War Memorials in Ranmoor
World War One between 1914 and 1918 killed more than 5,500 young men from Sheffield, and people in the city were keen that sacrifices should not be forgotten. Around 200 memorials were erected in Sheffield after the war, including one for the city as a whole in Barker’s Pool which was dedicated in 1925. The nation’s Cenotaph (meaning “empty tomb”) was constructed in London in July 1919, at first a temporary creation of wood and plaster which was replaced by its present permanent version in 1920.
In Ranmoor, two memorials were created – by the parish church of St John’s and by the Methodist Chapel in Ranmoor Road. The latter was demolished after 1963, when it joined with Hallam Methodist Church, in Fulwood Road at Nether Green. It was renamed as the Beacon Methodist Church in 2010.
WW1 Memorial in St John’s Parish Church
Members of St John’s Anglican parish church raised funds to erect a memorial for local parishioners killed in the war and to assist “the necessitous dependants of men who fell”. The memorial we can see outside the church, and pictured below, was formally erected on 28 May 1921. It is 16 feet high of unpolished Cornish granite, and was designed by Sheffield architect A. F. Watson.
The memorial lists 58 men in the sequence of their deaths. They are also honoured on a brass tablet inside the church: “To the glory of God and in memory of the men of Ranmoor who gave their lives for honour and freedom in the Great War 1914-1918”. This tablet contains the same list of 58 men as on the stone memorial.
In addition to its external memorial and internal plaque, St John’s holds a Roll of Honour in book form. The document starts like this: “The following are the names of the men of this parish, who, at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardness faced danger on land and sea and in the air and finally passed out of the sight of men, giving up their own lives that others might live in freedom. Let us see that their names are not forgotten.”
The St John’s Roll of Honour covers both world wars, with 60 names for World War One and 30 names for World War Two. The WW1 number is two more than on the external stone memorial, because (as illustrated below) deaths from the war continued in men disabled by their service.
St John’s Roll of Honour ends with words that have become familiar in the century following the war (here punctuated as inside the book):
Inside the bell tower of St John’s is a tablet to honour just one of the men – Arthur Ward, who was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916. Since 1909 Arthur had been a member (with several of his family) of the St John’s bell-ringers. The plaque in his honour was unveiled on 27 September 1919, and on that day the bell-ringers played a half-muffled peal of 5088 changes lasting three hours and 19 minutes.
Information about the 58 men on the memorial is given here in two documents:
— a table showing the men listed on St John’s memorial
— additional information about those men.
WW1 Memorial in the Beacon Methodist Church
Ranmoor’s second memorial to men killed in World War One is located within the Beacon Methodist Church, Nether Green. (As mentioned above, this memorial was originally located in the since-demolished Methodist Chapel in Ranmoor Road.)
The Methodist memorial takes the form of a plaque, which lists five local men, none of whom are on the St John’s list: Arnold Beal, John Burgon, Ashworth Kay, Herbert Robinson, and Maurice Waterfall. Information about these men and their military service is provided in this document, WW1 Methodist Memorial, prepared by Dan Eaton in 2009.
Additional World War One Deaths
In St John’s: Two additional names in the St John’s WW1 Roll of Honour, but not on the external memorial, are Fred Sanderson and John Smith. No information has been located about John Smith, and details about him would be gratefully received.
Fred Sanderson lived before and after the war at 26 Stephen Hill, Crosspool, then part of the parish, but in the 1911 census he was boarding (a “general carter”) at 46 Matthew Street. As a soldier in October 1916, he was transferred to England as “sick”, and was later demobilized as an invalid. He was granted a 100% disability pension for endocarditis, a heart disorder caused by infection from a rat- or flea-bite acquired during his time in the trenches of the Western Front. He died on 8 January, 1921, with his death officially attributed to war service.
Not listed in St John’s or the Beacon: Three other Ranmoor men died in the war but do not appear on either the St John’s or Methodist memorials: George Hutchinson, Charles Nichols and Frank Nichols. All are instead listed on the Fulwood memorial at the junction of Fulwood Road and Canterbury Avenue.
Apprentice plumber George Hutchinson was killed in action in France on 5 April 1918 and is buried in the nearby Acheux military cemetery. He is commemorated on his parent’s gravestone in Christ Church, Fulwood, cemetery and is included on the Fulwood WW1 Memorial. The family were long-time members of Christ Church.
At the 1911 census, Charles Nichols lived with his parents at 41 Carsick View Road, and was shown as a wholesale grocer working in his father’s company. (Subsequent local addresses appear to have been 6 Chorley Drive and 23 Tom Lane.) After serving as a Second Lieutenant with the Honourable Artillery Company, Charles was invalided home in August 1917 and died on 9 November 1917. He is buried in Fulwood Church, and commemorated on Fulwood WW1 Memorial.
Frank Nichols was three years younger than his brother Charles. He also lived with his parents in 1911; he was then a clerk in steel firm Hadfields. From September 1914, he served as a Private in the Sheffield Pals within the York and Lancaster Regiment, and was killed on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916, serving as a machine-gun team leader. His body was never identified, and he is commemorated on the large Thiepval Memorial as well as on the Fulwood WW1 Memorial.
The Overall Picture
In total, 68 Ranmoor men are known to have died as a result of the First World War. Of those, 58 are listed on the St John’s external memorial, five are shown inside the Beacon Methodist Church, two died after the war, and three others are on the Fulwood memorial.
A valuable general account of Sheffield soldiers in the Great War is at http://sheffieldsoldierww1.co.uk
Other relevant websites include: