Commemorating the 100th anniversary of Godley Hill War Memorial

The dedication ceremony for the Godley Hill War Memorial in Hyde took place exactly 100 years ago last Friday.

Then, members of the St Stephen’s (Guide Bridge) Church Lads’ Brigade led a parade featuring many ex-servicemen which set off from nearby Godley Arches.

After the singing of ‘O God Our Help in Ages Past’ prayers were led by the Rev FH.Coveney of St John’s Church, Godley. Members of Hyde Choral Society then sang ‘Into the Silent Land.’

Daniel Adamson of Longlands House, Mottram Road, then unveiled the memorial and made a short speech noting that £130 had been raised. More singing followed, and the ceremony concluded with the Last Post.

Mr GH Turner, chairman of the memorial committee, presided over the ceremony.

The monument is a small obelisk made of granite. In front is a cube-shaped white receptacle for holding flowers bearing the words ‘In memory of the fallen of Godley Hill.’

On the front is written: ‘Erected in honour and deep gratitude to the men who fought for liberty and freedom in the Great World War 1914-1919. Unveiled by Daniel Adamson of Longlands, July 17, 1920.’

Under ‘Fallen’ are the names Lt Daniel Adamson, Pte Alec Bowker, Gunner William Brookes, Pte Tom Eddings, Sgt John Purssglove, 1914-1919.

1939-1945: Pte Eric Ballaens, Pilot Officer Harry N Davies DFC, Flight Engineer Sergeant Harold Jackson, Pte Ernest Miller, Pte Joseph Miller.

Back - Sgt Ernest Beal, Sgt Alfred Barton, Pte David Bardsley, Pte William Bullough, Cpl George Gibson, Sgt RP Hutchin, Driver William Hughes, Pte Fred Howarth, Driver William Knowles, Pte William Kirkham, Lt Ernest Lee, Pte William Smalley, Pte James Taylor, Pte Ernest Wilkinson, Pte Thomas Wilkinson, Pte Harold Widdowson, Pte Walter Walker.

Left - Lt George R Adamson, Pte Sidney Beal, Pte Harry Critchlow, Pte Frank Critchlow, Cpl George Coombes, Sapper Vere Foster, Pte Edward Hewitt, Driver William Jackson, Pte Herbert Jones, Pte Arthur Jones, Sgt J William Oldham, Pte Frank Oldham, Pte Herbert A Price, Gunner John Swann, Pte Edward Smith, Gunner J William Turner, Pte Arthur Fernley.

The 1939-45 panel was unveiled on June 5, 1949, by Mr EJ Cobbett who had attended the 1920 ceremony. The panel was dedicated by the vicar of St John’s, Godley, the Rev Sammy May.

A century on from the original dedication and a select number of people of Godley Hill and beyond assembled - at a social distance - to remember these men and commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the unveiling. 

For the event the monument was decorated with flowers, red ribbons, crocheted poppies, and wooden discs baring the names of the men from the memorial. 

The Rev Paul Stringer of Hyde Methodists Church led the socially distanced service with representatives from the Royal British Legion, SAFA, members of Hyde Council, Godley Scouts, Godley Community Primary School, Hyde War Memorial Trust and the Mayor of Tameside, Janet Cooper, of whom this was her first official event since the lockdown began. 

Everyone was welcomed to the service, with apologies for the lack of hymns due to the unusual times we are living in. 

The Rev Paul Stringer gave a reading and prayer, followed by the Mayor of Tameside, then wreaths were laid, before the Last Post was played, a two minute silence held to remember the fallen, and then Reveille. The service was closed with The Lord’s Prayer. 

It was a peaceful service, held in unusual times to commemorate a very special memorial.

Images and video by Nigel Wood

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