by Angela Parton (with thanks from Feltham History Group, Feltham Local studies Dept and FHB Appreciation Society, Facebook page for info and photos)
In January 1919 The General Purposes Committee has under consideration the proposed War memorial for Feltham. To discuss the form this will take. A sub-committee was appointed THE WAR MEMORIAL COMMITTEE. Which comprised of the Vicar of St Dunstans, numerous councllors and local businessmen. (Mr H. Langford, Mr Carter, Mr E.T Pascoe, Mr J.A Parker, Mr A.W Musk, (who lost his only son), Mrs Browell, Mr W.Lee-Uff, Mrs Tom Parker, the Rev F.J Browell, Mr Arnold Moore, Mr A. Colarossi (who Father was the model for EROS, in Piccadilly Circus) and Mr Horace Garland).
Eros statue Piccadilly Circus, London
There was many discussions and ideas what form the memorial would take. Maybe a club for discharged soliders and sailors suggested by Mr John Wilmot Ministrer of the Independent church. A notice was placed in the paper of a public meeting on the War memorial which will be held on Wednesday 29th January 1919 at 8pm at the Council School Hanworth Road, Feltham.
At the public meeting suggestions included a Clock in the tower of St Catherine's church, A free public Library, a monument in a public area, also a public bathing space.
June 1919 the War Memorial Committee considers scheme after the public meeting and unanimously agreed for a Clock to be erected in St Catherines church steeple, and a tablet of the fallen to be placed outside.
September 1919 great interest is shown by the public and ex-servicemen on havng a memorial hall bult. Through the peace celebrations approximately £3250.00 was collected. Also lengthy discussons was had about the wooden cenotaph on the green. Unfortunately Mr L. Lloyd Jones member of the committee asked to be released of his duties as a protest of the temporary wooden cenotaph.
The idea of a clock didnt come about due to the structure of St Catherines steeple wasnt suitable. So the idea of a more permanent cenotaph like the one in Whitehall placed on the green was considered.
In February 1920 site sanctioned and a request that the permanent stone cenotaph should be placed between the pond and the High street, but there would be problems as they would have to take part of the pond away. Mr Coleman said that discussions had been put forward to fill the pond in by Mr Colarossi (who wanted to fill the pond in for a recreation ground and put the Cenotaph on the island).
Very gladly Mr Colarossi didnt get his way, but only partial filling of the pond to accomodate the portland stone permanent War Memorial which we know and love today was erected. On 2nd October 1920 Rear Admiral Sir Roger Keyes RN, GCB, KCV O, CMG, DSO unveiled our war memorial.
There has always been a question raised why such highly decorated Admiral came to little old Feltham to unveil our Memorial. Through great research I think have come up with one reason, which brought a little tear to my eye and even greater pride towards my town.
It was maybe through the contents of a letter written by the Secretary of the War Memorial Committee Mr W. Lee-Uff inviting Admiral Keyes. I think there is more to this, that further research is needed. As Keyes spoke of this in his speech before unveiling the Memorial.
Extract from Middlesex Chronicle documentating the unveiling and words said by Keyes.
Rear Admiral Sir Roger Keyes
For observance of the first anniversary of the Armistice in 1919 the Feltham Urban District Council erected on Feltham Green a temporary timber monument.
Timber War Memorial, Feltham Green 1919
The photo above shows Rev Browell and the father of Feltham Council John Waldegrave Daines leading the service - this was in mid-summer as the attire and trees in full leaf attest. The War Memorial we have 'today' was funded by public subscription and cost £370. It is of Portland stone on a concrete base and carries 123 names (someadded of recent times) of local dead from WW1.
Also one of the 14 plane trees was removed so that the cenotaph could be made more visual along the High St. When this was done no one knows. If you count the plane trees number today you will see there is only 12, the other one blow down in a storm.
Portland Stone War Memorial, High St front of Feltham Green 1924