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Mystery of lost Canonbury WW1 memorial found at car boot revealed

PUBLISHED: 12:31 25 September 2014 | UPDATED: 12:31 25 September 2014

Westley Davis, right, and Brian Southwood found a WWI plaque in a car boot sale.

Westley Davis, right, and Brian Southwood found a WWI plaque in a car boot sale.

Archant

A teacher killed in the Battle of the Somme, a corporal who died in France and a 17-year-old former pupil who was struck down by a bout of flu on a quarantined battleship are among those remembered on a lost First World War memorial from a Canonbury school.

The ruins of Combles, close to where school teacher Private Norman Lynes was killed as part of the Somme campaign in 1916, Pic: Vise ParisThe ruins of Combles, close to where school teacher Private Norman Lynes was killed as part of the Somme campaign in 1916, Pic: Vise Paris

The plaque, which is likely to have come from St Paul’s National and Infants School, was bought at a car boot sale in Enfield by mechanic Westley Davis, who wants to put it back where it belongs, last month.

It is believed the memorial, which remembers two staff members and 28 former pupils who died in the Great War, was lost when the former Dove Road school was closed in 1971.

Islington Council is currently looking at what is best to do with the stone, which could end up in Islington Museum if there is no space at its former site to accommodate it.

Heritage

Two staff members and 28 former scholars who died during the war are remembered on the plaqueTwo staff members and 28 former scholars who died during the war are remembered on the plaque

Historian John Shepherd, who is currently coordinating the borough’s Streets Where They Lived project to commemorate 100 years since the First World War, looked into some of the names on the memorial.

Mr Shepherd said: “John Coshell was just 17 when he died on board the HMS Africa in September 1918 of infleunza. The ship had been quarantined for most of the month and by the time it cleared quarantine, 52 of 800 crewmen had died of the flu.

“One staff member, Edgar Stanley Carpenter of Bath, was taught in the Church of England Training College in Cheltenham. He died, aged 24, at Cuinchy, east of Bethune, in France in April 1915. He was a corporal in the London Regiment [City of London Rifles] 6th Battalion.

“Another teacher, Norman Lynes [Private, 7th Battalion Middlesex Regiment], from Swindon, was killed on September 16 1916 at Leuze Wood [known by the British troops as ‘Lousy Wood’]. This was part of the Somme campaign. The wood was just to the west of the village of Combles.”

Janet Burgess, Islington Council’s executive member for health and wellbeing, said: “Now this wonderful plaque has turned up we are looking forward to finding a fitting, permanent home for this unique addition to the borough’s heritage.

“Sadly the school in which it was originally located is no longer there so we will be consulting local historians, conservationists and residents on the best place to put it up.

“In the meantime it is joining our WWI collection in the Museum.”


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