Oldfield Park Junior School (Bath) WW1 Memorial Project
Widcombe Baptist Church (Bath)
Widcombe Baptist Church in Pulteney Road is known to most as the church with the writing on its pyramid roof, although the writing is now fading and will purportedly not be repainted. Separate memorials to the fallen of WW1 and WW2 are beneath the gallery on the west side of the body of the church. The church can be accessed around scheduled service times (with the usual respect for people preparing for service etc.) or other events and the church website is the best resource for knowing when these take place.
From Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette, Saturday 6th December 1924:
WAR MEMORIAL UNVEILED
General's Testimony to Divine Deliverance
Though eight years have passed since the close of the world war, the members of the Widcombe Baptist Church have not forgotten their eight soldier dead, and on Wednesday evening a memorial tablet, which commemorates their saorifice, was unveiled by General Sir Arthur Phayre, K.C.B., in the presence of a large congregation, which included several ex-Service men, many of whom wore their medals.
With the singing of one of the martyr hymns of the Church Militant, "The Son of God goes forth to war," the service commenced. Prayer was then offered by Pastor A. Rees, who recalled the blessing of deliverance from the great war vouchsafed to this country by the heroism of the fallen, and prayed that the memory of that sacrifice might bear fruit in a deeper and fuller spiritual life.
The hymn "Christian, seek not yet repose," preceded the reading by Pastor J. R. Huntley of portions of Scripture, including that fine example of picturesque Hebrew poetry, "God is our refuge and strength."
In some explanatory observations on the history of the movement which culminated in the provision of the memorial, Pastor Huntley remarked that the proposal originated among the young men of the Bible Class attached to that church. He then welcomed Lieut.-General Sir Arthur Phayre as one the vice-presidents of the Soldiers' Christian Association, through the good offices of which that visit had been arranged.
OUR MIRACULOUS DELIVERANCE
General Sir Arthur Phayre mentioned at the commencement of his remarks that he had not the good fortune to go to France during the war, but had the oversight of the training of large numbers of troops in India. He remarked that they should look upon that memorial with two feelings: first of all, with a feeling of thankfulness to God. He desired his auditors to carry their minds back to the situation during the eight months before the Armistice. At that time the German menace was extremely grave, and he believed that but for the Divine help the Germans would now be in Bath, and they would have treated us with no consideration whatever. Secondly, he considered that we might indeed thank God that we possessed so many fine young men, who had acted as our living shields. He thought that the Englishman was the best soldier in the world, and also the best man in the world, and therefore he sympathised with all his heart with those who had lost soldier relatives.
Prior to the unveiling of the memorial, the hymn "Thy will be done" was sung.
Lieut.-General Sir Arthur Phayre then drew aside the Union Jack which covered the memorial, observing: To the glory of God, and in very affectionate and loving remembrance of our gallant lads who made tne supreme sacrifice, on your behalf I unveil this tablet."
Thanks were expressed to Sir Arthur Phayre by Pastor Huntley, and the service concluded with the hymn "Not now, but in the coming years," and with prayer by Pastor Huntley. As the congregation left the church the hymn "For all the Saints" was sung.
The choir, who sang with marked expression, were under the direction of Mr. J. Packer, and Miss D. Huntley was at the organ.
THE MEMORIAL TABLET
The inscription on the tablet reads:
LOVING MEMORY OF
WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR
THEIR COUNTRY IN THE GREAT WAR
The tablet is principally composed of Sicilian marble, on a background of Belgian black marble, and is carried on two Bath stone carved corbels. The tablet has been designed Mr. George Williams, of Stanley Road, Pulteney Gardens, who also carried out its erection.
*should read 'Lidiard'.
The names on the memorial include:
Two brothers, Lance Corporal Henry Bristow (Wiltshire Regiment) and Sergeant Douglas Bristow (North Somerset Yeomanry) were the sons of Mr & Mrs Albert Bristow of 29 Albert Terrace. Henry joined up in October 1917 and went to the front on Easter Tuesday, 1918. He was reported missing on May 30th 1918, but the parents received a telegram in August 1918 stating that he had died of wounds in hospital on June 4th. He had been apprenticed to Messrs Fyson & Co (stationers), but was a taxi driver at the time of his call-up. Douglas Bristow was killed early in the war.
Christopher Quinton Courtney (b.1899), son of Frank & Alice Courtney of Southville Terrace, Lyncombe Vale.
Private Jesse Leppard was killed in 1916 at the age of 36, while serving with the King's Own Yorkshire Regiment. He had lived at 6, Prior Park Cottages and was married. Having joined up in September 1914, he had served with the Scots Greys and been wounded in July 1915 but returned to the front again in February 1916. Prior to the war, he had worked at Stothert & Pitt. His wife Lily died in 1917.
Lance-Corporal William George Lidiard is mis-spelled on the memorial. Born 1889. In 1911: Living at 16 Queen's Place in Widcombe with father Albert & mother Mary Lidiard. Worked with Allen of Broad Street as a watchmaker & jeweller and had also worked for the Horstmann Gear Company. Married Florence Kate Mitchell Grey at Ascension Church 26th Dec 1914 with son William Albert (b. 1916) and lived at 22 Dartmouth Avenue and later 22 Brook Rd, Twerton. He served with the Somerset Light Infantry (22529) before joining the 5th Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment (19450). He died 11th Jan 1917 (item and photograph in Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette of 27th January 1917), is buried at Flers and is also listed on the Twerton parish memorial, the St Matthews memorial and the Widcombe Parish memorial.
Richard Edwin George Perks was listed in the 1911 census as having been born in Bath, but was serving with the 26th Field Company Royal Engineers at Headley in Hampshire when the census was taken. His parents were William & Sarah Perks of 30, Claverton Street.
S. Waldron was probably Samuel Waldron, son of Thomas & Matilda Waldron of 21 Regent Terrace.
Private Albert Edward Webber served with the 8th SLI and was missing, presumed dead, in October 1917.