Descendants of bereaved mothers who took part in Hinckley’s War Memorial unveiling 100 years ago identified

Mason Moore | Hinckley Reporter | 15 May 2022

DESCENDANTS of bereaved mothers who took part in the unveiling ceremony of Hinckley’s War Memorial one hundred years ago have been identified, following a recent public appeal.

Hinckley’s Garden of Remembrance, Argents Mead (Image: Mason Moore)

The families are set to attend a short ceremony inside of the Garden of Remembrance atop the Argents Mead park, at 10.45am on Friday, 20 May, one hundred years to the day that the memorial was dedicated.

As the Hinckley Free Press reported back on 2 May, members of the public are ‘warmly invited’ to attend the ceremony, as well as members of the armed forces, local dignitaries, civic leaders, schoolchildren, and local historians.

At the original unveiling ceremony of the War Memorial back in 1922, six bereaved mothers who each lost three sons in World War One (WWI) were invited to take part in the dedication service.

Local historian, Greg Drozdz, has traced descendants of some of the mothers so that they can be invited to the forthcoming centenary event, in five days’ time.

And, following the recently-issued public appeal, descendants of the remaining mothers have been identified.

Mr Drozdz was interested to find out that the descendants of the mothers are still living locally, with four living in Burbage, one from Earl Shilton, and another from Sapcote.

Mr Drozdz said: “With the clock ticking down to the commemoration on May 20th we have found the last family we were looking for in the nick of time.

“Through the detective work of Museum volunteer and family historian Jean Gilbert, we have traced descendants of the Dixon family. This will add greatly to the historic re dedication of the memorial.”

Ian Walker, Royal British Legion Standard Bearer, who is helping to organise the event with local historians and the Borough Council, has created a guest book to record attendance for posterity. This will then be placed in Hinckley Museum for use by future historians.

In a further echo of the past, local florists are creating a floral tribute representing the three armed services – the RAF, Air Force and Navy – along with a white cross covered in lilies inspired by the floral arrangement created for the original service.

Coun. Danny Findlay, the Borough Council’s Armed Forces Champion, said: “The memorial is the town’s focal point for loved ones and a place where the community comes together to pay their respects for those servicemen who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy today.

“We warmly invite everyone, and particularly descendants of the fallen, to join us for this very special ceremony.”

The War Memorial was built on part of Hinckley Castle, initially for those who died during World War one.

Designed by John Alfred Gotch, from Gotch and Saunders of Kettering, the memorial is an octagonal ashlar column is on a stepped base, which is surmounted by a bronze statue of a robed angelic figure with both arms outstretched with is the Angel of Mercy.

In November 1951 additional panels were added bearing the names of the people of Hinckley who lost their life during World War II.

Today, the memorial honours everyone from Hinckley who fell in the major wars and conflicts of the twentieth century.

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