Frances Graham Born

Daughter of William Graham, Liberal MP, India merchant and patron of the arts, Frances continued her father’s passion for the arts both in London and at home in Somerset.

ArtistsAsquith familyHorner familyMellswomen



Alfred Munnings born

Alfred Munnings was born in Mendham, Suffolk, son of a Suffolk miller.




Raymond Asquith Born

Raymond was the first son and heir of British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith and his first wife Helen.

Asquith family


Edward Vranch born

Third of nine children born to farm worker William and Fanny Vranch, Coleford

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9 Sep 1885

Katharine Horner born

Youngest daughter of Sir John and Lady Frances Horner, brought up at Mells Manor with her siblings, Cicely, Edward and Mark. Quieter than her elder sister, Katharine had a deep love of poetry, a passion she shared with her husband to be Raymond Asquith, whom she first met in 1901 when he visited Mells with his family.

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Edward Horner Born

Edward was the oldest son and heir to the Horner estate in Mells.

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Edward Vranch joins 13th Regiment of Foot

Later to become the Somerset Light Infantry. Edward was then 18; went on to serve in Malta, India and China.

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Edwin Lutyens First Meets Frances Horner

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17 June 1898

Edward Burne-Jones dies

Burne-Jones, was one of the most important of the late Pre-Raphaelite artists. He was a lifelong friend and admirer of Frances Graham (later to be Frances Horner), despite being 22 years her senior. Frances and her family appear in Burne-Jones sketches and paintings, and Frances, a talented embroiderer, was responsible for the production of several of his embroideries and tapestries.




Beatrice King Born

Beatrice was younger sister of Tom and Charles King, both of whom are remembered on the Mells war memorial.

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25 Jul 1907

Raymond Asquith Marries Katharine Horner

One of the London society weddings of the year, uniting two families – the Horner and Asquith’s – who had long been close friends and part of the set known as the ‘Souls.’

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Mark Horner dies of Scarlet Fever

Well liked youngest son of Sir John and Lady Frances Horner whose death at the age of 16 left his brother Edward as the sole male heir.

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1908 Herbert Asquith Becomes Prime Minister

22 Oct 1908

Lady Helen Frances Asquith born

Helen was the first child of Raymond and Katharine Asquith. A small collection of her letters to her father, Raymond, and Uncle Edward Horner, while they were on active service, remain in the Asquith / Horner archive. She is also captured on film in the BBC documentary ‘The Day the Guns Fell Silent’ made in 1998.

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Edward Vranch marries Edith Annie Fisher of Peasdown St John

Edward and Annie went on to have three children; Reginald, Kenneth and Peggy. Edith would have moved with her husband’s military life, but returned to Peasedown in 1915 whilst her husband served in France.

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Lady Perdita Rose Mary Asquith Born

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28 Jun 1914 Archduke Ferdinand of Austria assassinated in Sarajevo

28 Jul 1914 Austria declares war on Serbia

August 1914

Alfred Munnings attempts to volunteer for military service but rejected

Although Munnings tried to volunteer to join the army several times, he was assessed as unfit to to fight due to blindness in one eye.


2 Aug 1914 Clash in London between peace campaigners and war supporters

11 Aug 1914 Royal Army Medical Corps waved off at Frome Railway Station

25 Aug 1914

Mells Colliery payments to the families of reservists

The Mells Colliery Company announces that it will pay the wives of Reservists 3s 6d per week during their absence, as well as a bag of coal.


September 1914 First Belgian refugees arrive in Frome

14 Sep 1914

Charles King dies at Battle of Aisne, France

Charles Glazier King was the 21 year old son of Richard Henry and Rose King, of Lower Vobster, Coleford, near Bath, Somerset.

Charles and his brother Tom enlisted with the Coldstream Guards in 1913 having been rejected by the Metropolitan Police. They hoped to try again for the police at a later date but sadly neither brother survived the war.

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19 Oct 1914 First Battle of Ypres

29 Oct 1914 Turkey enters the war on Germany’s side

29 Oct 1914 Trench warfare begins on the Western Front

31 Oct 1914

Alfred Grace killed at the Balle of Neuves Chappelles, France

He is listed on the Le Tournet Memorial which commemorates those who fell in the Battle of La Bassee, Neuve Chapelle, Auberrs Ridge and Festubert 1914-15. Private in the 1st Battalion The Wiltshire Regiment.

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November 1914 Keyford asylum becomes the Frome Red Cross Hospital

7 Nov 1914 First Belgian casualties arrive at Longleat Relief Hospital

23 Nov 1914 Battalion of the Royal Field Artillery arrive in Frome

25 Dec 1914 Christmas Truce on the Western Front

26 Dec 1914 First sighting of German planes over London


19 Jan 1915 First German zeppelin attack on England


Creation of the first Landships (Tanks) Committee by First Lord of the Admirality

For secrecy the name of the Landships Committee (created by the then First Lord, Winston Churchill) was changed to the Tank Supply Committee as a good cover for the new armoured vehicles being devised (water tanks were considered to be the same size and shape) This is the name that has remained in constant use since.

February 1915

Van de Verve family, refugees from Belgium, arrive in Mells

In 1915 Poyntz House, Mells became temporary home to the Van der Werve family – husband, wife and five children. The family remained throughout the war, and according to Lady Horner’s memoir, continued to contribute to village charities long after their return to Belgium.


19 Feb 1915 The Dardanelles Campaign begins

19 Feb 1915 First use of poison gas by the German military

21 Feb 1915 68,280 sandwiches dispatched to soldiers stationed in Frome

March 1915 Frome Prisoner of War fund set up

18 Mar 1915 Government begins to enrol women to take the place of serving men

26 Mar 1915 Large number of casualties admitted to the Keyford Red Cross Hospital

22 Apr 1915 Germany fire chlorine gas shells at Allied Lines

22 Apr 1915 Second Battle of Ypres ends in stalemate

May 1915 Allied Forces land at Gallipoli

May 1915

Edward Horner Severely Wounded

Edward was seriously injured when a bullet passed through his kidney, necessitating an operation to remove it. This was such a high risk procedure, his parents were allowed to travel to France to be with him.

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7 May 1915 Lusitania sunk by German submarine with over a thousand lives lost

13 May 1915

Arthur Long dies at Ypres, Belgium

An ex Boer War veteran, Arthur Long re-joined his old regiment in 1914. He and his brother were popular and well known in Mells, as village builders and also in the village theatricals. Corporal in the Somerset Yeomanry, he left a widow and three children.

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13 May 1915

Stanes Geoffrey Bates Killed in Action near Hooge, Ypres During the Battle of Frexenburg Ridge

He is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) memorial to the ‘Missing’. Adjutant in the North Somerset Yeomanry, his family were tenants of Mells Park.

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24th May 1915

Memorial Service for Capt. Stanes Geoffrey Bates and Corporal Arthur James Long

Both of these Mells men were with the North Somerset Yeomanry and were killed in action on Thursday 13th May 1915. Capt Bates was the only son and heir of  Mr G. T. Bates of Mells Park and Arthur Long – an ex Boer War veteran – was well known as the village builder and for the prominent part he played in the village theatricals. The service took place in the Church of St Andrew and as described in The Somerset Standard, “It was a very representative congregation – high and low, rich and poor, one with another – who had assembled with one common aim, to do honour to the memory of two heroes.” Both men are commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial to the ‘Missing.’

June 1915

Joint Memorial Service for Captain Bates and Arthur Long at Mells Church

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16 Aug 1915

Private Herbert Olding dies at Ypres, Belgium


Herbert Olding was the 23 year old son of Thomas and Lydia Olding of Wadbury, Mells, Great Elm. He is buried in Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, West Flanders, Belgium.


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1 Oct 1915

Frome War Hospital Depot opens at 12 Cheap Street

Run entirely by volunteers, by August 1918 the depot had made 220,576 articles for dispatch from it’s needlework, surgical dressing and carpentry rooms.


16 Oct 1915

Helen writes to her father, Raymond Asquith

The letter, transcribed by Frome College History Club, thanks Raymond for the present of a pen knife.


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4 December 1915

Edgar Chamberlain letter to Frances Horner thanking her for Christmas Parcel

Parcels must have been sent to all village men currently serving. This is one of several thank you letters which survive in the Horner / Asquith archive;  a rare voice of one of the village men named on the memorial. The letters show, despite the strong class distinctions of the time, the close connections and sense of social responsibility that continued in the village.

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27 Jan 1916 Conscription introduced in Britain

13 Feb 1916 Liberal MP for Frome, Sir John Barlow votes against the Military Service Act

21 Feb 1916 Start of the Battle of Verdun

7 Apr 1916

Francis Baber, Private in the Gloucestershire Regiment, Dies of Pneumonia, St Omer

The 35th Division arrived in France at the end of January/early February 1916, completing its concentration around St Omer by the 9th of that month. The Division’s first major action occurred during the Battle of the Somme, the Battle for Bazentin ridge from 15th-17th July. Francis John Baber was the 23 year old son of Edmund and Mary Louisa Baber of Mells.

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15 Apr 1916

Herbert Vranch, Private in the Somerset Light Infantry, Killed in Action

As he is buried in Kut War Cemetery, Iraq, it is highly probable that he was among the two drafts supplied as reinforcements to the 2nd Battalion Dorset regiment (16th Infantry Brigade 6th Poona Division) captured at Kut. His home was Mells Green.

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22 April 1916

Julian “Trim” Asquith Born

Katharine Asquith gave birth to the Asquiths’ first and only son Julian in April 1916, nicknamed ‘Trim’ by his father Raymond on a visit home before his death at the Front.

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May 1916 On War Service Brooch introduced for women ‘Engaged in the manufacture of munitions of War or other urgent work’

31 May 1916 The Battle of Jutland in the North Sea

5 Jun 1916 Lord Kitchener and 600 men drowned when HMS Hampshire struck an enemy mine, off the Orkneys

1 Jul 1916 Battle of the Somme begins

5 Jul 1916 J.W. Singer & Sons is declared ‘Controlled under the Munitions Act’

27 Jul 1916 Siegfried Sassoon awarded the Military Cross for ‘conspicuous gallantry’

September 1916

Lieut. Col. A. W. Mayo Robinson inspects Keyford Red Cross Hospital

“I thought the men looked so happy and well nourished, and I was specially pleased with the trench fever cases, which seem to do better here than at any other hospital that I visited”.



Edward Vranch awarded the Russian Medal of St George, 1st class

This was the only 1st class award of this medal to be given to a member of the Somerset Light Infantry during the entire war.

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15 Sep 1916 First use of tanks on the battlefield

15 Sep 1916 Battle of Flers-Courcelette Begins

15 September 1916

Lieutenant Raymond Asquith dies at the Battle of Flers/Courcelette, Somme

A lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards, Raymond Asquith was the eldest son of the wartime prime minister Herbert Asquith (1908-1916) and husband of Katharine, youngest daughter of the Horner family, Mells.


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16 September 1916

Tom King of Vobster dies in the Battle of Flers/Courcelette, Somme

Tom King (standing) was the 25 years old son of Richard Henry and Rose King, of Lower Vobster, Coleford, near Bath, Somerset. He is one of three men named on the village memorial who died the same weekend in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, during the Somme offensive.

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16 Sep 1916

Edward Vranch of Mells and Peasdown dies at the Battle of Flers/ Courcelette, Somme, France

A sergeant in the Somerset Light Infantry, Edward Vranch was a career soldier who had already served twenty years in the army in Malta, India and China.

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27 Sep 1916

Private Oliver Burge dies at the Battle of Thiepval, France


Oliver Samuel Burge was born at Mells near Frome. Aged 22, he was the seventh son of the late Mr George Burge and was an under-gardener at Mells Park. His younger brother of Stanley also died during the First World War, whilst a prisoner of war in Germany.


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October 1916

‘Scholars into Soldiers’ by Rothenstein exhibited at the Royal Academy

Rothensein began ‘Scholars into Soldiers’ in 1916, as part of an idea, never completed, for a war memorial. It depicts Oxford graduates of the time, receiving their degrees wearing academic robes over their military uniforms. The soldiers depicted include Raymond Asquith (far left), who had died at the Battle of Flers-Corcelette only weeks before the painting was exhibited, unfinished, at the Eleventh Arts and Crafts Exhibition at the Royal Academy. ‘Scholars into Soldiers’, which takes the form of a triptych, was never completed; The proposal, in the thick of war, was perhaps too early to consider for a country in no way ready to think about how to remember.


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7 Dec 1916 Herbert Asquith resigns as Prime Minister

13 Dec 1916

Sapper Frank Philips dies in the Somme, France


Frank Phillips was the son of Henry Phillips and the late Emma Phillips of 141 Manchester Road, Millwall London, emigrated to Australia, but was native of Mells. He joined the Australian Imperial Force on the 31st January 1916. Frank was 45 when the unit embarked from Sydney aboard the HMAT “Star of Victoria” on the 31st March 1916.


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Army employs Alfred Munnings to care for cavalry horses, Caldecott Park

Alfred Munnings finally succeeded in getting an army job by writing to Cecil Aldin, an old hunting friend, now the major in charge of the Remount Depot at Caldecott Park, near Reading. Munnings helped care for the thousands of horses that arrived each week, restoring them to condition to be send off to the war.


5 Jan 1917

Thomas Witcombe, Private in Devonshire Regiment, Killed in Action.

He was buried in the Serre Road Cemetery, No1, Hebeterne, Pas de Calais, France. His home was Sawpit Cottage, Mells.

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1 Feb 1917 Sugar rationing introduced in Britain


First official War Artists appointed and sent to France

Official war artists were appointed and sent to France to record the events of the war including William Orpen and Augustus John.


25 Feb 1917 Decryption of the Zimmerman telegram proposing a military alliance between Germany and Mexico

11 Mar 1917 British troops capture Baghdad

15 Mar 1917 Russian Tsar, Tsar Nicholas II abdicates

6 Apr 1917 United States enters the war on the side of the Allies

July 1917

Edwin Lutyens Visits a Battlefield in France

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16 Jul 1917 Third Battle of Ypres (also known at Passchendaele) begins

22 Aug 1917

Edgar Chamberlain, Lance Corporal, Somerset Light Infantry Killed in an Attack on Inverness Copse

This was during the Third Battle of Ypres (alternatively known as the Passchendaele offensive) and was fought over the period 31 July – 10 November 1917. He is commemorated on Tyne Cot Memorial, Paschendaele.

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October 1917

Mells Park destroyed by fire

“The fire broke out at seven Thurs.night – there were only two maids and the one-legged there – and it was a wild blowing pouring night… The colliers and farmers and villagers were splendid. They saved most of the books… and all the worst family portraits of course…” Frances Horner writing to Katharine Asquith.

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8 Oct 1917

Wilfred Owen begins his poem ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’

It is finished between January and March 1918, but not published until after Owens death in 1920

7 Nov 1917 Bolsheviks overthrow the Russian Government during the 1917 Revolution

20 November - 7 December 1917 Battle of Cambrai

21 Nov 1917

Edward Horner dies at the Battle of Cambrai, France

Edward had already been seriously injured in May 1915 when a bullet passed through his kidney, necessitating an operation to remove it. This was such a high risk procedure, his parents travelled to France to be with him. Remarkably Edward recovered, and after a frustrating time spent in Egypt on a staff job, in February 1917, at his own insistence, he returned to the 18th (Queen Mary’s) Own Hussars (cavalry) in France, where he was shot and killed by a sniper at Noyelles.

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January 1918 Women’s Royal Navy established


Munnings joins the Canadian War Memorials Art Programme

Alfred Munnings was not amongst the official war artists, however Max Aitken, later Lord , to Beaverbrook created the Canadian War Memorials’ Scheme to record the contribution of Canadian troops. Munnings was approached to paint the Canadian Cavalry Brigade in action in France. His first portrait was of General Jack Seeley on Warrior, painted in full view of the enemy who were barely a mile away.


6 Feb 1918 Women aged 30 or over given the right to vote

3 Mar 1918 Germany and Russia make peace

30 Mar 1918

Munnings paints ‘The Charge of Flowerdrew’s Squadron’

One of his most famous paintings, depicting one of the last great cavalry charges at the Battle of Moreuil Wood. It was not painted from life, and is a romantic impression rather than an accurate portrait.


1 Apr 1918 Women’s Royal Air Force established

April - August 1918

Katharine Asquith Nursing in France

Bereft at the loss of her husband and brother, Katherine left her three young children in the care of her mother and signed up as a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurse at the Duchess of Sutherland’s hospital at St Omer.

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2 Apr 1918

Gilbert James, Private in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, Killed in Action During Ludendorf’s German Spring Offensive in Picardy

He is commemorated on the Poziers Memorial to the Fifth Army as ‘Missing’.

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10 Apr 1918

Wyndham Hames Private, Somerset Light Infantry Dies Whilst Serving in Palestine

He is buried in Ramleh Cemetery, Isreal. He was Gamekeeper to Sir John Horner.

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28 May 1918 First American battle offensive at Cantigny

4 Jun 1918

Stanley Burge, Private, 1st Battalion in the Berkshire Regiment (Prince Charlotte of Wale’s) Died Whilst a Prisoner of War

He is buried in Niederwehren Cemetery, Germany.

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6 Aug 1918

Grand Red Cross fete held in Victoria Park

Opened by Admiral Lord Jellicoe, it was in aid of both the Frome Red Cross Hospital in Keyford and the War Hospital Depot on Cheap Street on 6th and 7th August.


10 Sep 1918

Edgar James, Private 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), Killed in Action During the Battle of Hindenburg Line

He was the son of Mr and Mrs Albert James, of Stones Ash Farm, Mells, Somerset. He was buried in Epehy Wood Farm Cemetery, Somme, France.

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30 Oct 1918 Turkey makes peace with Allies

3 Nov 1918 Austria makes peace with Allies

4 Nov 1918

Wilfred Owen killed in action in France after being awarded the Military Cross

9 Nov 1918 Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicates

11 Nov 1918 Armistice signed between France, Britain, and Germany


16 Feb 1919

Edwin Fricker of Vobster dies of wounds sustained in France

Edwin was injured and transported home. He is buried in Vobster (St Edmund) churchyard, one of the many Commonwealth War Graves at home in the British Isles.


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Frances Horner and Katharine Asquith embroider ‘Love’

Mells Church houses a large embroidery ‘Love’ designed by Burne Jones. Believed to have been embroidered by Frances Horner and Katharine Asquith as part of their own grieving and as a gift to the village in memory of all those who did not come back.

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June 1919

Munnings purchases Castle House, Dedham

Following the war, Munnings’ equestrian art became increasingly popular. The sale of a large number of  paintings to Connell’s Gallery on Bond Street, enabled him to buy his house in Dedham. The Edward Horner memorial sculpture was the first work he undertook in his studio there.



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Canadian War Memorials Exhibition, Ottawa

This exhibition included 45 of Munnings’ war paintings. Although these pictures did not make him much money, they gained him attention and commissions, particularly from riders and sportsmen who admired his portraits of officers on horseback. It also led to him being elected an Associate of the Royal Academy.


19 Jul 1919

First sketch by Lutyens for cenotaph

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29 Jul 1919

Temporary Cenotaph completed as focus for the nation’s grief

The temporary cenotaph proved so popular that a permanent Cenotaph in Portland Stone was commissioned.

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4 Aug 1919

Edwin Lutyens delivers Edward Horner memorial tablet to Mells

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Plaster cast of Edward Horner statue completed in Dedham

One of only two sculptures that Munnings created,  Munnings and his assistant Waters built the full size maquette in clay around an armature made by the local blacksmith in Dedham.

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11 Nov 1920 Permanent Cenotaph completed for second anniversary of the Armistice


13 Jun 1921

Somerset Standard letter to Frances Horner on the new village memorial

“But the Mells Memorial – well I frankly admit I found it impossible to describe adequately the effect it produced on me. I should think it would be impossible for anybody ever to pass it without being compelled to stop & look & think.” Reginald T. Dix, Editor

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26 Jun 1921

Mells War Memorial Unveiled

A crowd of 1,500 – as many people as populated the village at the time – turned out for the unveiling of the memorial by Brigadier General Arthur Asquith.

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28 Sept 1923

Installation of the Edward Horner memorial: Munnings writes to Frances Horner

“I am very glad the bronze pleases you and I would very much like to see it now Sir Edwin has set it on its base”.

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