Village memorial restored in honour of First World War servicemen

The lychgate

The lychgate - Credit: Archant

A village war memorial has been brought back to its former glory – with a service held in honour of five men killed during the First World War.

Great Wymondley Lychgate war memorial rededication & WW1 remembrance service

Great Wymondley Lychgate war memorial rededication & WW1 remembrance service - Credit: Archant

The lychgate, in the grounds of St Mary the Virgin Church in Great Wymondley, bears the names of Walter and William Waldock, Thomas Worby, Arthur Croft and Alfred Dobbs.

The five men lived in the village prior to the outbreak of the war and died while serving for their country. The lychgate was built between 1920 and 1921 with funds raised by public subscription in the village to provide a memorial to the men, whose names are inscribed on a roof beam.

To mark the centenary anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War, the memorial has been re-roofed and had rotting wooden timbers replaced following a donation from the War Memorials Trust and grants from Herts County Council and Wymondley Parish Council.

About 40 people gathered at the memorial this month for a special service conducted by the church’s vicar, Rev Ann Pollington.

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She said: “The lychgate needed some repair work done to it so we applied for a grant and had it repaired. We thought it would be right to hold a commemoration ceremony for the 100 years of the start of the First World War and a rededication ceremony for the memorial at the same time.”

Walter and William Waldock, the sons of Daniel and Alice Waldock, served in the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Bedfordshire Regiment. Both were killed in the Battle of the Somme – Walter on July 27, 1916, at the age 26, and William three days later aged 32.

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Thomas Worby was also killed in the battle on July 11, aged 22. He was the eldest of three boys born in the village to William and Elizabeth Worby and was in the Bedfordshire Regiment.

Arthur Croft, who was in the 7th Battalion the Green Howards, died on April 25, 1917, at the Battle of Arras. He was 23. Arthur’s great, great nephew is Peter Croft, who is the Tower Captain at Great Wymondley and lives in Little Wymondley.

Alfred Dobbs, the youngest of William and Ellen Dobbs’ four children was originally in the Bedfordshire Regiment but transferred to the Machine Gun Corps.

He was killed on October 1, 1917, in the Third Battle of Ypres at the age of 27.

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