Town pays tribute to war dead with 'Tommy' statue

A new memorial to fallen soldiers has been unveiled in Horbury.

By James Carney
Thursday, 16th July 2020, 2:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th July 2020, 3:02 pm
John Lockwood, Christopher Johnson, Malcom Patterson and Darren Byford with the Tommy.
John Lockwood, Christopher Johnson, Malcom Patterson and Darren Byford with the Tommy.

Representatives from the Royal British Legion, Wakefield Council, and St Peter and St Leonard’s Church in Horbury unveiled the tribute yesterday.

The Horbury Tommy was funded as a joint venture between Horbury, Sitlington and Ossett Royal British Legion and councillor Darren Byford, as a tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Coun Byford said: “Horbury is very proud to welcome Tommy to the Memorial Park.

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“The history of the ‘Tommy’ is thought to have come from the bravery of a soldier at the Battle of Boxtel in 1794.

“An exhausted and terribly wounded solider called Private Thomas Atkins, was quoted as saying ‘It’s all in a day’s work’ shortly before passing away.

“His bravery is now used to celebrate all acts of bravery in conflicts and Horbury is pleased to be able to commemorate all our armed forces who have given the ultimate sacrifice.”

Royal British Legion branch president John Lockwood, chairman Malcolm Patterson , and Father Christopher Johnson from the church joined Coun Byford for the unveiling.

Mr Patterson said Coun Byford was “instrumental” in bringing the Tommy to Horbury.

He said: “He has done a lot for us to help enhance the garden as somewhere for people to reflect, pay their respects, and say thank you to all those that gave their lives in two world wars and conflicts around the world.”

The local branch of the Royal British Legion is waiting for instructions about how to mark this year’s Remembrance Day with social distancing guidelines in place.