Saturday, 7 November 2015

At the war memorial in Heaton Mersey ..................

The war memorial on Didsbury Road, date unknown
War memorials are I think very personal and while we treat them with respect and interest they are rooted in their own locality acting as a focus for local acts of remembrance and as places which still have a profound meaning for anyone associated with the men and women they commemorate.

So while I have passed the memorial at Heaton Mersey many times I never stopped to look at it until today.

It is located on Didsbury Road in front of St John the Baptist and consists of a stone cross with metal panels on the base engraved with the names of those from Heaton Mersey who fell both world wars.

In all there are the names of 102 men who died in those two conflicts and amongst them is the name of Ernest Grime who was killed on December 24th 1917, just 14 days after he had arrived in France and on his first day in the line.

I doubt I would ever have come across Private Grime were it not for one of those odd series of chances which started with a photograph of a ghost sign on the side of a house on Didsbury Road and the discovery that this had been his home which is just a few doors down from the memorial

Private Ernest Grime, 1886-1917
According to the Stockport Advertiser, “he was widely known in Heaton Mersey, Didsbury and district and was greatly respected.  He was a steady industrious young man with a high moral character which endeared him to a large circle of friends and he will be sadly missed.”*

Now I have David Harrop to thank for the photograph of the ghost sign and for telling me about Private Grime.

David as many will know has a large collection of memorabilia from both world wars and has a permanent exhibition in the Remembrance Lodge at Southern Cemetery and this November will be taken part in remembrance services in both Manchester and Stockport.

So it is fitting that I should conclude by mentioning the service at St John’s Parish Church on Sunday November 8th at 10.30 whose day school Ernest attended.

David will be there reading a poem and exhibiting a Tower Poppy, a memorial cross and other items from his collection.

The memorial cross is particularly poignant because it is an iron grave marker used to identify the burial plot of a fallen soldier and dates from the year Private Grime was killed.

Pictures; from the collection of David Harrop

*Stockport Advertiser, January 25, 1918

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