Dales servicemen who died in First World War commemorated with plaque

Nick Gaskell with the new plaque.

A plaque with the names of 12 more servicemen from the parish of Aysgarth who lost their lives during the First World War has been installed on the north wall of St Andrew’s Church.

The information about the servicemen was found by Penny Ellis during her detailed research prior to the 2018 Commemoration of the Centenary of the Armistice and was then checked several times to ensure accuracy.

The original plaque, installed by John Pickard and Son of Aysgarth just after the Great War, listed 20 servicemen.

After World War Two, a plaque with four names was added and then one in memory of Captain Philip Guy RM who died in Iraq in 2003.

Installing the new plaque included taking down all the existing plaques and reorganising them to be in sequential historical order.

When the frame for the original Great War plaque was removed large wooden plugs were revealed.

“That’s the way my father taught me,” said David Pickard, while his son, John, and son-in-law James Guy, worked on moving it. They were grateful they didn’t need such plugs this time.

Aysgarth Parochial Church Council (APCC) plans now to refurbish the area beside the plaques.

Nick Gaskell, who is overseeing the project for Aysgarth Parochial Church Council, said: “Currently, on Remembrance Sundays, the Act of Remembrance is conducted around the plaques.

“There is very little room for clergy, officials and wreath layers, to conveniently access the area to lay wreaths.

“As a result, the wreath laying procedure is awkward and rather undignified.”

Leeds Diocese has given approval for just the three short pews beside the plaques to be removed with suitable parts of them being used to construct a wooden memorial structure.

This work will be carried out early next year.

The Rev Tom Ringland said: “With Remembrance continuing to be such a significant feature in society, I’m delighted we will be able to create a more accessible and appropriate memorial in St Andrews’ church, including the addition of recently discovered names of the fallen.

“Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the project.”

The project has been funded by local donations. Once the joinery and plumbing work is complete the APCC plans to have good lighting installed by the plaques.

For Penny Ellis the research continues. She has added 19 additional names to the Roll of Honour for all who served from Aysgarth Parish bringing the total to 212 men and women.

The WWI Roll of Honour can be viewed on her website www.thoralbythroughtime.net.

The church has been decorated ready for the Remembrance Service at 10.45am on Sunday, November 14. This includes the waterfall of poppies in front of the east window.