At the end of 1918, as the country tried to return to normal after four long years of turmoil and terrible loss of lives, there was a general sense among communities that they wanted to show their gratitude to ‘those men who laid down their lives on our behalf.’ It was seen as especially important for those whose loved ones had no known grave in France or Belgium to have a monument of some kind; a symbol of remembrance.
Two War Memorial Committees were set up - one for North Collingham and one for South - as the village was then divided into two separate parishes, each with its own set of parishioners, church and parish council bodies. Both committees agreed that their parish churches and churchyards should be the location for whatever memorials were erected; All Saints’ in North Collingham, St John the Baptist’s in South Collingham. The memorial in St John the Baptist’s would also include men from Brough and Danethorpe.
Where the committees differed was on the type of monuments chosen. North Collingham opted for an outdoor monument ‘…in the centre of the new churchyard’ and a parishioners’ plaque inside the church. South Collingham decided against an outdoor memorial, fearing the inscriptions would ‘be obliterated with the passage of time.’ They instead favoured a stained-glass window as well as a bronze parishioners’ tablet. In addition, both parishes recorded the names of all the villagers who had been engaged in active service in a framed and glazed Roll of Honour.
In North Collingham, letters were sent to every householder on January 30th, 1919, appealing for donations. They must have had a positive response because by November 30th the parishioners were gathering for the unveiling service of the elegantly carved stone monument in the churchyard.
South Collingham were equally successful, raising enough funds (£324.1s 7d) to amply cover costs by August and even have enough extra to donate to the Institute for the Blind. However, it would be July 19th 1920 before they had their dedication and unveiling service.
The Baptist Church had a brass tablet to Pte Robert Hunt - this is now in the War Memorial Hall.
The Wesleyan Methodist Church had a rostrum erected and dedicated in honoured memory 'of those who fell and also those who served in the Great War.'
As well as the main memorials there are stained glass windows and tablets dedicated to loved ones by individual family members. St John the Baptist's also has Captain Thomas H C Woolley's battlefield cross. All such memorials are recorded and allocated a reference number on the Imperial War Museum's War Memorial Register.
Collingham's War Memorials Booklet
A limited edition of 'Collingham's War Memorials' published by Collingham Parish Council is available while stocks last. The booklet includes those who died in WW2 as well as WW1. Please contact the Parish Clerk to reserve a copy.
Alternatively, the full version can be downloaded as a pdf (see below). This might be more suitable for those who prefer larger print.