Leeds golf club unveils memorial to soldiers killed in France

A golf club in Leeds has unveiled a new memorial dedicated to those who died in France during one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War.

Tuesday, 14th November 2017, 5:13 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 9:15 am
Howley Hall Golf Club in Morley, has installed a new memorial dedicated to those who died in France in the First World War. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

Organisers at Howley Hall Golf Club, in Morley, had the memorial installed to coincide with the Remembrance weekend, to serve as a lasting tribute to soldiers killed in the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

The idea for the tribute came after a stone was found at Howley Halls’ grounds, with the words ‘Thiepval Wood’ engraved upon it.

Historians at the club believe it was engraved by a young soldier from the region, as a reference to the assault on Thiepval village, during the Battle of the Somme, in which allied forces suffered devastating casualties.

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Memorial: The new memeroial stone at Howley Hall.

A service was held at the new memorial on Sunday for club members.

Club captain Paul Monaghan said: “Those soldiers who died gave their tomorrows for our todays.

“There was a lost generation after the First World War.

“To think that a local soldier might have engraved on a stone in the ruins at Howley Hall, it was a great opportunity for members to reflect on the war.”

Memorial: The new memeroial stone at Howley Hall.

Steeped in history, the grounds of Howley Hall golf club were once a stately mansion built for civil war-time politician Sir John Savile in 1590.

After bombardments during the English Civil War, and several centuries, all that remains of the once-illustrious mansion are ruins.

Mr Monaghan, 62, added: “For me, the soldiers that fell in the First World War were of an age where they were just ordinary people, some were young, some working men and some were middle class. I think that this is in a way replicated in golf clubs because you have young, working and professional people together as members.”

The memorial stone now reads: “One hundred years ago, the crumbling ruins of Howley Hall provided the poignant inspiration for a young soldier, thought to be from Morley or Batley, to engrave Thiepval Wood on this accompanying stone.”

History of Howley Hall

Howley Hall is now best known to people in Leeds for its golf club. But, according to club historian Jay Whittam, the grounds were once home to one of Yorkshire’s most beautiful Elizabethan houses.

The original Howley Hall was built in 1590, as a magnificent mansion for Sir John Savile.

Only small ruins remain of the hall today, after it was bombarded during the English Civil War.