ASHTEAD WAR MEMORIALS
The purpose of this website is to change the names on Ashtead's war memorials from just inscriptions back to people you know about, where they lived, their family amd possibly something about their lives. Where possible this begins with the formal detail of when and where they died, the unit they were serving with and so on.
It is hoped that over time members of their family or those the families of those who knew them may come forward with information and photos about the life behind the name. There may also be information from the local newspapers or church or club magazines of the time. Where the person is buried or commemorated elsewhere, perhaps someone will provide good quality images of the headstone.
Memorials in the village of Ashtead
The Rector, the Rev RA Waddilove, maintained worship at the two Ashtead churches throughout the [First World] war. Open-air services were held on Sunday evenings in summer after the Summertime Act came into force in 1916. There were memorial services to those killed in action, including one for Capt Kenneth J Maples on 30 May 1915, another for George Taylor of the Royal West Surreys on 27 Feb 1916, and a third, on 13 June 1916, for Lord Kitchener. The Rector was single-handed in 1918, the services alternating between St Giles' and St George's. Canon Hunter, former Vicar of Christchurch, Epsom, gave much assistance as did many other visiting clergy.
The British Legion Roll of Honour recorded the names of sixty-two Ashtead men who gave their lives in the First World War. Seventeen of these were 1914 volunteers, including ten privates and four officers. In 1934, the names on the Roll inscribed in the Golden Book were placed in a case in the chancel of St Giles' Church. A War Memorial was erected in 1920 close to the north-west corner of St George's Church.
In Woodfield Lane the foundation stone of Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall was laid on 21 June 1924. Sir Rowland Blades MP officially opened the Hall at a ceremony on 3 November 1924. A plaque in the Hall says In thankfulness for peace and in gratitude for those who brought it. It became and remains an important centre of village life.
The end of the [Second World] war [in Europe] was marked by a special service at St Giles' Church on 8 May 1945, celebrating VE or Victory in Europe Day. On the following Sunday afternoon a Thanksgiving Service was held with the British Legion, the Home Guard and other organisations taking part. The names of the 70 Ashtead men who fell in the war were added to the British Legion Roll of Honour and to the Ashtead War Memorial.
The Ashtead Branch of the Royal British Legion
This dates from 1924 and ever since then it has helped ex-service men and women, raising money for all manner of causes. These have included the renovation of the war memorial in 1926 and 1948/49, as well as its refurbishment in 1990/91.
from A HISTORY OF ASHTEAD edited by JC Stuttard (Leatherhead & District Local History Society, 1995): p120-24, p141, p215