First World War regimental memorial, 1921, with additions following the Second World War and for subsequent conflicts.
Reasons for Designation
The Green Howards Regimental War Memorial including cross, steps, piers and railings, situated at the top of Frenchgate, Richmond, North Yorkshire, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this community, and the sacrifices made by members of this regiment in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architectural interest: the richly ornamented Celtic cross is given an added dimension by its siting on a high platform approached by a ceremonial staircase and enclosed on three sides by contemporary piers and railings;
* Group value: the war memorial stands at the head of Frenchgate amongst numerous buildings listed at Grade II.
The Green Howards was an infantry regiment, raised in November 1688 by Colonel Francis Luttrell for service under William, Prince of Orange. Under the leadership of Colonel Charles Howard during the C18 wars of the Austrian Succession the regiment became known as the Green Howards, to distinguish its soldiers from those of the Buff Howards.
The regimental depot of the Green Howards was in Richmond throughout the First World War. At that time the regiment comprised 24 battalions with more than 65,000 serving men. Of these nearly 9,000 died in the conflict with 24,000 wounded. Actions in which the Green Howards served included the Battle of the Somme in 1916; the 2nd, 7th and 10th Battalions were in the Order of Battle with 211 men killed on the first day alone, 1 July. The 5th Battalion took part in the attack on Flers-Courcelette on 15 September 1916; by the time it was withdrawn four days later it had suffered 252 casualties.
The memorial cross at the head of Frenchgate, Richmond, was unveiled on 13 July 1921 by Sir Hugh Bell, Lord-Lieutenant of the North Riding, and dedicated by Canon Egerton Leigh. The stone for the cross, from the Aske estate, was donated by Lord Zetland. Floral tributes were laid at the foot of the cross included a wreath from Queen Alexandra, Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment. A memorial book listing the names of the fallen was also made, funded by subscription, and dedicated in the parish church at the service prior to the unveiling.
The regimental name changed a number of times but the nickname stuck and in 1920 the regiment had become The Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales’ Own Yorkshire Regiment). The Green Howards were amalgamated with the Prince of Wales’ Own Regiment Yorkshire and the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment to form the Yorkshire Regiment in 2006. The 2nd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards) was removed from the Order of Battle in 2012. Inscriptions have been added to the memorial since the Second World War and to commemorate those soldiers who have died in subsequent conflicts.
The memorial cross stands at the junction of Pottergate and Frenchgate, at the top of a tall flight of stone steps rising from Frenchgate to the south. It comprises a richly ornamented Celtic cross standing on a square pedestal. Both faces of the cross and cross shaft are decorated with interlace patterns carved in relief. Collars at the foot of the cross shaft bear the dates 1914 – 1918 and 1939 – 1945.
The principal dedicatory inscription on the front panel of the pedestal reads TO COMMEMORATE THE GALLANT DEAD/ OF THE YORKSHIRE REGIMENT/ THE GREEN HOWARDS/ WHO FOUGHT AND DIED FOR THEIR COUNTRY/ IN THE GREAT WAR AND WHOSE NAMES/ ARE RECORDED IN A BOOK PLACED IN/ THE RICHMOND PARISH CHURCH. This is repeated on the rear panel. The regimental cap badge in use during the First World War is carved in low relief on the side panels.
The cross stands on a high, rectangular ashlar platform with stone corner piers and metal railings. In front of the southern corner piers, simple stone panels forming planters record some of the places where the regiment has served: to the left, NORTH RUSSIA 1919/ AFGHANISTAN/ WAZIRISTAN/ PALESTINE/ MALAYA/ "LEST WE FORGET"; to the right, NORTHERN IRELAND/ FALKLANDS/ "LEST WE FORGET".
A rectangular planter, which is not of special interest, placed to the north side of the memorial is inscribed AND/ OF ALL THOSE GREEN HOWARDS WHO FELL IN OTHER/ OPERATIONS. The platform has been slightly re-modelled since the unveiling and the railings and stone piers have been carried along the south side of Frenchgate/Pottergate. This extension of the railings and piers is excluded from the listing.
This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 1 February 2017.