The Life and Family of
Louise Mary Holme

Transcript of an article from The Westmorland Gazette October 30, 1920

 

WINSTER MEMORIAL

A Women Amongst Those Who Fell.

 

The dedication and unveiling of Winster's memorial to her fallen in the Great War on Sunday attracted representatives from every household in the scattered but beautiful valley as well as many persons from the adjoining townships. The sun shone brilliantly on the autumn tinted landscape and the scene of unalloyed calm and restfulness was singularly appropriate for honouring the memory of those who, as the vicar feelingly remarked, were now resting from the clash of arms and the din of battle. In addition to the vicar, the Rev Arthur Haworth, the clergy who took part were Canon Symes of Kendal Parish Church, the Rev EH Cook of Ings, formerly vicar of Winster, the Rev T Heelis and the Rev F Heath. Col. Weston, M.P., and Mrs Weston and Mr E.B. Potter, and his daughter, Mrs. Watts-Jones, who designed the cross, were amongst others present. The cross is of red sandstone and stands 16ft 6in high on square bases and has an hexagonal shaft and on its arms rests a wreath of laurel. The following names are carved on it :- W. H. Higgin-Burkett, Capt. 3rd Bn. Lan. Fus; Joseph Holt, Capt. 6th Bn. Manchester Regt. ; Luke Sowerby, L.Cpl. 8th Bn. Border Regt; Edward Arthur Kirkbridge, Pte 3rd King's Liverpool Regt. ; Fred Marsden, Pte 3/4th Bn Loyal North Lane Regt.; Edward Chapman, Pte 1st Bn. Cheshire Regt.; Stephen Elleray, Pte 1st Bn. Border Regt.; Louise M Holme, O.B.E., Q.M.A.A.C. The first part of the service took place in the church and included the lesson from 21st chapter of Revelations, the hymn, "When I survey the wonderful Cross," and special prayers. In the graveyard Canon Symes performed the simple function of dedication "to the glory of God and in the memory of those who fell in the service of their country," with a simple prayer that those who looked upon the cross might be mindful of the sacrifice which this country paid for freedom. Bugler Edward Jenkinson, of Storrs then sounded "Reveille." Called upon to perform the unveiling ceremony Mrs Watts-Jones said it was almost unnecessary for her to remind them of the war, they all remembered so well these terrible days of anxiety, Germans rushing through Belgium, the French falling back, and our own little army, so plucky, keeping up the best traditions of England, but almost hopelestsly outnumbered. They remembered Lord Kitchener's great call to the nation. "I want a million men, and their whole army was only about 250,000! How splendidly was that call answered. A million came, and still another million. They sprang up like the legionary army of the dragon's teeth, almost out of the ground, but where as that army rose up armed and fighting, our men had to be equipped, armed, and trained.

 

THE WOMENS PART

 

Then there came an almost unexpected answer to the call. Women trained to the care of the house, the management of the food, to feed the children, saw that it was now their duty to feed the guns. Thousands of women went into munition works, and very soon found that they could manage the lathe and turn a shell to an infinitesimal fraction of an inch. The W.A.A.C. Was formed , the Women's Royal Naval Service, the Voluntary Aid Detachment, as well as innumerable branches of nursing. Women, formerly afraid to go near a cow or a horse, found that they could manage a whole farm yard. Women who would scream at the sight of a mouse, faced without a tremor, the German guns and shells in the clearing stations and bombs on the hospitals in France. Women in fact did work that only men had done. It was one of those splendid women who was in their thought that day, whose name was before them on that memorial. Louise Holme joined the Q.M.A.A.C. and served with such distinction that she was awarded the Order of the British Empire. This would be handed down for generation in her family, a precious heirloom of which any family might rightly be proud. But the men who went out had to face all the horrors of war, loss of limbs, loss of eye sight, imprisonment in the terrible German camps, loss of life itself. She had had the opportunity at one time of seeing something of men who had faced all this. They were ranged up every morning in the long corridors of one of the London hospitals on trolleys, crutches, wheeled chairs, sticks, men without arms, men without legs, all suffering from some kind of wound, waiting for the surgeons who were doing the great work of mending, piecing together those poor broken limbs and bodies; all very cheerful and happy to be at home. Many of them were only boys. Touching briefly on the origin of memorial crosses Mrs.Watts-Jones concluded by releasing the Union Jack from the summit of the cross, thus unveiling it " to the Glory of God and to the memory of those from this parish who gave their lives in the Great War, and their names shall live for ever more." Bugler Jenkinson then sounded "Last Post," and as the clarion call echoed over the golden landscape a note of triumph cheered the ineffable sadness of the scene though many cheeks were wet with tears which could no longer be held back. The Rev.E.H. Cook in response to the vicar, addressed the parishioners, and reminded them that it was over 12 years that he first came to Winster and learnt to know some of the dear lads there, and learnt to love them too. Seven years passed and then came the Great War, and their outlook was changed and altered. When the call help came from over the sea, when that brave little handful of men saw plainly that they could not stem the tide of overwhelming odds, when they felt that they must have help or they would be swept away, and our homes in England utterly demolished, the call came for more men and the call was answered loyally from town and village here at home, answered loyally from far off colonies and dependencies. The call was heard and answered from lonely valleys and from peaceful farms, from humble cottages as well as from teaming town and lordly mansion. The call was heard in Winster and answered by this whose name appeared on their roll of honour. Seven men and one women had made the supreme sacrifice. That girl, who had given her life for her country just like the men, was at no time strong, just a weak women, but longing with all her heart to do something to help. Work was given her, and she threw her whole heart and soul into it and did it well. The decoration bestowed on her showed how well, but her health was undermined, and she came home only to die. They were there that afternoon not only to do honour to those dear to them, but also to keep before them for all time this high ideal of self-sacrifice. Briefly relating the circumstances leading up to the erection of the cross, he asked them to let Rudyard Kipling's words "Lest we forget," always ring in their ears. He hoped that this "Sermon in stones," this beautiful memorial would always preach its own words to them in the future. Let them thank God that this terrible time had passed over, and for this wonderful self sacrifice which should be a key note for the whole country now and for always.