Welcome to the Carlisle and Stanwix Branch of The Royal British Legion
GRID REF: NY47543 56817 Postcode CA4 6RF
The War Memorial at St Paul's Church, Holme Eden, Warwick Bridge, Carlisle.
This impressive and ornate memorial stands prominently by the churchyard entrance and looks out over the nearby River Eden. Those whose names appear here would would have been familiar with the river and the serenity of its meandering path to the Solway Firth.
The names of the Fallen who are commemorated on the War Memorial within the churchyard of Holme Eden church are:-
Pte James Maclagan, who left his home at Meadow Cottages, (known as The Bog) Warwick Bridge to enlist in 11th Bn Border Regiment. James was not yet 20 when he joined up and was working at Warwick Bridge Mill as a millhand. He lived with his father, Thomas, and his mother and brothers and sisters. Two of his sisters also worked at the Mill - Alice as a Spinner and Ethel as a Weaver. James had attended Warwick Bridge School, where, according to the school Punishment Log, James and five other boys had played truant on 2nd Feb 1906, to “attend a local wedding”. They all received four strokes of the cane from the Headmaster. A short ten years later, these same boys would lay down their lives for their country.
James was eventually sent to France where he was killed on 19th Nov 1916 aged 21. He was involved in a fierce battle at Waggon Road where a small group of wounded British soldiers held out against a German attack until they were overwhelmed by greater numbers. He is buried at Varennes Cemetery in grave 1.G.26. Maclagan family members still live in the area.
The Cumberland News of 9th Dec, 1916 published a photographic Roll of Honour where James, along with near neighbour John James Armstrong, is shown.
Pte John James Armstrong. Family records show that he was killed on 17th Oct 1916, but the official list states his date of death as 17th Nov 1916. His address on his death was given as Low Buildings, Warwick Bridge. He was born in Haltwhistle in 1882 and by 1911 had been married and bereaved and was living at Haydon Bridge at the home of his aunt Mary Ann Armstrong. John had a son William, who may later have immigrated to Canada. Prior to joining the Northumberland Fusiliers 1/5th Bn John had remarried. His second wife Jane and he had two daughters. Jane had moved to Warwick Bridge to seek work at the Mill, where she met and married John. John died in Flanders and is nterred in Dernancourt Communal Cemetery grave IV.C.24. After his death his wife wrote the following passage,
“I little thought when he left home
He would no more return,
But God had willed it otherwise
And left me here to mourn.
What pain he bore I do not know
I did not see him die
I only know that he has gone
And did not say goodbye”.
John James Armstrong still has family in the area.
William S. Stevenson is listed on the War Memorial as a casualty of the district. However little is known of him other than that he died in the Cumberland Infirmary on 17th Nov 1916 from wounds received in the previous September while he was serving with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers/ Army Service Corps.
A combined memorial service was held in Holme Eden Church, Warwick Bridge, for these three young men who died so close together. A report appeared in the Cumberland News of the time.
Pte James Dixon Lapping. Families at this time moved frequently from hamlet to hamlet, presumably for work or for better accommodation. One such family was the Lappings. James Dixon was the oldest of John and Maggie Lapping’s six children. James had been born in Brampton, when the family were living at Hardbank, How Mill where John was a mason’s labourer. In 1901 the family moved to Allenwood Cottages and by 1911 they had moved on again to Burnriggs. Where James’ mother and two sisters worked as woollen spinners. James joined the 13th Bn King’s Liverpool Regiment and was Killed in Action on 28th March 1918. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial to the Missing, Bay 3.
L/Cpl Joseph Scott died in battle on 14th April 1917 having previously survived serious injuries which necessitated his return to a Leicester Military hospital in July 1916 for treatment. He had afterward spent some time recuperating at home in Warwick Bridge but returned to his Battalion in March 1917. Joseph Scott was born at Sedbergh to Francis and Hanna Scott. He was aged 11 in 1901 when he was living, with his family, near the paper mill at Allenwood Cottages, Warwick Bridge. He, his parents, with six siblings and a lodger, lived in two rooms. The lodger was a papermaker. Two of Joseph’s sisters also worked at the paper-mill. His father Francis was originally from Annan and worked as a farm labourer. Joseph went to work in Shrewsbury as a grocer’s assistant but enlisted on 2nd Oct 1914 in the Lonsdale Bn of the Border Regiment, giving his home address as Fern Cottage, Warwick Bridge. He was sent to France on 22nd Nov 1915. His younger sister Hannah lived at Fern Cottage for many years. Joseph is interred at Feuchy Chapel British Cemetery, Wancourt, in grave 1.B.38.
Pte Joseph Wharton was born in 1892 at Burnrigg, Warwick Bridge. In 1911 he was living with his mother Margaret and earning a living as a clogger’s apprentice. He joined 7th Bn Border Regiment and went to France. Joseph became a “runner” and was killed while carrying messages in Flanders on 24th Sept 1918. In the Cumberland News of 12th Oct 1918 his mother marked his passing with the following poem;-
“In the midst of life death claimed him
In the pride of his manhood days,
None knew him but to love him,
None mentioned his name without praise”
Joseph was 27 years old. He is buried in Gouzeaucourt New British Cemetery, in grave II.C.18.
Cpl John Simpson and his family also lived in Burnrigg and were neighbours of the Whartons. John had been born there in 1895. Earlier his parents had lived at Low Buildings Warwick Bridge, where his father Joseph had worked as a carter, and his mother Jane as a Woollen weaver. John had three sisters. By the 1901 census they were all living at Allenwood Cottages, where John’s father was employed at the paper Mill. John left home to work as a farm labourer at Birkhill, Great Corby, but joined the Royal Engineers and was sent to Flanders. John’s service record says that on 27th June 1916 he was severely gassed. In June 1917 he was awarded the DCM for gallantry in the field in the face of the enemy on the night 6th/7th May. The citation reads “129722 Pte J Simpson RE, for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He was assisting in the preparation of a large battery of projectors when an enemy shell struck a wagon containing the bombs and detonated a number. There were severe casualties. He removed the unhurt men to cover and under a very heavy bombardment dressed the wounds of the injured and removed them to safety. He was promoted to Lance-Corporal on 8th May 1917 the day after his gallantry in the field. Sadly on 30th April 1918 John was killed, aged 23, and is buried in Pernes British Cemetery, grave II.A.21. His parents were then living at Edmond Castle Lodge.
L/Cpl Edwin Isaac Hilton is listed on the memorial although his connection to the area is not clear. Edwin was born at Ainstable, near Armathwaite in 1897. His father was a road repairman and he had two brothers and a sister. In 1911 he was living at Kirkbride with his mother while his father was living at the Crown Inn Ainstable. Edwin joined the 1/4th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers and became a Lance-Corporal. He was killed in France on 23rd March 1918. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial to the Missing, on panel 16/18. His father, then living at Park, Alston, was named as next of kin.
2nd Lieutenant Thomas Ridley was killed in France on 23rd March 1918 on the same day as Edwin Hilton. He too has no known grave and is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, panel 16/18. He was born at Carlisle and lived at Canal House, Port Road with his parents Thomas and Elizabeth Ridley who were originally from Hartburn, Northumberland. In 1911 his father was a Stationmaster in Carlisle and Thomas was a clerk in a local timber yard. Thomas joined the 12th/13th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers. The year after Thomas’s death his father also died. The name of 2nd Lieutenant Ridley appears on the family grave in Holme Eden churchyard. He was 23 when he died.
Rifleman John Howard Burrow was born in 1897 to Joseph and Dora Burrow. They were living at Little Corby in 1901 where his father was a time keeper in the Warwick Bridge woollen mill and his mother was employed at the paper mill. In 1911 the family were living at Broadwath Cottages, Headsnook. By then John had four brothers and three sisters. John was working on a farm at Silloth when he enlisted at Wigton into the King’s Liverpool Regiment. He was sent to France and died in battle in Flanders on 2nd May 1917. He is interred in Cite Bon Jean Cemetery, Armentieres, in grave VIII.B.4. His family later moved to Headsnook.
This information was compiled with the help of Ms Liz Bell and the Warwick Bridge and District Local History Group. Their book, “Lest we Forget” is a detailed and interesting look at Warwick Bridge and its people in earlier times and particularly at the toll taken by the Great War.