Forget Me Not – Remembering the fallen of Finchley

W Bro Paul Huggins PSGD PProvAGM reports on a wrong put right.

The new Finchley War Memorial in the grounds of Finchley Memorial Hospital

Until this year Finchley never had a public war memorial.

Therefore, a large number of Finchley residents who had given their lives in the two World Wars, had no grave, or memorial where families could pay their respects.

Many London districts had public war memorials erected.

Finchley had a memorial hospital built instead.

As a result, there are over 775 names from the Great War, and 554 names from the Second World War, which do not appear on a public war memorial anywhere.

This year a stunning new memorial, with all the missing names engraved in gold leaf on dark grey polished granite, has been erected in the grounds of Finchley Memorial Hospital.

The driving force behind the creation of the memorial has been Catherine Loveday, whose father died in action at sea during WW2.

She wondered why her father’s name, along with other Finchley war dead, did not appear on any local public war memorial, and determined that the situation should be remedied.

However, there had been erected in 1925 a memorial to the war dead of WW1 in Ballards Lane, Finchley, but no names were inscribed making it an anonymous tribute. This wrong has certainly now been put right.

Researching the missing WW2 names in 2010, initially via the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Catherine then visited churches, schools, memorial halls, residential homes, and anywhere in the area where memorial boards had been installed.

She spent many hours and days searching parish records, published books of names, and both obituary and birth columns of the local press for the period 1939 – 1946, because in some cases births were recorded with the suffix that the father had been killed before the child was born.

It was then a case of establishing the actual residential status of the name involved, as not all were entitled to be recorded on a Finchley public war memorial.

The WW1 names were the most difficult for Catherine to find.

Finchley War Memorial Donor Plaque

Through the auspices of Paul Huggins, who is a member of the Barnet War Memorials Association Committee, the Province of Middlesex donated £7,500 towards the £105,000 cost of the memorial.

As a major donor the name of the Middlesex Masonic Charity (MMC) has been acknowledged by an inscription on the memorial plaque.

Additionally, the Middlesex Province Relief Fund (MPRF) made a donation of £5,000, which is also duly recognised,

The memorial is due to be dedicated by the Bishop of London at 3 pm on Sunday 26th September and he will be assisted by representatives of other faiths. The Trustees of the Charity will also be present.

The memorial has also been added to the list of sites where members of the Province of Middlesex will lay wreaths on Remembrance Sunday.

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