The first memorial to the war dead was erected in the centre of Oundle and remains the town’s most prominent war memorial. On top of a four step base is a pillar with bronze laurel wreaths on each side. The names of 68 men who died in the Great War are inscribed on each side. It was dedicated by the Bishop of Peterborough in 1920, and every year on Remembrance Sunday there is a parade and service at the memorial in honour of the fallen.
In the 19th century an area of land at the bottom of New Street called Rectory Farm was sold to John Smith, the Oundle brewers. Oundle Urban District Council purchased the land, probably in the 1930s when Gordon Road was built, and it became the War Memorial Recreation Ground. In 1995 the area became a Pocket Park, and its origins as a commemorative place were lost.
In St Peter’s Church there is a stone plaque by the altar to commemorate 64 men of H.M. Army and the Royal Navy who died. The inscription beneath the names reads ‘To the glory of God and in memory of this parish who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-1918. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’.
The Oundle School Memorial Chapel was consecrated by the Bishop of Peterborough in 1923 in honour of the Oundelians who died in the war. Designed by the architect Arthur Conran Blomfield, the ambulatory has five memorial tablets, each carved with a sword and inscribed with the names of the fallen. Four tablets are headed with one word, Faith, Hope, Service, Sacrifice, while the central tablet is dated 1914-1918. Of the 961 men from Oundle School who went to war, 222 were killed. Eight of these men are also listed on the town memorial. The Chapel remains a place of worship and remembrance.
Another school memorial within town is the Laxton Grammar School plaque that was erected in 1950 by the Old Laxtonian Club in the Laxton Cloisters. Of the 30 men who are listed on this plaque, three are also on the town memorial.
By Joseph Braka