First public memorial to villages’ war dead

The dedication ceremony at the new Breamish Valley war memorial. Picture by Graham Williamson
The dedication ceremony at the new Breamish Valley war memorial. Picture by Graham Williamson

A poignant ceremony has been held to dedicate the first public memorial to the war dead of the Breamish Valley.

The memorial stands in the community garden in Powburn, where the Rev Jane Wood conducted a service on Saturday, attended by villagers, parish councillors and veterans.

Breamish Valley war memorial. Picture by Graham Williamson

Breamish Valley war memorial. Picture by Graham Williamson

The Breamish Valley War Memorial Project was started in early 2017 by Powburn resident and chairman of Hedgeley Parish Council, Robbie Burn.

Phase one of the project was to identify fallen service personnel and then to create and publish an online Roll of Honour.

This was first published in September 2017, listing 30 service personnel. Since then, research has continued and the final total of names is 39 (32 from the First World War and seven from the Second.)

For the second phase, those names were inscribed onto a bronze plaque, cast by Fallon Nameplates of Bedlington. The £5,000 cost was funded by generous donations from local groups and Northumberland County Council.

The plaque was set onto an old stone gatepost donated by Major (Retd) John McMorrough Carr-Ellison, from the Hedgeley Estate.

Originally erected before the middle of the 19th century, at least some of the fallen men would likely have lent against the gatepost or been through the gate it supported.

With the help of several residents, a hole was dug, foundations were laid and the memorial was sited in the west corner of the community garden.

At the service, Northumberland dialect poet James Tait read a specially-commissioned poem, To the War Dead of the Breamish Valley.