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Saturday, 14 June 2008

Day out in Dalton part 2

When I first started looking at Great War memorials for my MA I thought it would be easy; a gentle jaunt round South Lakes taking a few pics, a few hours in the archives and Bingo!! A dissertation! How wrong I was! It soon became obvious that the listing at the IWM, upon which I was basing my research, was terribly incomplete. Great War memorials are everywhere, probably thousands of them, created from 1914 through to the present. Communities erected a multiplicity as individual churches, chapels, schools and businesses laid claim to their citizen soldiers. Dalton in Furness is a typical example. The large memorial on Station Road, to be shown in a later posting, is rightly considered to be the 'Town War Memorial'. But the presence of many others in the town shows that the processes of memorialisation after the Great War were much more complicated than the erection of a single, centralised memorial.


The first Dalton posting describes those in St Mary's parish church, though even this listing is unlikely to be complete - I didn't check every item of furniture, the communion plate, church warden's staffs or even the Bible in daily use. (At Mansergh the Bible used in every service has the names of the WW1 village dead on the fly page).

Beyond St Mary's there are more WW1 memorials. In Dalton castle, owned by the National Trust, there is a large unsigned brass plaque commemorating five men of the Dalton Co-operative Society who died.

It is unlikely to belong here. But where might it be from? In 2001 I received a letter from a long time resident of Dalton who remembered seeing a memorial in the co-operative buildings at the bottom of Chapel Street during the early 1990s. So is it from there? Almost certainly not. The castle's plaque has been in this position for many years; certainly more than twenty. But apparently there were a number of co-operative shops and offices in the town; so was the memorial from one of these? Don't know! Dalton resident required.

I have already posted a pic of Aircraftsman Redhead's memorial in the Methodist church, but this not the only one in that building. There is also a rather imposing marble plaque bearing the names of 16 men who died between 1914 - 1919, and as an afterthought one who died in 1921 'From the effects of the war'. A further 4 are named who died in the second war. (I will return to this interesting memorial in a later posting).

Finally, for the time being, there is a unsigned plaque in St Margaret's Catholic church with the names of 21 men who were killed in the Great War.

These, however, were not Catholics. Until, I think, the 1960s this was an Anglican church which became redundant before being adopted by the town's Catholic community.

Not finished with Dalton yet - there will be more described in part 3!!

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