Barnet War Memorials Association
General history and background
In 1994, Barnet Council established an independent body to oversee War Memorials in the Borough. Membership included the Representative Deputy Lieutenant of the day, Mr Laurence Bains CBE DL, some Councillors and some officers of the Council. A Trust was established, with the undermentioned as initial Trustees:
- Victor Lyon
- Maxwell Caller CBE
- John Sparks
- Herbert Goldsmith
- Rosalie Goldsmith
- Mr Lawrence Bains CBE DL
- A Ghosh
Significant funding came from collections made at the Army messes at Inglis Barracks, Mill Hill, and at other events.
Major public War Memorials
Maintenance of the dozen major war memorials in the Borough came under the care of the Council, but no financial provision was made for the inscription of names of the dead from later conflicts, or indeed of the names of the dead of the Second World War where these had not been added.
Former Inglis Barracks
Much of the work of the early 2000s centred on the listing and retention of the former Officers’ Mess building at Inglis Barracks, Mill Hill NW7. The barracks itself was scheduled for disposal and ultimately demolition. With the benefit of a Preservation Order on it, the former Officers’ Mess has since undergone renovation into combined residential and professional use. Suitable commemorative plaques have been displayed to describe its former purpose and history.
Relocation of Middlesex Regiment War Memorial, Mill Hill
Considerable effort was focussed on lobbying for the relocation of the fine memorial to the 12,000 Great War dead of the Middlesex Regiment which stood in the barracks near the Officers’ Mess. This was achieved in November 2012, and the memorial was re-dedicated in its new location, opposite the Regiment’s former Chapel, St Paul’s Church, on The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, NW7 on Thursday 18th July 2013.
Addition of names of Second World War dead to local memorials
Pressure from local lobbyists has resulted in the recent addition of the names of WW2 dead to the War Memorials at New Barnet and East Barnet Village, and in 2015 at Hendon.
Commemoration of centenary of the Great War
The work of the Trust received fresh impetus as we approached the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War. Academic teaching packages were prepared in conjunction with local schools. Services and ceremonies were arranged, and various local anniversaries were supported. In due course, the centenaries of the awarding of the Victoria Cross to two former Barnet residents will be marked with parades and stone-laying ceremonies. The recipients were Captain The Reverend Noel Mellish VC MC DL, Padre to 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, and Captain CH Frisby,VC, Coldstream Guards.
Centenary of death of Private Parr
In particular, research was conducted into the history of Private John Parr of the Middlesex Regiment, a Finchley boy, who became the first British soldier to die in action in the Great War. The Association provided a memorial stone outside his former home at 52 Lodge Lane N12, and arranged a number of ceremonies locally in his memory. Professional research identified members of his family, allowing them to be involved in many of the ceremonies, and in the associated national publicity. It remains our plan to erect a Standing Stone close to his home too mark his death and those of his many neighbours in the Great War.
Register of the Borough’s War Memorials
Much effort has been devoted to developing a photographic and written record of as many memorials as can be found in the Borough’s forty-four square miles. These records have progressed far beyond the original twelve sites noted. The total recorded now approaches three hundred and fifty. Eventually, names and service details (Rank, Service, Unit, date of death etc.) where available, will be added to a website comprising part of the London Borough of Barnet’s Diamond Jubilee Legacy. The intention is that anyone interested in those from Barnet’s five antecedent boroughs who have died in the service of the Crown in wars and conflicts even pre-dating the Great War should be able to see a picture of the memorial/s where they are remembered, and to learn whatever facts can be established about that serviceman.
Record of the Borough’s links with the Royal Family
Another research project has resulted in the preparation of a record of visits to the Borough by members of the Royal Family over the past one thousand years.
Membership is open to all, and is free of charge. The work of the Association continues to be research, documentation, oversight, education and commemoration, and is summarised in its motto:
“Let those that come after see to it that their names be not forgotten”
Contact us by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org