memorial was in fact built by Dalton Main Collieries Ltd. in honour
of their employees both at Silverwood and Roundwood Collieries who
had died in service during the great war.
The company engaged Lieutenant Colonel J. B. Knight T. D. J. P. to
design a fitting tribute, and Messrs Chadwick and Co. Ltd. of
Rotherham were given the task of building it. Now the stonework at
the base of the monument was constructed from the stone existing at
the location, and Cornish Granite was used for the octagonal column.
The General Electric Co. Ltd. of Sheffield supplied the five foot
high beacon. A power line was then run down to the site from
Silverwood colliery to supply power for the electric lamps.
To finish off the the memorial Dunford Bridge rustic paving was laid
around the cenotaph and a stone wall was constructed around the
paving. Messrs Yates and Heywood supplied bronze plates upon which
where inscribed the names of those who had fallen. These were placed
inside a alcove made of stone. Accompanying the names was the
inscription Let your light so shine before men.
The unveiling of the memorial took place in December 1923, Mr. F.
Parker Rhodes chairman of the Dalton Main Company carried out the
unveiling and the Bishop of Sheffield performed the dedication.
Many local dignitaries were invited to attend the ceremony including
Sir William H. Ellis, Sir Chas and Lady Ellis, and a Mr F. J. Dundas
who were Directors of the company. Other company officials were A.
Blenkinsop General Manager, H. Wright Sales Agent, F. H. Frost
secretary to the colleries, W. H. Ball the Manager of Silverwood, G.
Wilshaw the Manager of Roundwood.
Local Churches were represented by Rev. G. H. C. Bowen St Leonards ,
Rev. J. E. Reding Rotherham Wesleyan Methodist Circuit Minister,
Rev. R. Gregory St. Peters Thrybergh, Rev. W. Dyer Vicar of
Eastwood, and Rev Canon A. Hayes of Vicar of Christ Church Park
On the day Sergeant Major T. E. Troop and Mr. E. Butler were
appointed the marshalls of the procession which gathered outside the
Silverwood Brass Band with members of the Rawmarsh Prize Band and
also the Rotherham Borough Brass Band led the procession from the
offices to the Memorial to a march known as Strains of the Dead. A
massed choir consisting of choirs from members of churches in the
Thrybergh, Ravenfield and Dalton area followed behind the Band. Next
in the procession led by Sergeant Major Troop were local ex service
men. The group of local clergymen who attended led by the Lord
Bishop of Sheffield then followed the service men. Behind the Clergy
came the Colliery directors , the colliery ambulances, and bringing
up the rear were mourners and members of the public.
Many of the relatives had made their way to the memorial and with a
large public gathering waited for the procession to arrive.
Upon the arrival of the procession the service of dedication began
and Rev G. H. C. Bowen announced the first hymn which was "For all
the Saints who from their labours rest" The Rev. Bowen then recited
two prayers. This was followed by the reading of the lesson from the
Rev. J. Reding, and then Mr. Parker Rhodes was asked to unveil the
bronze tablets draped with a union Jack and bearing the names of
those who had fallen.
The Bishop of Sheffield then dedicated the Beacon Light with the
words " In the faith of of Jesus Christ we dedicate this war
memorial to the honour and glory of almighty God, and in loving and
honoured memory of the men of these two collieries who gave their
lives for King and country in the Great War, in the name of the
father, of the son, and of the holy Ghost".
Four buglers from the York and Lancaster Regiment 5th battalion then
played the last post.
Lady Ellis then stepped forward and laid the first wreath at the
foot of the memorial, as the congregation sang the hymn "Hark! the
sound of holy voices." The general thanksgiving prayer was then read
by the Rev R. Gregory, and was followed by another apt hymn for the
"The radiant morn hath passed away".
The beacon light was then switched on to the opening notes of the
The Lord Bishop of Sheffield then concluded the service with a
blessing and a very commendable moving speech, the most memorable
lines from that speech were the words " Our Country never stood so
high in the esteem of the world as it did in the Great War" " This
was because nearly everybody did what they could, and that hundreds
of thousands some of which are present risked everything, even life
The beacon tower was in memory of those whom God called home in that
great and arduous strife, it stood as a memorial of how great a
mining community regarded those who were part of their membership,
those whom they had known, worked with, and played with in days gone
Silverwood Colliery had lost 250 men, and Roundwood lost 62, a
tragic total of 312 lives
So the memorial stood there proudly shining
its light, until the blight of the second half of the last century
struck, mindless vandalism ! !
The brass plaques that had proudly born the names of those service
men for years were stolen, stolen by thieves who I doubt had the
mentality to comprehend what these plaques represented.
Thankfully Thrybergh Parish Council took a great initiative and
decided that they would move the memorial to a safer place, not
having the funds to pay for the cost they approached Rotherham
Borough Council for a grant. They succeeded in the application and
then approached local business for donations to achieve payment of
the final cost.
Kevin Russell of Belmont Constructions was given the contract to
remove the memorial and reconstruct it outside the Thrybergh Parish
Hall. As can be seen from the photo the reconstruction was very
Again the community spirit inspired by the council saw Mr Cartwright
who was at that time the Manager of Silverwood Colliery chipping in
with a new electric cable to once more ensure that the beacon shone
its light before men . Fosters Garden Centre long renowned for their
community spirit sent along two benches for people to sit on. A
technical Teacher from Thrybergh Comprehensive School then applied
his knowledge and expertise in the rebuilding of the Lantern.
The whole effort took three months to complete.
I am left with a feeling of admiration for the people involved in
this, the saving of a monument, for there is no doubt this monument
would have eventually been destroyed had it been left in its
2004 John Doxey