The Story of the Jacksdale Soldier – Part 1

The Unveiling – 9th July 1921
The Jacksdale Memorial was originally unveiled on Saturday, 9th July 1921 witnessed by a large gathering of village folk, some thousand or more in number, who had assembled on that sunny afternoon to honour friends and loved ones who had served or fallen in the Great War. They arrived in their Sunday best on this sacred but non Sabbath day, a sea of bodies crowned by bonnets and straw boaters, spilling over pavements into the road and common land beyond. The memorial was a breath-taking sight, its base be-decked by wreaths and floral tributes and high above, the soldier on top of the memorial had been carefully concealed by a Union Jack.

The Unveiling 1921

The Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser reported:-

On Saturday afternoon, in brilliant weather, the unveiling of Jacksdale, Pye Hill and Westwood Memorial to the men who fell, and Roll of Honour to the men who served in the Great War, took place before an enormous crowd. The ex-servicemen of the district fell in at various points and linked up in a main body, headed by Selston Band, from the Westwood Schools. An impressive scene was created by the large body of men, who as the memorial was approached, fell into the slow march, the band playing the Dead March. The ceremony of unveiling was under the presidency of Mr B. Mc Laren, and opened with the hymn, “Fight the good fight”. Sentences were read by the Rev. R.D. Weller, vicar of Selston, and the Pye Hill and District Male Voice Choir rendered a touching tribute when they sang the ‘Sacrementum Supremum’. A short lesson was read by Rev. W. Cherry, followed by the hymn, “O God, our help in ages past.”

At the close of the hymn, Mrs McLaren, in well-chosen remarks, unveiled the memorial, after which the Last Post was sounded. Prayers were then said by the Rev. M. Dobinson. The Rev. F.J. Kahn, vice-president, gave a short address, followed by another item by the Male Voice Choir, entitled, “Soldier, rest”. During the closing hymn, “Abide with me,” the friends and relatives of the fallen placed their tributes of flowers and wreaths at the base of the memorial. The benediction was then pronounced, followed by the National Anthem.

The memorial, which stands on a triangular piece of ground near the Co-operative Stores, is an impressive monument, 14ft 6in. high, by Beresford & Son, and was erected at a cost of £440. It has a square base and pedestal of Stancliffe stone, surmounted by a soldier in Carrara marble. The front panel, a marble slab, contains the names of those who made the supreme sacrifice from Pye Hill, Jacksdale and Westwood, and the list of forty-five names is headed by, “By their sacrifice we live”. The other three sides are also mounted with a marble slab, and each one contains the names of those who served, numbering in all 255, and headed “Served, 1914 – 1918.” A presentation was made to C.Q.M.S. G. Mills, M.S.M., of a purse containing £7. Private A. Tansey, on behalf of the ex-servicemen, presented Mrs McLaren with an attaché writing case, in recognition of her services to the soldiers during the war.

About 250 ex-servicemen and relatives were afterwards entertained to tea in the Jacksdale Council Schools. An interesting item is that during the war no less than £13,000 was raised in the district, including the ironworks and collieries, for the soldiers, sailors and dependants. The Committee of the Jacksdale, Pye Hill and Westwood Honours and Memorial Fund assisted by their indefatigable secretary, Mr R.E. Naylor, are to be congratulated on the splendid work they have done for the soldiers and sailors.