The War Memorials

In the months following the Armistice in November 1918 the communities of Abbots Langley, Bedmond, Leavesden, Langleybury and Hunton Bridge considered how to commemorate those who had fallen during the Great War. Led by groups formed from the local Churches, Parish Councillors, and eminent local residents each community commissioned the construction of a War Memorial. At Abbots Langley and Langleybury, the memorials were sited adjacent to the local Parish Churches. At Bedmond a memorial was installed inside the Church of the Ascension (the “Tin Church”), whilst the Leavesden Memorial was built into the wall of the Reading Room on Leavesden High Road, and a memorial plaque was installed inside All Saints Church. The cost of design and construction was met by public subscription and from donations. Surprisingly the Parish records for Abbots Langley indicate that the subscriptions were slow to materialise, but eventually sufficient funds were received to cover the costs and the Memorials were unveiled between August 1919 and December 1920.

The criteria for how a person became included on a local Memorial is not available. For the majority of men listed their connection with the local area was obvious – having been born locally, or residing or working in the area. For others there is no apparent link. Some men married local women, maybe only weeks or days before leaving for the Front and are included. Others included were relatives of local people living as far away as Manchester, and may never have even visited the local area, and may in fact be also commemorated on another Memorial more local to them.

Some individuals appear on more than one of the local Parish War Memorials, including the one in the near-by village of Kings Langley. For example, Henry Frank Neary is found on both Abbots and Kings Langley Memorials. Charles and Henry Chambers are on the Langleybury (Hunton Bridge) and Kings Langley Memorials, and Douglas Keep appears at both Langleybury and Abbots Langley. In addition many men from the area who worked in the local mills are also listed on the War Memorial raised by John Dickinson & Sons, and sited in their Apsley Paper Mills.

It is anticipated that at the time considerable effort was taken to ensure that everyone was included, however the “Back to the Front” Project research has uncovered over 20 men who for whatever reason have been omitted from the local Parish Memorials.