Situated on the south wall, to the right of the main door, this memorial is to the eighteen men from the community who died during WWI. It is made of Hopton Wood stone (by Mr F Holt of Warwick), in the form of a Greek cross and was unveiled and dedicated on Sunday, 29 August 1920.
The most prominent figure from the community named is “Capt Sir F E Waller, Bt R. Fus.” (of Woodcote) and the Rood Screen is also dedicated to his memory. Leek Wootton History Group undertook a project to research all 18 men and they, along with those lost during World War II, are remembered at our annual Remembrance Day service as follows:
Francis Waller, Gentleman (aged 34): Killed in Action (25 Oct 1914)
Thomas Cook (aged 56): Died of Pneumonia (5 Dec 1914)
Charles Edwards (aged 18): Died of Pneumonia (1 Apr 1915)
Edgar Huckvale, Gardener (aged 23): Killed in Action (25 Sep 1915)
Oliver Clarke, Horse Driver (aged 21): Killed in Action (15 Jul 1916)
John Morgan (aged 26): Killed in Action (30 Jul 1916)
Mathew Forrest, Gardener (aged 20): Killed in Action (12 Oct 1916)
John Hockley, Clerk (aged 25): Died of Wounds (9 Feb 1917)
Sydney Edwards, Footman (aged 22): Died of Wounds (6 March 17)
Charles Huckvale, Gardener (aged 27): Posted Missing in Action (28 Apr 1917)
Alfred Prickett (aged 25): Killed in Action (20 Jul 1917)
George Edwards, Garden Labourer (aged 24): Died of Wounds (11 Oct 1917)
Walter Hirons (aged 19): Killed in Action (13 Apr 1918)
George Lane, Farm Labourer (aged 37): Killed in Action (26 Aug 1918)
John Timmins (aged 19): Killed in Action (21 Sep 1918)
William Hobbins, Farm Labourer (aged 20): Died of Wounds (11 Oct 1918)
Henry Phillips (aged 19): Killed in Action in Russia (1 Sep 1919)
A copy of Leek Wootton History Group’s book, For God and Right and Liberty hangs nearby. Published in 2014 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI, it tells the stories of the men named on the memorial.
The Royal British Legion standard (laid up in 2008) is mounted above the WWI memorial.
…and Henry Wise’s sword (1854) takes pride of place in the new Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka!
Have you ever read carefully the prominent memorial in All Saints Church which begins: “SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF HENRY CHRISTOPHER WISE ESQ.”? Simon and I recently made a pilgrimage to Ballarat near Melbourne in Australia to find out more. Ballarat made its name in the 1850s when gold was first discovered nearby and to cut a long story short, Captain Henry Christopher Wise aged 25 from Woodcote, Leek Wootton lost his life in the line of duty whilst putting down an armed rebellion by the gold diggers at the Eureka Stockade.
We managed to find Henry’s tomb in the Ballarat Old Cemetery where he was laid to rest with the three privates who also lost their lives in the skirmish in 1854. Henry was leading the assault and was badly injured with a flesh wound on his right thigh and a gunshot wound through the leg. He continued to urge his men forward until he was hit by another shot. He was taken to the (makeshift) hospital where his legs were amputated and he died two weeks later. The inscription on the memorial to Henry and the soldiers makes it plain that doing one’s duty in the cause of the British Empire was of importance to many citizens. On the afternoon of our visit to the cemetery we were delighted to see the Union Flag flying near the memorial.
The Irish leader of the rebel miners who was shot in the arm survived, eventually becoming Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in 1880. The miners who lost their lives are also commemorated with a memorial and the inscription speaks of the “unconstitutional proceedings” of the Government of Victoria.
We discovered at the new Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka that Henry had attended the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, coming first in the 1847 public examination and was offered a commission in the Army, becoming an Ensign in 1847, Captain in 1853, and arriving in Melbourne in November 1854. His sword is prominently displayed in the permanent exhibition.
This new Museum, situated in the Eureka Stockade Memorial Park, proudly displays the story of the rebellion. Some say that Eureka is the birth place of Australian democracy: the effect “Eureka” had on the mining laws, of equality within society, the legislative administration and the influence upon subsequent generations of Australians has been profound. We found it moving to discover so much about an event which occurred over 150 years ago and so far away, but which had a devastating effect on the history of the Wise family of Woodcote.
Jane Pain, April 2016
The above article was published in our parish magazine in 2016, written by a former member of Leek Wootton History Group, and tells the story of Henry Christopher Wise, whose memorial is on the south wall of the nave.