Ossett Pictures - Ossett War Memorial 2007
The Ossett war memorial to commemorate the 230 Ossett men who died in the First World War and those who died in WW2 is now located in Ossett Market Place after being moved from its original site at the bottom end of Kingsway.
The idea of a war memorial was first suggested in October 1917 by the then Ossett Mayor, Alderman G.F. Wilson who called a public meeting to discuss the possibility of a permanent memorial to commemorate those men from Ossett who had died in the Great War.
Although the public meeting wasn't well attended, a Committee was formed and what followed were many suggestions for a suitable war memorial, including one ambitious idea for the construction of a lake behind the primary school in Spa Street, Ossett. The lake was to have a central island complete with a bronze statue of Britannia rescuing her child from an eagle. The proposal for a YMCA Social Club was strongly opposed by Ossett stalwart, Thomas Westwood on the basis that it would encourage younger men to abandon their Sunday school studies. Other ideas were for the construction of leisure parks in each of Ossett's four electoral Wards. Another idea was for a substantial monetary endowment for the hospital in Dewsbury and another for free scholarships for the sons and daughters of the town's fallen WW1 servicemen.
After sporadic initial interest and the decision to consult serving soldiers for their views, nothing much happened until the war ended in November 1918, when yet another public meeting was called and four schemes were put forward for consideration:
a) A permanent Roll of Honour for fallen Ossett servicemen;
b) Recreation Grounds for use by Ossett's children;
c) A fund to pay the rent and rates of Ossett's war widows;
d) Public swimming baths within the Borough.
Sadly, like the earlier public meeting in 1917, attendance was poor and no decision was reached with the meeting adjourned for two months - an "insult to the soldiers of Ossett" was one widely held viewpoint. In fact absolutely nothing was done until 1928 when a permanent Roll of Honour was chosen as a suitable commemoration.
Ossett's war memorial was finally unveiled on Remembrance Day, Sunday, the 11th November 1928. Despite the heavy rain, a large crowd gathered. After Lord Lascelles removed the union jack, which covered the statue, speeches were made, and a bugler sounded the Last Post, and then after a short period of silence, the Reveille was played. The national anthem and hymns were then sung.