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eviltaxman

Lost memorial - now found

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eviltaxman

During a recent visit to the local cemetery for a few snaps I got chatting to one of the staff. Appears she knew of a plaque that was residing in a local RBL store room. Long story short - she contacted a chap from the RBL who in turn contacted me. Seems the plaque has been in their care for many years as the original home (a church) was severely damaged during WW2 and lists the names of "previous scholars" of the local school that was destroyed. It now lives behind an old fruit machine in the store room and they don't know what to do with it.

My contact says he'll raise the issue with the committee at the next meeting but was wondering if I could recommend a place for it to be placed. It's made of white marble but will need a clean up as there is "rusty water" staining. I don't know if this can be removed. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to clean marble? Below are couple of pics I've taken for reference.

dscf7475.jpg

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spoons

What a great find. I would definately contact the War Memorials Trust email linkbefore doing anything to the memorial. They will give good advice on how to clean and conserve the memorial and how you might identify the best location. They may also be able to make a grant towards renovations and re-installation if it meets their conditions for grants. Good luck.

\Spoons

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J Banning

Hi Les - why not try contacting the Evening Post? They may well be interested - must be worth a try!

I have some contacts I deal with there. Let me know if you need them.

cheers

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Bernard_Lewis

Not sure of the exact title but isn't there a 'National Inventory of War Memorials' that this could be added to in the short term?

Beyond that could it be placed in a local museum or other public building?

Bernard

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eviltaxman

Spoons - thanks. Great idea... I'm a tad annoyed I didn't think of them :blush:

Jeremy - the RBL had previously contacted the EP (Gerry Brooks) but at that time they weren't overly interested :angry2: but I will probably contact them once the plaque is cleaned up.

Bernard - a few locals (RBL mainly) suggested handing it over to the city council but rumour has it that the "cellar" they keep these sorts of things in never gets to see the light of day (or visitors!!).

The plaque, as mentioned, is from St Silas School in the St Philip's Marsh area of Bristol. Over time the area has gone from houses, shops and churches to car show rooms, industrial units and city recycling tip centre. Not much of the old area from 50+ years really exists anymore :(

Thanks Daggers. I'll pop over there now and have a nosey around.

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Bernard_Lewis

Fair point, Les.

I think you keep it safe (not ideal or convenient) until you have a solid undertaking from the local authority/museum/archive etc. that it will be wall mounted or otherwise displayed and not just consigned to a remote and inaccessible store.

Its not easy, especially as I assume the school is no more.

Bernard

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KevinBattle

Failing anywhere more suitable, the National Arboretum is the repository for many "homeless" War Memorials, so might be worth a contact.

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eviltaxman

Thanks for all the feedback. There's a few names mentioned that I can get in touch with.

Here's a scan of an old map circa 1904 that I have of the area. The top arrow is was the church and the bottom one relates to the school. If you know central Bristol, the church overlooked Feeder Road :thumbsup:

img020n.jpg

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spoons

In case no-one mentioned it, you need to look for an indoor location. Marble does not like outdoors weather in UK and I don't think it would last many years.

\Spoons

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RaySearching

Great Find

Whilst a new home for the memorial is being found

why not research all the names on the memorial

here are a couple to get you started

Company Serjeant Major J CUTLAND D C M

5040, 1st Bn., Somerset Light Infantry

Killed in Action age 36 on 08 August 1916

Husband of Aimee E. Cutland, of 9, Beaumont Terrace, Crownhill, Devon.

ESSEX FARM CEMETERY

Born St Peters Bristol , Enlisted Bristol

Private JOHN DIBBLE

26677, 54th Coy., Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

Killed in action on 15 November 1916

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

Born St Phillips Bristol Enlisted Bristol

Lance Corporal WILLIAM DIBBLE

10576, 1st Bn., Somerset Light Infantry formerly 6th Bn.

Killed in Action age 28 on 24 October 1918

Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Dibble, of 5, John St., St. Philip's Marsh, Bristol.

VIS-EN-ARTOIS MEMORIAL

Born St Phillips Bristol Enlisted Bristol

regards Ray

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eviltaxman

Hi Sppons - I know what you mean. I've seen too many over the years that have been placed outside when they were intended for indoor "use".

Ray - Already ahead of you! There are 2 names on the memorial, father & son, but the I haven't, as yet, found the father. The names are;

W Smokcum and W Smokcum :wacko: Junior is William J - died in 1919, son of William!!!!! I've managed to track down the MIC for him (no service record) but his father is playing hard to find. A check on the census shows the family name has been spelt at least 3 different ways over the course of 30 or so years!!

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RaySearching

Hi Les

are these the two Smokcum,s you are refering to on your last post ?

Father + Son

from the 1911 census

5542635935_74908cdb5d_z.jpg

regards ray

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eviltaxman

Ray - W J I've found with no problem, but the father is also listed on the memorial. I've found nothing on CWGC, SDGW or Ancestry (UK deaths rather than military). He's a complete mystery. The plaque has "senior" & "junior" etched next to the names.

I think I may have to pop this query under another section :(

dscf7487.jpg

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Martin Bennitt

Nice find. Perhaps the school which now covers the same catchment area as St Silas' did might be interested in displaying the memorial

cheers Martin B

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eviltaxman

I believe this was tried a few years ago when the plaque was first "found". Knowing that Bristol had 150+ schools 90 years ago it now has a lot less and the catchment area would be very wide. There is no school that covers the area anymore as it's mainly commercial buildings and what was there was either bombed out in WW2 or have been closed and merged with larger bodies several miles away since. The council also aren't that "benevolent" when it comes to older things - they prefer to think about today and maybe tomorrow :angry2:

If all else fails, I'll have it on the wall in my garage!

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eviltaxman

Thanks to a Pal of the forum (Ed Woods), I have been put in touch with a family member of the Smokcums that he's stumbled upon on a genealogy site. Although I didn't see any in the local phone book, this one lives on the outskirts of Bristol (probably ex-directory). Thanks Ed - I owe you a beer!

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Ed Woods

I understand that W Smokcum also appears on the St Vincents Iron Works War Memorial.

I have no idea where the memorial is but the ironworks are on Silverthorne Lane and the building still survives.

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eviltaxman

Thanks Ed... I'll try and have a look around next weekend :thumbsup:

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grantowi

It looks like William the elder lived to a ripe age, threre's a death registered in 1948 for a William aged 79 in St Alban - that would give him a Dob of 1869 which is the same as the Father in the census.

Grant

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dfaulder

I believe this was tried a few years ago when the plaque was first "found". Knowing that Bristol had 150+ schools 90 years ago it now has a lot less and the catchment area would be very wide. There is no school that covers the area anymore as it's mainly commercial buildings and what was there was either bombed out in WW2 or have been closed and merged with larger bodies several miles away since. The council also aren't that "benevolent" when it comes to older things - they prefer to think about today and maybe tomorrow :angry2:

If all else fails, I'll have it on the wall in my garage!

Or see if the History Department at Bristol University is interested?

David

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Ed Woods

William Smokcum appears to be commemorated on at least three memorials in the Bristol area

The school memorial discovered behind the fruit machines in the RBL club - that lists two W Smokcums

The St Vincent's Iron Works Memorial last seen in storage in the Avonview Chapel in Avonview cemetery that lists Smokeum. W. J.

And the St Philip's Marsh War Memorial as W. Smokcum.

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eviltaxman

Just to give anyone interested a quick update - I had a meeting with the RBL committee last night and they're backing me all the way. All I need to do now is contact my friendly stonemason (he made my VC plaque for Dan Burges a few years ago) and get a quote. From there I'll contact the council as I understand from the RBL that they have a memorials "fund" and give out grants for repairs. As for the final positioning of the plaque; hanging it on the wall inside the RBL is out of the question as it's not RBL related and the wall wouldn't take the weight! Therefore I proposed that a plinth be made (brick etc) and the plaque laid to rest on an angle outside the main entrance. They seem interested in this idea, so fingers crossed the quote isn't too much and the council can cough up the cash!!!

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dfaulder

In case no-one mentioned it, you need to look for an indoor location. Marble does not like outdoors weather in UK and I don't think it would last many years.

\Spoons

?

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