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Wolds Wagoners Memorial, Sledmere, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Team Sieni
N 54° 04.190 W 000° 34.914
30U E 658225 N 5993995
Quick Description: A memorial to the Wagoners Special Reserve, or "Wolds Wagoners" of local men who served in the First World War.
Location: Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 1/1/2012 7:36:07 AM
Waymark Code: WMDE2G
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Norfolk12
Views: 1

Long Description:

This is a memorial to the Wolds Wagoners (sometimes spelled "Waggoners") Special Reserve. They were the idea of local landowner Sir Mark Sykes who signed up over a thousand local men in the years prior to the outbreak of war, using annual driving competitions as part of his recruitment. The reserve provided trained men capable of handling the army's "pole wagons" enabling swift mobilisation.

The Wagoners Reserve was not a separate army unit, but a pool of skilled men (mainly carters, but also saddlers, wheelwrights, blacksmiths, grooms and even a traction engine driver) ready to serve with whichever army units required them, mainly the horse transport companies of the Army Service Corps. As the war became bogged down, the need for mobile transports lessened and many men were drafted into the infantry. By the end of the war Wagoners had served and died not only in France and Flanders but also Italy, Salonka and the Middle East.

The striking frieze on the monument shows the story of the Wagoners very graphically. (See gallery) The frieze depicts, in various panels:

  • The course of the annual driving competitions at Fimber, on tree lined fields.
  • A Wagoner going about his daily driving work in peacetime.
  • A Wagoner, accompanied by his dog, is enlisted and swears an oath to Captain Harry Sykes (no relation to Sir Mark). The accompanying egraving notes that "Captn Sykes of the ASC enlisted one thousand farm hands between wartimes"
  • Mobilisation: A Wagoner receives his call up papers during harvest in August 1914.
  • A Wagoner bids farewell to his mother, wife, child and dog. He then heads off to war, passing a milestone reading Driffield VIII, York XXIV.
  • A Wagoner joins up and is issued with his uniform. The site of this is probably Moor Barracks in Bradford.
  • The ships conveying the Wagoners to war sail through the hazardous waters of the channel, with sea mines clearly visible.
  • The men disembark. The words "Liberté" and "Égalité" on the buildings tell us that this is France.
  • German soldiers, complete with spiked helmets and wicked grimace, set fire to a church and drag a woman by her hair.
  • The retreat from Mons. German soldiers attack from the left as British soldiers, supplied with a box marked SAA (Small Arms Ammunition) from a wagon, return fire. A nearby signpost indicates Amiens.
  • The German advance is repulsed at Marne, a Wagoner stands by tending his horse.

The monument also bears five verses by Sir Mark Sykes written in East Riding accented English, the first of which is:

These steanes a noble tale do tell
Of what men did when war befell
And in that fourteen harvest-tide
The call for lads went far and wide
To help to save the world fro' wrong
To shield the weak and bind the strong.

Sir Mark Sykes did not serve with the troops whom he had recruited, as he spent the war as a government advisor on the Middle East. He never lived to see the unveiling of the monument, having died in 1919 in Paris, aged 39, of the influenza epidemic that claimed millions of lives across Europe.

Around the top of the monument is carved:
LT. COL: SIR MARK SYKES. BART: M.P. DESIGNED THIS MONUMENT AND SET IT UP AS A REMEMBRANCE OF THE GALLANT SERVICES RENDERED IN THE GREAT WAR. 1914-1919 / BY THE Wagoner'S RESERVE A CORPS OF 1000 DRIVERS RAISED BY HIM ON THE YORKSHIRE WOLD FARMS IN THE YEAR 1912 THOMAS SCOTT FOREMAN. CARLO MAGNONI SCULPTOR. ALFRED BARR MASON.

The sculptor Carlo Magnoni was born in Brescia, Italy circa 1871 and died in 1961

The monumment is a grade II listed building English Heritage Building ID: 167861

For more information on the Wolds Wagoners:

Date the Monument or Memorial was built or dedicated: 9/1/1920

Private or Public Monument?: Private

Name of the Private Organization or Government Entity that built this Monument: Sykes Estate

Geographic Region where the Monument is located: Europe

Website for this Monument: [Web Link]

Physical Address of Monument:
Kirby La
Sledmere, E Yorkshire UK


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