Colebrooke War Memorials

1914 -1918

In Colebrooke church, on the north wall of the north aisle are two memorials to the service provided by the men of Colebrooke in The Great War. A brass memorial on a marble base contains the names of the fourteen men of the parish who gave their lives in this conflict. One of the more poignant names is Frederick Erscott of Coombe Lodge, only son of George Erscott gardener to Mrs Sinclair Smith of Coombe House. Despite being over 40, George was also conscripted. Mrs Erscott heard from George in 1917 saying he was on his way to Egypt. She received notification that Fred had been killed at Passchendaele in the same post. Widow Sarah Parish of Penstone was also the receiver of sad news, losing three of her four sons in the hostilities. This memorial was unveiled Sunday 12th November 1919 by Dorothy Osborne, aged nine, whose father Ernest was the first man from the parish to lose his life. Colebrooke Roll of Service This memorial contains the names of the 87 Colebrooke men who fought in the war. The names in gilt are the fourteen who did not return. The memorial was the result of great efforts made by Mr John Madge Pope of Coplestone House. Mr Pope was determined that all men from the parish who were either conscripted or had volunteered for war service would be remembered for posterity. It was completed in February 1922 and initially hung in the schoolroom, now the Village Hall, the idea being that the schoolchildren could gaze at and remember the names. When the school closed and became the Village Hall, the memorial was frequently moved around to allow for redecorations. Finally, it was decided that the church would provide a more suitable and permanent site for people to contemplate the names. The names on this board include the six Daimpre brothers, sons of the vicar of Colebrooke Rev Isidore Daimpre, a fiercely patriotic man. He would regularly deliver free copies of The Illustrated War News to all families in the parish who had loved ones serving in the war. In October 1918, he issued a protest from the pulpit denouncing the practice of employing German POWs on the land in the parish, taking the place of our local men who were at the front having left wives and children at home. He also compared the “mollycoddling” of German prisoners to the harsh treatment our men were getting in German camps. Shortly after this, it was announced that Charlie Leaman of Colebrooke had died in a POW camp, having been taken prisoner in May. Short biographies of most of the men can be found in a file in the church.

© Neville P. Enderson