By Jo Faulkner, Record Assistant
At the outbreak of the First World War, recruitment was enthusiastic in the close-knit village of Hutton Rudby. Most households had some connection to someone who had joined the armed forces or contributed to the war effort. Sadly, 32 men, with connections to the village would not return. They are listed on the war memorial which stands in the village (along with the names of a further 11 men who died between 1939 and 1945). This stone and marble obelisk was created by stonemason and war veteran Austin Watson and paid for by public subscription, which raised the £421 required.
A summary of the details of the creation of the village war memorial is recorded in the minute book of Hutton Rudby Parish Council. The public meeting held on 18th April 1919 had a ‘large attendance’. A war memorial committee of 7 was formed, chaired by John Hall, with J W Tarran as treasurer.
A large attendance was also described at the unveiling of the memorial on 20th November 1920. Presided over by John Hall, the large crowd was given a ‘well chosen address’ by Colonel John Ropner of Skuterskelfe Hall and a tribute was made by Captain B L Dorman of Enterpen Hall on behalf of the Comrades of War, an association to represent the rights of military veterans that was formed in 1917.
Besides these outdoor memorials, which are a feature of most towns and villages, many establishments within communities chose to commission their own, separate memorials, organised and funded entirely by the generosity of their own people. Churches and chapels, schools, sporting clubs and associations appealed for donations to create their own memorials.
Memorial at All Saints Church
The parish church of All Saints at Hutton Rudby appealed for contributions to fund an elaborate plaque, listing the men of the parish who had been lost. The Reverend Eddowes, who had arrived in the village during the war, seems to have been involved in fund raising efforts for both village and church.
A list of subscribers shows the treasurer was Allan Bowes-Wilson of Hutton House. The list includes the most prominent members of the community who were benefactors to the church, alongside many other names, which were well known in the village. No corner of society seems to have been untouched. The Blair’s of Linden Grove and the Bowes-Wilson family, who ran the sailcloth manufactory, had both lost sons. Doctor Snowden of Ravensthrope, Mr Milburn the village shopkeeper, the Chapmans of Highfield, and the Wilson’s of Mill House, suffered losses and all appear as subscribers to the church memorial tablet fund. It is very likely that every person who donated, had some connection to one of the fallen, through family, worship, school or work.
A quote for the cast bronze tablet mounted on Sicilian marble was provided by J Wippell & Co. The proposed fee was £270. The list of subscriptions raised shows that the total was £306 12s 5d, which also covered the costs of the installation and cartage.
The church tablet omits the names of five men who appear on the village memorial. There were no set rules governing decisions about which names should appear and the decision-making processes are not always clear. Committees drew up their own inclusion criteria, and being non-objective members of the community themselves, they may have been influenced by local and personal opinions.
In 2000 a book ‘Fallen Leaves’ was compiled at the request of Hutton Rudby Parish Council, as a Millennium memorial to all those with any connection to the village who lost their lives in both world wars.
See our introductory post on The Creation of North Yorkshire’s War Memorials
See the relevant entry on the War Memorials Register for Hutton Rudby, which includes a list of the names on the memorial