A Millennium Project initiated by the Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church,
now with Leatherhead & District Local History Society
LEATHERHEAD WAR MEMORIALS PROJECT
How it started
Leatherhead Town War Memorial, North Street
Liam Sumption and the Leatherhead and District Local History Society
Liam Sumption, moved to Leatherhead in 1983 on his retirement from HM Customs and was able to indulge his interest in researching and writing on military history.
In the early 1990s he became interested in those shown on the Leatherhead War Memorial in North Street. He was a keen member of the Leatherhead & District Local History Society.
He eventually deposited with the Society his considerable research on those who were World War I casualties under the title Taken, Not Given.
The current researchers are full of admiration and thanks for the work Liam accomplished on the background of the actions in which each casualty occurred. Liam was a non driver and painstakingly visited many locations to collect the information.
We fully acknowledge Liam's work and are gradually adding it to this website.
Liam moved to Guildford. We are grateful to the Society for access to Liam's material and would be delighted to hear of his present whereabouts.
1998 The Friends and Leatherhead Royal British Legion
In 1998, the Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church and Leatherhead RBL appealed for the names of any who appeared to be missing from the town's war memorials. At the time this was thought likely to involve the inter-war 'policing' actions and the post war conflicts, notably Korea, Malaya, Cyprus, Indonesia, Aden, The Falklands, The Gulf, and possibly other active service casualties such as on UN peacekeeping or Northern Ireland duties.
In November 1998 research was greatly aided by the launch of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Debt of Honour on-line database of all who gave their lives in WWI or WWII on service with British or Commonwealth forces. It is a wonderful resource. Those who have visited any CWGC cemeteries know what a marvellous job they do. Please visit the CWGC website - see it via Useful Links on the left of your screen.
The In from the Cold Project website has a useful page about the scope of the CWGC listings .
1999 Ian Whitlock in the Leatherhead Advertiser
In February 1999, the Leatherhead Advertiser began a series of articles based on research by a local military historian, Ian Whitlock. Working from a recently issued database of the WWI dead, drawn from publications that listed them, he found some names of men born or resident in Leatherhead that were apparently missing from the Town War Memorial. Ian generously accepted an invitation from the Frank Haslam of the Friends to work together on further research. We have been working together with local churches and interest groups.
2009 Leatherhead and District Local History Society Local War Memorials Project
Frank Haslam, who was also website editor for L&D LHS, set up the Local War Memorials Project with the Society, in order to create websites similar to that for Leatherhead for neighbouring villages. Where possible this is done with the help of local socieities. These include Ashtead, Box Hill, Effingham, Fetcham, Great Bookham, Little Bookham, Mickleham and Oxshott.
2016 Lorraine Spindler's book Leatherhead in the Great War
Lorraine is the Curator of Leatherhead Museum. She currently runs regular battlefield tours to Ypres and the Somme, and weekly classes in local history and genealogy. Her book was published by Pen & Sword in 2016 (softback, 144 pages).
Making use of a small sample of those who died, and looking at some survivors, Lorraine makes extensive use of local and national archive material to paint a fascinating picture of the impact of the Great War on this small Surrey town - for example the Tribunals that took place to decide whether a man's services could be deferred and for how long. She acknowledged the work being done on this project.
Lorraine has been of great help in providing research resources to assist in this project. The book can be obtained in good local bookshops, or on-line
Access to the Town War Memorial, North Street (as of July 2004)
The Town War Memorial has been used as a place of shelter by visitors to Leatherhead. On occasion some have been abusive to those visiting the Memorial and there have been litter problems - and worse. The memorial gates are now kept locked. Some would say it is a sad commentary on our times.
As a concession, there is a notice on the memorial gates with a phone number to call for an appointment to view it. The council say that they prefer that their representative will arrive and open the memorial for the visitor and then return later to lock it when the visitor leaves. The council have refused to consider opening the memorial even for a single day of the week.
The Help Shop is now in the Library in Church Street