The War Memorial in Rhyl was unveiled 110 years ago. A statue of a Royal Welsh Fusilier was chosen to remember the dead of the Boer War. Who would have believed that so many more names would be added during the course of the Twentieth Century?
On Monday afternoon, September 5th, 1904 the unveiling ceremony took place in the presence of a large crowd, consisting of both residents and visitors. The monument was unveiled by the Lord Lieutenant of Flintshire (Mr H.R. Hughes of Kinmel).
The monument stands about 14′ high (4.2 m) and consists of a base of two York stone steps and a pedestal of a fine axed Kemnay granite surmounted by a Carrara marble figure of a Royal Welsh Fusilier in khaki uniform and with arms reversed.
On a scroll adorning the pedestal leaded letters mark the names of the soldiers:
The time lapse between the end of the Boer War and the unveiling ceremony was due in part to an initial lack of enthusiasm. Public subscription was opened by one of Rhyl’s tradesmen Mr T.J. Hughes of Hughes and Son, Tailors, High Street. Eventually a committee was formed and Mr F.J. Gamlin was elected Chairman. The other reason for the delay was that the committee wanted a memorial which was free from debt and worthy of the town – both of these aspirations were achieved. The chosen design was that of Mr H. Chatham, Monumental Sculptor, Brighton Road, and he was commissioned to execute the work. The outlay amounted to approximately £100.
After the ceremony the Town Clerk Mr A. Rowlands (Secretary and Treasurer of the Memorial Fund) spoke. He explained that 40 men from Rhyl had joined the three Volunteer Battalions of Flint, Carnarvon (sic) and Denbigh serving in the South African War, all of whom went through severe work and hardships. Whilst most returned home, six men in all lost their lives and the monument is raised in their honour. Two of the men were killed in action, one died of wounds and three died of fever. The living comrades were presented with a framed illuminated address.
The memorial was paid for by public subscription and Mr Rowlands went on to say “Subscribers are very numerous and consist largely of the working men of Rhyl, old playmates and acquaintances of the departed. In sending his mite, one wrote to me these lines:
“This small contribution is sent in memory of our fallen comrades from one who knew them in school days, and loved them in later days”.“
Lest we forget.
* The Memorial was originally sited on the promenade near to John Street/Edward Henry Street. It was moved c. 1928 to a site on the promenade near to the top of High Street. In 1948 the Memorial was moved again to its present position in the Garden of Remembrance.
Rhyl Journal, September 10th, 1904.