Reflections: World War 1

 The Clitheroe Tank

Brungerly tank

After the First World War I remember the arrival of the tank in Clitheroe. This tank came as a gift because of the work Clitheroe had done during the war, the money they’d saved and so on all to help the war effort. Well this tank very nearly knocked down that massive lamppost we had right in the centre of the market place, right in front of where the library is. It was there for a bit but later it was taken to Brungerley Park where it was on a little mound dominating the whole of the valley. When I was a kid, probably ten or eleven, a pal and I found how we could effect an entry into this tank and we used to get in and, believe me, we killed more Germans than any soldier in the British Army! 

 Clitheroe in the First World War

I was born in Clitheroe and my earliest memories are of the First World War. I was a little boy at home one afternoon and the air was rent with the most heart rending scream and my mother said `Mrs. Parker’ and she rushed next door, came back a few minutes later in tears and said `Poor old dear, she’s just had a telegram from France, her boy’s dead’. That is an enduring memory of the war. But there are many others. I went to Wesley School and I remember taking coppers to school each week to buy savings stamps which had a picture of Jack Cornwell, the boy VC, who I think was killed at the Battle of Jutland. You used to wear little luminous discs in your buttonhole when you went out at night, there was a blackout. You held these little discs up to the gaslight before you went out then put them in your buttonhole so people could see you coming when you went down the street. My father wasn’t in the army he was one of what they called the volunteers and so many nights a week they had to go to Whalley and guard the arches.

I remember the very first aeroplane I ever saw. It was in the First War and this plane had made a forced landing at Bolton-by-Bowland and Mr.Garlick, who ran wagonettes from his mews in Wellgate, ran trips from Clitheroe to Bolton-by-Bowland to see this plane. I remember going in the evening, this little tiny boy sat between my father and mother high up on this wagonette to Bolton-by-Bowland to look at this aeroplane. It seemed to be a construction chiefly of canvas and bamboo and it had this gallant aviator stood beside it, his goggles on top of his head and nonchalantly swinging his helmet.

Castlegate Cenotaph 3


Shortly after the end of the First World War the castle grounds came on the market. They wanted a lot of money for them for the time but Clitheroe was determined to have it for a war memorial. So all kinds of events were held, a fete on the castle field, I remember that’s where I first saw sheepdog trials and then the castle grounds were bought and really there couldn’t possibly be a better war memorial anywhere. I remember the actual unveiling of the war memorial. The mayor was of course supposed to do the job, to officiate, or lay the first wreath. It was the late Alderman Whipp and he was about to lay the first wreath and he turned to a man in the crowd and said `No Mr. Snape you have a better right than I’ because Mr. Snape had lost, I think it was five sons in that dreadful war.

Jimmy Fell b.1911 Clitheroe

I remember the end of the First War. I was playing out in the backyard one morning and the church bells started to ring. It was eleven o’clock on the eleventh of November and the war was over and within a couple of hours the streets of Clitheroe were adorned with flags and bunting and everybody was singing and shouting and happy. Of course Clitheroe had to celebrate it with a torchlight procession. Later they had more celebrations when the peace formalities were finally completed.

Hannah Taylor b. 1911 Clitheroe