First World War Memorial.
Reasons for Designation
Catterick Camp and Aerodrome war memorial, which is situated on High Street (A6136), is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on those who served in the armed forces, and the sacrifice they made in the First World War;
* as a monument to Catterick aerodrome, later RAF Catterick, and its role in the First World War, which was to make it one of the oldest military airfields in the world.
* a well-executed Calvary cross memorial.
The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever with tens of thousands of memorials erected across England. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three quarters of a million British lives, and also the official policy of not repatriating the dead which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss. As well as personnel from the Army and Naval services, British losses now included members of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service.
The First World War was the first conflict in which aviation played a major role for all the combatant nations involved. Prior to the Wright brothers’ achievement of controlled aircraft flight in America in 1903, the military services of various nations had used balloons and airships at war: for example, tethered observation balloons were deployed during the American Civil War (1861-5). In Britain, the Royal Engineers became responsible for the Army’s ballooning capability in the 1860s. Despite the sceptical views of the Chief of the Imperial General Staff and the First Sea Lord expressed in 1910, an Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers was formed in 1911 and on 13 April 1912 the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was established, formed of a Military Wing and a Naval Wing. The Admiralty’s Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) followed on 1 July 1914.
At the outbreak of war in August 1914 the RFC comprised 146 officers and fewer than 100 aircraft, whilst the RNAS counted just over 700 personnel, 93 aircraft, two balloons and six airships. By the end of the war in November 1918 the air service had expanded to some 27,000 officers and 260,000 other personnel, operating more than 22,000 aircraft across 188 squadrons. Both RFC and RNAS included servicemen from Dominion countries. Similar expansions were seen in the air services of the other armies, as the First World War provided a unique impetus to fast-track technological advances in aviation around the world.
On the advice of the Smuts Report the RFC and RNAS were merged on 1 April 1918 to form the Royal Air Force (RAF), the world’s first air force independent of army or navy control. At the end of the First World War official figures recorded 14,166 air service casualties, of whom c9,000 men were dead or missing in active theatres of conflict. Some 8,000 had died during training.
A memorial was raised in the village of Catterick in acknowledgment of the huge military presence surrounding the settlement; to the west was Catterick Camp (now Catterick Garrison) and to the south was Catterick airfield (which later became RAF Catterick). The memorial does not include a record of names, but is dedicated to all the officers and men from both the camp and airfield who died during the First World War. It was probably erected not long after the end of the First World War, and was in situ by the time the Ordnance Survey County Series 25in map was published in 1929. The manufacturers were Robert Thompson's Craftsmen Limited of Kilburn, with the costs met partly by public subscription with the rest donated from personnel from the camp and airfield. The land was donated by Sir Harry Lawson.
By the 1960s the memorial was in a poor state of repair. Richmond Rural District Council was unable to raise the funds necessary to undertake repair works, which included a replacement cross and canopy in oak. As a gesture of goodwill the repairs were eventually undertaken free of charge by the Military and Air Force technical staff at the camp and RAF base in Catterick. The memorial was re-dedicated on 7 May 1967.
The road to the east of the memorial was widened at some point in the mid C20 and it was at this stage that the steps were built leading up to the memorial enclosure.
Catterick airfield was opened in 1914 and was operated by the Royal Flying Corps for pilot training and home defence duties for the north east of England. Initially the airfield held only a few aeroplanes, however, as the war progressed, squadrons were formed and expanded with most staying only briefly before moving on to other stations. During 1916, a flight from 76 Squadron took up residence and stayed in Catterick for the rest of the war; they were responsible for the defence of Leeds and Sheffield. Catterick opened as a full aerodrome on 1 December 1917. The training squadrons joined together in July 1918, forming No 49 Training Depot Station until the end of the conflict, when it was disbanded in 1919. With the creation of the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918 it became known as RAF Catterick and as such was one of the oldest military airfields in the world.
An army camp in the Richmond area was already under consideration prior to August 1914. However, within days of the outbreak of the war the order was signed to build the camp to the west of Catterick as a result of the urgent need to recruit more soldiers. Construction began in earnest in early 1915. Originally known as Richmond Camp, this caused confusion with Richmond in Surrey so the name was changed to Catterick Camp after the nearby village and bridge. The camp was designed to accommodate 40,000 troops and the first unit, the 101st Infantry Brigade, arrived in October 1915. It acted as a training camp throughout the war, rehabilitating servicemen recovering from sickness and injury as the war progressed as well as training new draftees waiting to go to the Front. From 1916 it also housed prisoners of war. With the conclusion of the war the camp became a Demobilisation Centre for the army but continued to train soldiers conscripted after the Armistice.
First World War memorial.
DESCRIPTION: Catterick Camp and Aerodrome war memorial is located at the northern end of Catterick village; it stands atop an embankment at the roadside along High Street (A6136).
It takes the form of an oak Calvary cross, painted white; to the north-east face is a painted sculpture of the Crucifixion beneath an oak canopy. The cross rises from a four-sided, chamfered plinth, which surmounts a single step base.
The inscription is to the north-east face of the plinth and reads, SACRED TO THE MEMORY/ OF THE OFFICERS, NON-COMMISSIONED/ OFFICERS AND MEN OF CATTERICK/ CAMP AND AERODROME WHO/ FELL IN THE GREAT WAR/ 1914 - 1918/ MAY THEY REST IN PEACE. A cross pattée symbol is incised above the inscription and to the bottom corners of the north-east face of the plinth.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: The memorial stands on a raised platform of narrow, regular-coursed stone. It is enclosed to the north-east side by metal railings with fleur-de-lys style finials. The remaining sides are bounded by low stone walls of similar construction to the platform, with quoins to the corners and flat stone coping. The enclosure is approached by a flight of stone steps up the embankment; at the top of the steps are low, flanking stone walls with flat copings.