There was a poignant ceremony conducted at a war memorial in Coulsdon last week, in conjunction with the other solemn Remembrance services.
At the Marlpit Lane War Memorial, 104 years after the end of the First World War, the names of 16 local men were finally added to those who are remembered, unveiled for the first time, carved in stone.
Carole Skinner, who did much of the research on World War I and the people around Coulsdon and its two war memorials – at Old Coulsdon as well as Marlpit Lane Memorial Park – says that there’s no one reason that any of the 16 were never included on the memorial when it was first commissioned.
But thanks to Skinner’s work, the help of four residents’ associations, a local stonemason and the council’s parks department, an important step was taken last Friday, November 11, to ensure that these men’s sacrifices will always be remembered, alongside their brothers in arms.
The memorial was dedicated in 1921, standing at the top of a hillside in the park.
A plaque was added for the names of those lost in World War II, but because the 101-year-old memorial is now a listed structure, Skinner and her team were unable to simply add the 16 names to the existing tablets.
There were, however, two areas in the floor space immediately in front of the memorial which had been mended with concrete and which the East Coulsdon Residents’ Association arranged to have dug out and replaced with stone – carefully matching the memorial – with the 16 names included.
Skinner told Inside Croydon that some of the 16 were traced from Commonwealth War Graves Commission records: they had Coulsdon addresses but were not named on the local memorial. They include one who died one month after the war had ended.
“Other men were named on the Roll of Honour that hung in St Andrew’s Church porch in the early years of the war, but were missed from the Church Memorial,” Skinner said.
“One man died of his wounds after the Marlpit Lane Memorial list of names was written and was therefore omitted.
“Another man was killed in action shortly after his wife died, so maybe there was no one to put his name forward for inclusion on the memorial.
“Two men were attendants at Netherne Asylum and in the chaos of war not listed elsewhere.
“Most war memorials have some names of their local war dead missing, some such as Merstham have even mistakenly named someone who didn’t die!
“After the upheaval of World War I, it is incredible to think that the local committee was organised enough to raise money to build the memorial, sort out the design and construction as well collecting names of local war dead.”
Coulsdon’s 16 Missing Names
These are the names unveiled at the special ceremony conducted on November 11, 2022:
Leonard Barnes LCpl East Yorkshire Regiment, married Elsie Hewitt of Reigate, died 20 September 1914 age 31 years
James Beckenham Rifleman Kings Royal Rifle Corps died 20 August 1917 age 20, son of Francis and Ellen Beckenham of Chamberlain’s Cottage, Chipstead Valley Road
John Edward Bovington Pte Queens (Royal West Surrey) died 6 November 1915. Employed as a nurse at Netherne Asylum
Vivian F S Crawford Lt East Surrey Regiment, son of Rev John Crawford, Chaplain at Cane Hill Asylum, died from wounds sustained on active service
George Albert Crick MM East Surrey Regiment died 12 October 1917 age 23 years, husband of Emma of Stoats Nest Road
Sydney Nelson Crowther Royal Engineers, born Croydon, died 18 October 1914, named on St Andrew’s Church Roll of Honour
F M Gregory Rifleman Kings Royal Rifle Corps, died 2 November 1914 age 29, husband of the late Annie Rose Gregory, son of John and Hester Gregory
John Hayler Driver 38331 Royal Engineers died 1 May 1918 age 20 years, son of John and Jemima Hayler of 1 Woodcote Grove Cottage, Coulsdon
F Lee named on St Andrew’s Church Coulsdon Roll of Honour
Guy Steer Long 2nd Lt Suffolk Regiment died 28 September 1916 age 26 years, son of George and Blanche Long of 78 Reddown Road, Coulsdon
Henry Archibald Long Lt Northumberland Fusiliers died 15 September 1916 age 31, son of George and Blanche Long of 78 Reddown Road, Coulsdon
Percy Edwin Mean LCpl London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) died 1 July 1916 age 26, son of Frederick Mean of ‘Crosby,’ Reddown Road, Coulsdon
William Arthur Mills Sgt Royal Welsh Fusiliers died 20 March 1919 age 21, son of Gertrude Arnell of Coulsdon, Surrey
Lawrence Arthur Skeen Pte Kings Shropshire Light Infantry died 19 September 1918 age 28, son of Walter and Hettie Skeen of ‘Knighton’, Red Down Road
G J Taylor MM CSM London Regiment (Queen’s Westminster Rifles) died 10 December 1918 age 34, only son of Noah and Elizabeth Taylor of Rose Cottage, Brighton Road
John Voice Pte Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment died 2 September 1918 age 29, employed at Netherne Asylum, son of Edward and Ellen Voice
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