Nostalgia with Margaret Watson: Special procession to Crow Nest Park memorial

HEROES REMEMBERED The ceremony to unveil Dewsbury's war memorial in Crow Nest Park in September 1924.
HEROES REMEMBERED The ceremony to unveil Dewsbury's war memorial in Crow Nest Park in September 1924.

For the first time in almost 40 years, on Remembrance Sunday there will be a procession from Dewsbury town centre to Crow Nest Park where a service will be held and wreaths will be laid at the war memorial.

But it is unlikely that procession will be anything like as big as the one held in 1924 when thousands turned out to see the unveiling of this impressive memorial.

The organisers had arranged the unveiling ceremony for a Saturday afternoon so as not to coincide with church services on a Sunday, and also to be after the mills had closed down on Saturday lunchtime.

Among the vast crowds were many of those Dewsbury men who had fought in the Great War and lost comrades. Also in the procession were hundreds of the relatives of those whose names were on the memorial.

The memorial was unveiled by Lieut Sir Walter P Braithwaite.

The Vicar of Dewsbury, the Rev Canon Wolde, said the opening prayers and Lieut Col the Reverend D Tait Patterson, said the prayers of thanksgiving.

The memorial had been paid for mainly by public subscription, and Alderman Naylor, chairman of the war memorial committee, which had helped raise the money, asked the Mayor, Councillor W H Shaw, to accept the memorial on behalf of the County Borough of Dewsbury.

The hymns sung at the ceremony were O God our help in ages past, and For all the saints who from their labours rest.

The last verse, much appreciated by the crowds, was the following:

“The golden evening brightens in the west;

“Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;

“Sweet is the calm of Paradise the blest.


This was followed by the buglers sounding The Last Post, followed by one minute’s silence.

The buglers then sounded the Reveille, followed by the benediction and the National Anthem.

A wreath was then placed on the memorial by the Mayoress on behalf of the people of Dewsbury, followed by members of the public placing their own.

By the end of the day, the memorial was covered in poppies, both in wreath and posy form.

Over the last year, and in some cases the year before, many local people have been involved in researching the First World War to make sure that Dewsbury’s heroes are not forgotten.

British Legion member Bernard Woods, a former Post Office worker, has compiled a record of the eight men from Dewsbury Post Office killed in action, and I hope in coming weeks to write more about this.

Betty Goodwin, a member of Earlsheaton History Group, has been researching those men from Earlsheaton who gave their lives and whose names are on the Earlsheaton War Memorial.

Betty is also working alongside Peter Bennett, Stuart Hartley, Alan Kaye, Christine Leveridge and the Friends of Crow Nest Park to research the names of those on the memorial.

Christine Leveridge has also been researching the men from St John’s Church, Dewsbury Moor, who gave their lives.

Many more individuals and groups have been doing their bit, and it has been no easy task because there are over 1,000 names on the memorial.

The month of November is the time we remember those who have died in all wars, but this year – the 100th anniversary of the commencement of World War One – the emphasis has been on those who died in this particular war.

Month by month I have tried to include the men from Dewsbury who died, with the details kindly given by the group mentioned above.

The following are the names of the six men who died during November 1914, and whose names are on the memorial:

Joseph Pickard, of Grosvenor Street, Savile Town, who fell on November 6. He died of his wounds in the Western European theatre of war. He is also commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

Peter Spelman, who fell on the November 7, a private in the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He had spent some time living with his sister in Dewsbury. His name is also on the St Paulinus memorial.

Dennis Cuddy (also known as Melia), of the Royal Fusiliers, killed on the November 11. Much has been made of the part played by this regiment in the opening months of the war, for they provided the first recipients of the Victoria Cross.

George Osborne, a private of the 1st Bn Scots Guards, killed at Ypres on November 12. He was the only son of Mrs Osborne, of Brick Row, Dewsbury Moor. A regular soldier, who had seen service in Egypt. He was aged 21.

Joseph Slater, of Leeds Road, a senior reserve attendant in the Royal Naval Auxiliary Sick Berth Reserve HMS Pembroke, who was killed on November 19. The son of Matthew and Jane Slater, he was the husband of Violet, and was aged 51. There is a special memorial of him at St Paul’s Churchyard Hanging Heaton.

Finally, we come to the great mystery of Crow Nest war memorial and also the names in the St Paulinus Book of Soldiers killed.

The name on both memorials is that of John Farlington, killed on November 21.

No other information exists about him despite years of patient research, but recently local military historians, Peter Bennett and Alan Kaye, have come to the conclusion that there may have been a spelling mistake regarding his name.

They now believe he was in fact called John Tarleton. a native of Bradford, who married a lady in 1913 whose maiden name was Jolly. He was a Private of the 2nd Bn Yorkshire Regiment and is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery. It is believed he had relatives in Dewsbury who attended St Paulinus Church and perhaps they requested his inclusion on both war memorials.

However, if anyone has any information regarding this man, please contact either Peter or Alan via or

Just to remind local people, the Remembrance service in Dewsbury on Sunday is at 10.30am in Dewsbury Minster Church. This will be followed by the procession to Crow Nest Park for laying of wreaths and a service conducted by the Rev Canon Kevin Partington. This has normally been carried out at the Gardens of Remembrance in Longcauseway.