Oldfield Park Junior School (Bath) WW1 Memorial Project
Bath YMCA WW1 Memorial
This memorial is currently missing, having originally been installed in the hall of the YMCA in Broad Street in 1920, where it is believed to have been displayed alongside the memorial to the YMCA Scouts (also missing). Enquiries at the YMCA reveal that no-one knows what has happened to the memorials.
We do know what the memorial looked like from the following newspaper photograph and it makes one wonder how such a fine and large piece of craftsmanship could ever just 'disappear' when the organisation has not moved and is still using the rooms:
Fortunately, the names of those commemorated on the YMCA memorial are at least known and are included in this contemporary newspaper report.
From Bath Weekly Chronicle & Gazette, 6th November 1920:
Tablet to Soldier Members.
Unveiled by Captain C. T. Foxcroft, M.P.
On Sunday afternoon the memorial tablet which has been placed in the Jubilee Hall, Broad Street, to commemorate the members of the Bath Y.M.C.A. who perished in the war was unveiled by Captain C. T. Foxcroft, M.P., in the presence of many of the principal members of the Western Divisional Association Conference, which assembled in Bath on Saturday. Many of the relatives of the fallen attended the service, and one of the principal spectators of the ceremony was the Mayor (Alderman. Percy Jackman).
The service commenced with the singing of the hymn, "For all the Saints", and prayers were then read by the Rector of Walcot (President of the Bath Y.M.C.A.)
The general secretary (Mr. W. H. Foster) then read the names on the memorial.
HEROES' UNDYING LIVES
Before performing the unveiling ceremony Captain Foxcroft gave a brief address. He remarked that the list fallen members was a sadly long one. but for that very reason it was a list which they might well be proud. Continuing, Captain Foxcroft said it was a good thing, amid the lack of patriotism and the selfishness which seemed momentarily to surround us, to come to that quiet place and once more to stand face to face with the patriotism of 1914 and the succeeding war years. That memorial seemed to him to be a fitting text for the noble sermon of the lives of the fallen. He did not say “their deaths," because such men never died. Their example would live on and shine down the centuries, just as that of the Christian martyrs did. This was the example of that highest attribute in man or woman: that virtue of self-sacrifice which approached the most nearly to the Divine. While he called to mind these true sons England their mother, he could not forget the Y.M.C.A., which he might refer to as their foster-mother. Those present knew what that Association did for the lives of the young men at home in England, he had also seen something of the work of the Association abroad, alike in peace and in war, from the tropics to the Arctic circle. That Association always offend a home to those who were far from home. She often succoured the literally destitute in countries and in circumstances where destitution spelt death. He did not think that memorial of these noble lives could have been placed in more suitable spiritual surroundings.
Captain Foxcroft then drew aside the Union Jack which covered the memorial tablet, and the Rector of Walcot pronounced the dedicatory praver. The "Last Post" was then sounded by Bugle-Major Wiltshire and Buglers H. Wiltshire and H. Harper (all of the Somerset L.I.)
After the Benediction, pronounced by the Rector of Walcot, the "Reveille" was sounded.
Something like 180 members of the Bath Y.M.C.A., including the President, served in the war, and the memorial tablet, which is of oak, with gilt letters, bears the names of the 26 who perished. The tablet is surmounted by the familiar “Red Triangle" badge of the Association, and bears the inscription:
In proud and loving memory of the members of this Association who nobly gave their lives in the Great War, 1914-1919.
At the base of the memorial hangs a laurel wreath in the shape of the familiar Triangle.