Bradford Memorial Committee, Darlington
Formed to provide a national memorial to Brigadier-General Roland Bradford VC
The Bradford Memorial Committee was elected on 18 December 1917 at a public meeting at the Technical College, Darlington, less than a month after Roland Bradford had been killed at the Battle of Cambrai.
Four days later the committee held its first meeting in Darlington Town Hall with the object of raising funds for a national memorial to commemorate one of the town’s most illustrious citizens, the youngest general in the British Army.
A sub-committee was appointed to manage a national fund-raising campaign and at a further meeting on 30 December 1917 it was decided to ask the war correspondent and novelist Colonel John Buchan to write a memoir of Roland Bradford’s life. Copies of this memoir were to be enclosed with the appeal for donations.
A national newspaper publicity campaign was approved on 1 November 1918, with adverts to appear in the ‘Morning Post’, ‘Daily Telegraph’, ‘The Times’ and the ‘Evening Standard’. The appeal was also to appear in the three local newspapers.
Unfortunately on 11 November, the day that the advertisements appeared, the Bradford appeal was overshadowed by the announcement of the Armistice.
By February 1919 subscriptions to the memorial fund stood at over £1800. The committee arranged to send out 10,000 specially printed appeals and to contact leading local businesses.
In November 1920 the committee met again to discuss the form the memorial should take. They proposed two memorials – a tablet in St Cuthbert’s Church and a Bradford memorial entrance at Darlington’s war memorial hospital.
Local architect William Jobson Moscrop designed both the alabaster tablet that was unveiled in St Cuthbert’s Church on 5 July 1925, and the entrance porch to Darlington Memorial Hospital.
After the ceremony at St Cuthbert’s Church, the Bradford Memorial Committee did not meet again until 1932. Work on the town’s war memorial hospital in Hollyhurst Road, which had started in 1925, was nearing completion and it was decided to hand over the balance of the memorial fund to Darlington Hospital Committee. At a ceremony in the Town Hall on 27 June 1932 a cheque for £1962 17s 5d was presented to Councillor Luck, earmarked for the Bradford Memorial Porch. The hospital was officially opened in 1933.
In the fifteen years of the Bradford Memorial Committee’s existence it managed to raise a total of £2,664 by subscription. Both of the memorials funded by the committee are still standing today.
North East War Memorials Project website:
Plaque Bradford VC 1917 St Cuthbert
Porch Bradford VC 1917 Hospital
Civil Parish: Darlington
Contributed by David C. | Henry R., York | Durham County Record Office
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