Hale War Memorial Centenary

Friday, 11 March, 2022, marks the centenary of Hale War Memorial.

A memorial service will take place on Saturday 12 March at 3pm at the War Memorial, Broomfield Lane, Hale. All are welcome.

War Memorial

Hale War Memorial c.1950s. Trafford Local Studies collection, cat. ref. TL2967

Hale War Memorial is situated in the gardens at the junction of Hale Road and Broomfield Lane, Hale. Inscribed on bronze plaques are the names, rank and regiment of 156 men from Hale who died in the First World War. After the Second World War, a further 57 names were added, of those who gave their lives.

The Memorial is a Grade II Listed Building.

Letter sent to Hale residents by Hale Urban District Council (Hale UDC) War Memorial Committee regarding the plans to erect a war memorial.

Letter sent to Hale residents by Hale Urban District Council (Hale UDC) War Memorial Committee dated 5 December 1919, in respect of the plans to erect a war memorial. Trafford Local Studies collection, cat. ref. 9626389X

The memorial was designed by Frederick John Wilcoxson (1888 – 1974), instructor of Sculpture at the Royal College of Art in London. An extract from the Altrincham, Bowdon and Hale Guardian dated 15 March 1922 reads:

A model of the memorial was exhibited at the exhibition of the Royal Academy in 1922 and it received the commendation of many eminent critics. The figure was cast by Messrs. A. B. Burton and Co. and brings the monument to a total height of 23 feet. Mr Wilcoxson served his country overseas during the war and formed his idea of an appropriate memorial from what he actually saw while on active service. He has taken great pains to have every detail true to fact, and unquestionably, has evolved a statue of such striking force and character as to ensure himself a place in this country’s list of distinguished sculptors’. 

Hale War Memorial

Hale War Memorial brochure. Trafford Local Studies collection, cat. ref. 9626389X

"Bronze statue. 7 feet high on a simple pedestal in Portland stone. It depicts a soldier, not of the parade ground, but of the battlefield. He is shown in full equipment, gas-mask at the ‘alert’, and round his legs are wound sacks tied on with string, a protective measure against cold and the mud of Flanders much practised by the English soldier. His wounded arm is expressive of the battle from which he has just emerged. The helmet of his adversary being introduced as a symbol of Victory’".

‘Crowds at unveiling ceremony’ from Altrincham, Bowdon and Hale Guardian

Crowds at unveiling ceremony’ from Altrincham, Bowdon and Hale Guardian, dated 15 March 1922. Trafford Local Studies collection (on microfilm)

Hale war memorial was unveiled by General Sir Henry de Beauvoir de Lisle (1864 - 1955), a British Army Officer, who served in both the Second Boer War and the First World War. 

The Bishop of Chester, after dedicating the memorial, remarked:

“Your memorial has taken a form unlike that of most. It seems to represent the grim reality of war. There it is, that calm, strong figure, in full military accoutrements and bowed, so it seems by the burden of incessant toil, incessant watchfulness. Well, here it stands for you and I beg you to form the habit of turning the head just a little bit, and lifting your eyes to the memorial, which preserves for you forever, the memory of something like a realisation of the cost at which the war was won. Turn to it first of all with the thought of that, and quietly thank them once again. You knew them. You loved them, you grieved to have lost them, but thank them once more for a debt which there is no making even so much as an effort to repay”.

‘Jottings’ from the Altrincham, Bowdon and Hale Guardian

‘Jottings’ from Altrincham, Bowdon and Hale Guardian, dated 15 March 1922. A report on the unveiling of Hale War Memorial, which took place on 11 March 1922. Trafford Local Studies collection (on Microfilm).

Hale Road, Hale

Hale Road, Hale c.1920s. Trafford Local Studies collection, cat. ref. TL0340

Hale War Memorial 2022

Photograph of Hale War Memorial, 6 March 2022, courtesy of P. Jones.

Sources

Altrincham Bowdon and Hale Guardian dated 15 March 1922

Trafford Lifetimes

Trafford War Dead Dedicated to remembering those that fought in both world wars for our freedom. (traffordwardead.co.uk)

R.N.Dore: A History of Hale, Cheshire. From Domesday to Dormitory

Hale War Memorial Centenary