April 2021 marks the Centenary of the Southwell Cross. After the end of WW1, the residents of Southwell raised the funds to erect a Memorial Cross on the Burgage at a cost of £446.

Southwell War Memorial was unveiled by the Duke of Portland (the Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire) and dedicated by the Bishop of Southwell, Edwyn Hoskyns, on Saturday 30th April 1921.

Amongst others present were Mr J R Starkey (M.P for Newark 1906-1922) and Mr Harold Browne Chair of the Memorial Committee who presided. The unveiling and dedication followed a procession from Southwell Minster encompassing all local bodies including the Scouts, Girl Guides and Grammar School Cadets.
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The unveiling ceremony coincided with a period of countrywide austerity and industrial unrest centred on the mining industry with the recently commenced miners' strike leading to the introduction of coal rationing. The Duke of Portland addressed this issue on the Burgage that morning "unity has brought us victory and now that this supreme objective has been achieved let us not forget that we must maintain this unity if we are to remain a great and prosperous nation". He asked that "all classes of the community sink their minor differences so that the nation might not lose the position it had gained by the gallantry and suffering of its sons."

The Last Post and Reveille were sounded by the buglers of the 8TH Sherwood Foresters. The National Anthem and Benediction concluded the ceremony.

Less than a month later in May 1921 the British Legion was formed, bringing together four national organisations of ex-Servicemen that had established themselves after the First World War. The first official Legion Poppy Day was held in Britain on 11th November 1921.

If you pass the Memorial Cross this month, please pause to remember 100 years on.

Andrew Adam

Image shown is of the Dedication ceremony on the Burgage – Saturday 30th April 1921