The Soldier Returns to Jacksdale

This article was submitted by UKNIWM volunteer Wendy White:

The Jacksdale Soldier in 1921

The Jacksdale Soldier in 1921

Jacksdale War Memorial stands at the heart of a Nottinghamshire village, on a triangle of land at the junction of Main Road and Wagstaffe Lane. Unveiled in 1921 in memory of the men from the local districts of Jacksdale, Pye Hill and Westwood who fell in the Great War, the memorial was impressive, some 14 feet high, topped with a life-size statue of a soldier, carved from Carrara marble.  And so stood the soldier in silent tribute, until one morning in early 1959, the villagers awoke to find the statue in pieces on the ground. Stories as to how it happened vary; the general consensus is that it was the result of storm damage. A public meeting was convened shortly afterwards to take suggestions as to the course of action to follow. On the advice of the local ( and original) stonemasons, J Beresford & Son, the Council decided to cap the memorial, placing two stepped tablets beneath the capping piece.     

Jacksdale Memorial Following 1997 Renovation

Jacksdale Memorial Following 1997 Renovation

By 1996 the memorial started to show the effects of neglect and pollution, with dirty, stained stonework and letters missing from the names and inscriptions, making them difficult to read.  Action was needed to save the memorial, and the Jacksdale Memorial Restoration Group was founded. Soliciting the help of local business, public subscription and with various grants, the sum of £1,500 was raised, but this was short of the £3,000 needed. As the memorial was placed directly outside the local Co-operative buildings the company was approached. The Co-op not only pledged to provide the balance but also their own craftsmen to refurbish the stonework in time for a rededication ceremony on the 13th of April 1997.

In 2007, a local initiative was launched to bring back Jacksdale’s soldier. This was very much helped by Jeff North, a local volunteer.  It appears to have been a journey not without its difficulties and frustrations; fund raising, planning permissions, structural surveys on the memorial, remedial work for safety, locating a stonemason and commissioning the new statue.  The final happy outcome is that on the 14th June 2009 at 2.00 pm there will be a service of rededication when the new Soldier will be unveiled, followed by a host of community events on the day. A wonderful example of how community spirit ensures that the memory of those lost  in both World Wars continues to be honoured.

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