left waiting for long periods until transport could be found to ship them home. In March 1919, a mutiny at a Canadian camp in Rhyl was only suppressed after several men were killed.

The men had been living in overcrowded conditions and several had died of flu during the winter. Over 40 rioters were later court-martialled. Twenty-four were tried and convicted of mutiny, but many sentences were later commuted.

On the whole, however, demobilisation was a success.

Courtesy of National Army Museum https://www.nam.ac.uk/explore/peace-and-commemoration

John Salt died 100 years ago today

Despite the war especially on the western front over men were still dying as a result of it and of course the great flu pandemic that was sweeping the world.

John Salt was one man who survived the war but died a week later of influenza.

His story is an interesting one – he appears twice on the 1911 census, having a family in the Potteries and his parents on Kingsley Moor.

He joined up at the start of the war but was demobbed as not likely to make an effective soldier but at a later stage joined the Leicestershire Regiment. After the war, his old unit wrote to his father asking his whereabouts only to be told he had died serving another regiment.

To add confusion his name was recorded as SALIT on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and was only corrected during the last few years.

His story can be found HERE 

We do not as of yet have a picture of him – it would be very fitting if on this the centenary of his death that we could source one.

All The Kingsley Men – FREE download now available

The second edition is published today, the 11th November 2018. There are only 50 copies if you want one do get in touch via this page. We can post out.

There was always an intention to publish an online version of the book. A proper eBook was both costly and technically a challenge but via the link below you can download it in a PDF format which should be readable on most eBook readers, tablets, and computers.

All the Kingsley Men 2018


Remembrance Sunday Events Update

Final arrangements are now in place for Sundays events – we really do hope as many people as possible can make it.

To assist anyone thinking of coming to any of the events here are some key points from each of the three parts of the day.


6am War Memorial Dovedale Road

A Scottish Piper will be playing Battle’s Over’ and other regimental tunes as part of the nationwide Battles Over event.

Hot drinks and biscuits will be freely available to ward off the cold.

Parking – St Werburghs School Car Park and the Village Hall’s car park can be used. Please do not park on Dovedale Road and be mindful of blocking the farm entrance if you park on Church Street. The event will take around 15 to 20 minutes.

10.55am War Memorial Dovedale Road

The traditional Act of Remembrance will take place – please be in place for 10.50am. Again the car parks at the school and the village hall can be used. Be mindful not to block the farm entrance or impede vehicles entering and leaving the farm. Everyone is invited after to the church for a Remembrance service and afterward,s there will be free hot drinks and cake / biscuits.

6.50pm War Memorial Dovedale Road

Just prior to 6.55pm the names of 29 men will be read out followed by the Last Post and 2 minutes silence. At 7pm the beacon sited behind the War Memorial will be lit and five minutes later the bells of St Werburgh’s will ring out as they did 100 years ago. This event is again part of a national tribute under the Battle’s Over banner.

As the bells fade everyone is invited back to the church for hot soup and rolls, hot drinks, biscuits, and cake.

Again the car parks at the school and the village hall can be used. Be mindful not to block the farm entrance or impede vehicles entering and leaving the farm. Please do take care crossing the road as it will be dark and there may be a lot of people about.

At both the morning and evening events, the book All the Kingsley Men will be on sale as well as a small display of the research that went into the book.

We are also delighted to announce that a Roll of Honour has been designed and is now to be framed and hung in the village hall in due course. The roll contains the names of 182 men and a woman who served during the war and had links to the parish. A copy is attached here.



All the Kingsley Men 2nd Edition

Within hours of the launch of the first edition on 23rd April 2017, we had more men and more research to do.

Fast forward some 18 months and the second edition is back from the printers and all ready for the communities Remembrance Commemorations on Sunday 11th November 2018.

This edition brings the total of those included in the book to some 183 including a single female and 29 men who died during the war or after as a result of their service.

The book will be on sale at St Werburgh’s Church Kingsley after the morning service on Sunday 11th November 2018. Cost is £5 which covers the author’s costs to get the book printed. This is a limited edition of just 50 books. At the same time, a free download will be available from the site from 11am on 11th November.

Do contact us via the website should you wish to purchase a book but can’t make the church.

William Brindley died 100 Years Ago Today

War is always cruel and fate had it that William Brindley was to lose his life just 9 days before the end of the war. he was the twenty-third man with links to the parish to lose his life. His service record does not survive but he joined the army its believed in late 1917 and was posted to the Lancashire Fusiliers.

His father is not known and he was to some degree brought up by his grandmother. We have not traced any descendants and we have no picture of him.

Two members of the project team visited Williams grave which is situated on the roadside as you enter a French village in 2016. We wondered at the time if we were the first to specifically visit him and it’s likely we were. He lies with a number of his comrades who also lost their lives on that day. Two days later his battalion was withdrawn from what was their last engagement of the war.

Not far from where Williams battalion was positioned was the Manchester Regiment in which Wilfred Owen the war poet was a Lieutenant. He died on 4th November.

William’s story is to be found HERE

All the Kingsley Men Second Edition at the printers

In April 2017 when the book was first published we were under no illusion that our work was a definitive list of those men who came from the parish and who served in WW1.

Indeed on the launch day, we had one further man confirmed and in the coming weeks and months, another 21 men were identified mainly by our research following up further lines of enquiry.

Photos of existing men were unearthed and more became know of them.

In total the number now identified stands at 182 men and a woman who served with 29 dying during the war or after as a result of their service.

An online book was always the intention but in the last few weeks, we have decided to self-fund a small run of 50 second edition books. These are now at the printers and will we hope be ready to sell on 11th November at St Werburgh’s Church after the morning service.

The cost is £5 which will cover our costs.

Additionally, the online version will be available free of charge from this website on the same day.

Right up until the last minute more information was coming in. We are delighted to say we have been provided with a photo of Rowland Burston in uniform (he died in 1917) and also now know far more about Thomas Gibson who survived. Following a family death, his medals and photo’s were discovered and we are pleased to say his entry in the book is now fully updated.


Rowlands sister Frances married Thomas and we are hopeful we can shed more light on her two brothers who also served Ernest and Herbert but that work is ongoing.