Category: Liverpool

William Ratcliffe VC. MM.

William Ratclifffe (18/01/1884 – 26/03/1963), was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 14 June 1917 at Messines, Belgium, 

The Citation, published in the London Gazette of Supplement: 30215 Page: 7907, reads:

“No. 2251 Pte. William Ratcliffe, S. Lane. E. For most conspicuous bravery.
After an enemy’s trench had been captured, Pte. Ratcliffe located an enemy machine gun which was firing on his comrades from the rear, whereupon, single handed and on his own initiative, he immediately, rushed the machine gun position and bayoneted the crew. He then brought the gun back into action in the front line. 

This very gallant soldier has displayed great resource on previous occasions, and has set an exceptionally fine example of devotion to duty.”

He is commemorated on the Liverpool Heroes Statue in Abercromby Square in Liverpool

Liverpool Heroes Statue. Inscription

And there is a Commemorative Plaque for him at the Hall of Remembrance in Liverpool City Hall

Commemorative Plaque, Hall of Remembrance, Liverpool City Hall

Outside the Hall of Remembrance is a framed list of names that are connected to Liverpool and he is also listed on it.

A paving stone was unveiled for him at the Liverpool Parish Church on 15 June 2017. 

William Ratcliffe VC. MM. died on 26 March 1963, and is  buried in  Allerton Cemetery in Liverpool.

DRW © 2018. Created 20/06/2018

Updated: 17/07/2018 — 06:10

Liverpool Hall of Remembrance

When I first saw the City Hall in Liverpool I asked myself whether there was a war memorial in it, and naturally it sometimes helps if you go and ask…

I was not disappointed.

Known as The Hall of Remembrance, it was opened by the Duke of Windsor, then Prince of Wales, in 1921 and contains the City’s Roll of Honour.

The Roll of Honour has the names of over 13,000 servicemen men from Liverpool who died during the First World War, with the majority of those named having served in what was then formally known as “The King’s (Liverpool Regiment)” which had many battalions, 

Bell from HMS Liverpool

Eight lunette fresco panels painted by Sir Frank Salisbury (1874 – 1962) decorate the walls and were unveiled by the Duke of York in July 1923. They represent scenes headed Infancy, Duty’s Call, Sacrifice, Immortality, Renown, Remembrance, Triumph, The Silent Watch,  Undaunted, Sea Power, Conquering the Air, and Peace. The area is also decorated with heraldic devices, military badges and symbols representing the Allied Nations.

It is a very beautiful space and worth seeing if you are in Liverpool. 

I asked to see the Noel Chavasse VC entry in the roll and it was there, as are a number of other Liverpool VC holders. 

The building also has a “Chavasse Room” and there is a framed VC list outside the room.

There is also a plaque dedicated to William Radcliffe VC., MM. presumably rescued from elsewhere. 

The City Hall is a very beautiful building in its own and dates back to the late 1700’s.  It is really a ceremonial building rather than an administrative building, 

The ground floor contains the city’s Council Chamber and a Hall of Remembrance for the Liverpool servicemen killed in the First World War. The upper floor consists of a suite of lavishly decorated rooms which are used for a variety of events and functions. 

More images of the interior of the building are available at the Town Hall Website, and I have used some of the text from the website in this post.

Special thanks to the gentlemen who we so kind as to show me the hall and permit me to get a quick glimpse of that part of the building. Thanks guys. 

DRW © 2018. Created 16/06/2018

Updated: 17/07/2018 — 06:10

Liverpool Naval Memorial

Liverpool Naval Memorial may be found on the Mersey River Bank between the Ferry Terminal  and the Museum of Liverpool. (GPS co-ordinates: 53.40349, -2.99659). There are 1408 identified casualties from the Second World War  on the memorial. 

The memorial was designed by C. Blythin and S.H. Smith and was unveiled by the Admiral of the Fleet, The Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope, K.T., G.C.B., O.M., D.S.O., on the 12th November 1952.

More than 13000 officers and men from the Merchant Navy served with the Royal Navy and they were  subject to Naval discipline while generally retaining their Merchant Navy rates of pay and other conditions. Liverpool was manning port for many of the various types of auxiliary vessels, including armed merchant cruisers and boarding vessels, cable ships, rescue tugs, and others on special service. 

Representative panel

Representative panel

Two of the more well known ships on the memorial are HMS Rawalpindi and HMS Jervis Bay which were both sunk protecting their convoys from German surface raiders.

The memorial is a difficult one to photograph as it is a very popular spot with people, and I was never really able to get decent photographs of it from land side, and the closest I got from the ferry was:

It is also very close to the statue of Captain Frederic John Walker RN.

Appropriately the Merchant Navy Memorial is also in this area.

This was not one of my better memorial explorations, but if ever I return I will rectify the situation.

DRW © Created 16/06/2018

Updated: 17/07/2018 — 06:10

Liverpool Pals Memorial

Lime Street Station in Liverpool has seen a lot in the years that it has served Liverpool since it officially opened in August 1836. It also saw many men leave for war, and probably many returning victorious years later.  When I saw it in May 2018 it was somewhat of a mess, with ongoing renovations and the station due to be closed for 2 months. 

Naturally my 2nd question was: where is the War Memorial? and somebody who worked there said that it had been removed to the railway museum at York, which did not help me much. However, there are two memorials if you look for them. The first is a reasonably new addition and was unveiled by HRH The Earl of Wessex on Sunday 31 August 2014.

The Liverpool Pals Memorial is in the form of two large friezes stuck high up on a wall where you are not likely to see them. The £85,000 artwork was designed by Liverpool sculptor Tom Murphy and was funded through donations, I am not sure whether the place where they are sited is the original site or final site.

The Friezes are entitled:
 ‘Recruitment and Farewell.’

Recruitment and Farewell (1500 x 569)

 

‘Time to go home.’

Time to go home. (1500 x 574)

There is an explanation of the friezes by the artist  at http://www.liverpoolsculptures.com.  

More than 1,000 men were recruited on August 31 1914 alone. Over 6,000 men were initially signed up in 1914 – enough soldiers to serve in four battalions and for two reserve battalions. Unfortunately many would never walk through Lime Street Station again.

The second memorial that I spotted was quite odd, it almost felt like a reminder, or an apology.

I hope that once the huge renovation has completed the original war memorial will be restored to where it should be and that the Pals Battalions gets placed in a better spot so that they can be seen better. They are amazing pieces of work.

Oh, as an afterthought, just image what the inside of that glass cathedral must have looked like during the age of the steam engine.

DRW © 2018. Created 11/06/2018

Updated: 17/07/2018 — 06:11

Kings Liverpool Regiments Boer War Memorial

The Kings Liverpool Regiments Boer Memorial may be found in St John’s Gardens, Liverpool. Google Earth co-ordinates  53.408902°,  -2.981613°

It commemorates the involvement of the regiment in the First and Second Anglo-Afghan Wars (1839-1842 and 1878-1880), Third Anglo-Burmese War; (1885-1886), and the Second Boer War (1899-1902).

It was unveiled on 9 September 1905, and attended by Field Marshall Sir George White VC GCB. It is a Grade II listed building. 

There are 355 names on the memorial, of which 179 tie into the Boer War. Unfortunately legibility of the names is poor.

Technically the memorial is not only a Boer War memorial but commemorates other campaigns that the Kings Liverpool Regiment were a part of.

The memorial is described as:

“Central pedestal surmounted by figure of Britannia. Pedestal is flanked by arching walls with figure of a serviceman at each end. Inscription on the plinth and walls Britannia stands with right hand raised whilst in her left she holds a spray of laurel and carries a round shield decorated with sea horses. On her head is a helmet topped by a ship’s prow with a sea horse crest. Bronze swags placed around the upper edge of the pedestal. A soldier of 1685 stands at the left end of the wall and a soldier of 1902 stands at the right end of the wall. Guns and other military equipment lie on the sloping step at the foot of the pedestal intermingled with wreaths and palms and covered with the union flag. Laurel wreath placed in front. At the rear of the memorial, on the pedestal, is the regimental badge, a sphinx and a laurel twig device. Below this is the figure of a drummer boy dressed in the uniform of 1743. He sits on a rock beating a call to arms. Behind him are banners, a cannon and a musket.”  (https://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/1285  © WMR-1285)

DRW © 2018. Created 11/06/2018

Updated: 17/07/2018 — 06:11

Liverpool Exchange War Memorials

There are two war memorials in the open square behind the Liverpool City Hall that is bounded by a large building that seems to have been called “Exchange Flags” but is now called Horton House and Walker House.

The first memorial was dedicated to “the Men of the Liverpool Exchange Newsroom”

Funded by donations raised from members of the Liverpool Exchange Company in 1916 and originally intended to be dedicated to those members who had joined the forces, the emphasis of the memorial changed at the end of WW1 to commemorate members and sons who had sacrificed their lives. Made of bronze and marble by artist Joseph Phillips, the sculpture features Britannia sheltering a young girl with two soldiers and a sailor looking outwards while  a Queen Mary Auxiliary Services nurse tends a wounded soldier.

Unveiled in 1924, the sculpture was moved to its current location in 1953. (https://www.cultureliverpool.co.uk/memorials-memories/)

The names are listed on the stonework next to the central dedication panel.

Above the memorial on two columns on either side of it are 4 figures: a female adult with a young boy and a male adult with a young girl. I do not know whether these are part of the original memorial or not.

The Exchange Flags square may be found at Google Earth  53.407654°,  -2.992094° 

The second memorial is in visual range and is The Unknown Soldier, Liverpool Cotton Association Memorial.

Unusually the bronze soldier stands at ground level  having been relocated in 2013 to be closer the ICA’s new office in Walker House.

Commissioned in 1922 by the International Cotton Association (ICA), known then as the Liverpool Cotton Association, the bronze statue of the Unknown Soldier was originally situated in Liverpool’s Cotton Exchange Building on Old Hall Street. (https://www.cultureliverpool.co.uk/memorials-memories/)

There is one further memorial in the square which is neither a First or Second World War Memorial. It is known as the Nelson Monument  and it  is really a monument to Admiral Horatio Nelson.

It is somewhat of a wedding cake of a monument, with  four statues depicting prisoners sitting in poses of sadness and representing Nelson’s major victories, the battles of Cape St Vincent, the Nile, Copenhagen, and Trafalgar.

The first stone was laid on 15 July 1812, and the monument was unveiled on 21 October 1813, the eighth anniversary of Nelson’s death. In 1866 the monument was moved to its present site in Exchange Flags to allow for an extension to the Exchange Buildings.

DRW © 2018. Created 10/06/2018

Updated: 17/07/2018 — 06:11

Merchant Navy Memorials, Liverpool

The Merchant Navy Memorials in Liverpool are situated on the waterfront facing the Mersey and the Birkenhead side of the river bank.  The city played an important role in the Battle of the Atlantic as Western Approaches Command was based in the city, and many of the men and ships that sailed in the convoys came from this port.

A few metres further is a raised block with a number of relevant dedications. The two memorials are between Google Earth co-ordinates: 53.403829°  -2.996822°

Of particular relevance was this plaque that does not really make up for the lack of recognition of men and women from so many other countries that lost their lives in the Merchant Navy during both wars.

There was also an Arandora Star Plaque which served as a reminder that all ships were in danger of being sunk, whether combatant or non-combatant.

Norwegians, Poles and Belgians are also commemorated on this block.

Unfortunately these plaques are mounted on what appears to be some sort of housing for some unidentified machinery/access chamber and really do not connect too well with the Merchant Navy Memorial close by. I would have thought that a unified MN memorial would have meant much more instead of having these two distinct groupings that appear as an afterthought. 

The Maritime Museum also had a very good Merchant Navy exhibition on while I was visiting. 

A few steps away is the Liverpool Naval War Memorial which I will cover separately.

DRW © 2018. Created 05/06/2018

Updated: 17/07/2018 — 06:11

Liverpool Cenotaph

The Cenotaph in Liverpool may be found at Google Earth co-ordinates  53.408540°,  -2.979478°, it is situated in front of St George’s Hall and consists of a  rectangular block of stone on a platform, with bronze, low-relief sculptures on the sides depicting marching troops and mourners. It was designed by Lionel Budden, with carving by Herbert Tyson Smith. It is a Grade I listed building.

​The inscription on the front face reads:

TO THE THE MEN OF LIVERPOOL WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR

AND ALL WHO HAVE FALLEN IN CONFLICT SINCE.

AND THE VICTORY THAT DAY WAS TURNED INTO MOURNING UNTO ALL THE PEOPLE

 

This addition to the Cenotaph was unveiled in May 2003 by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Jack Spriggs. The inscription reads: 

THIS PLAQUE COMMEMORATES

THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC

AND THE PIVOTAL ROLE PLAYED BY THE CITY

AND PORT OF LIVERPOOL IN THIS THE

LONGEST AND MOST CRUCIAL SEA AND AIR 

CAMPAIGN OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR

THIS BATTLE LASTED 5 YEARS, 8 MONTHS, 4 DAYS;
HAD IT BEEN LOST, SO TOO WOULD HAVE BEEN THE WAR

BY THE MARKER, LIVERPOOL’S  UNPARALLELED SERVICE
AND SACRIFICE SHALL NOT BE FORGOTTEN.

As far as Cenotaphs go it is really not a very noticeable one, although the carvings are very beautiful. It is really overshadowed by the very large St George’s Hall behind it and while appropriate to the setting is just does not make much of an impact. 

The inscription on the rear face reads:

AS UNKNOWN AND YET WELL KNOWN AS DYING AND BEHOLD WE LIVE.

OUT OF THE NORTH PARTS, A GREAT COMPANY AND A MIGHTY ARMY

It was only dedicated in November 1930 and the delay was attributed to the Lord Mayor who announced that due to the high unemployment he was postponing the appeal for funds. The appeal was finally initiated in 1925.

DRW © 2018 Created 04/08/2018

Updated: 17/07/2018 — 06:11
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