An update by Catherine IPL Loveday
As a child I was puzzled by the absence of my Father’s name on the local War Memorial.
In 1994 I approached the local authority to request, that as a hero of the Second World War who was killed on active service in 1941, his name should be remembered for posterity on a local War Memorial. On Remembrance Sunday in 1995 a dedication ceremony was held at East Barnet War Memorial to mark the unveiling of his name on the Memorial.
It was then that a Barnet Councillor asked me, “Was your Father the only one from this Village who was killed during the Second World War?”
This was the start of my journey; with the assistance of Michael Pearce, from St Mary’s Parish Church, I began to research the names of those War Dead from East Barnet, whose names should be inscribed on the War Memorial. Another 47 names were added to a new plaque which was fitted onto the Memorial.
After completion of those additions, I was approached by a relative who had lost family members from New Barnet in WW2 and asked if I could do the same for them.
My husband and I spent many hours poring over old editions of the local press, from 1939-1946, scouring the obituary columns and visiting local schools and churches to ascertain that we had included everyone on our list.
Fund raising began again, and we appointed a stonemason to make and engrave a Portland stone plaque with the 137 names engraved on it. With the authorisation of the local authority, who were very supportive, this plaque was added to the New Barnet War memorial in 2011.
In 2011 I was invited to join the BWMA.
The next War memorial to be updated on my list was at Hendon. With the backing of the BWMA I started to research those Second World War Dead from Hendon, who had been ‘forgotten’.
Mick Crick, also a BWMA member, and I then began our task of updating Hendon War Memorial with the 287 names of those local heroes who had made the ultimate sacrifice. This was achieved in Autumn of 2015 but there still remained one more area in the Borough from my original list.
In the Finchley area, there were no comprehensive public free standing War Memorials with lists of names for the relatives of lost loved ones, killed in action in the Second World War. Nowhere to remember, honour and commemorate them in Finchley. Neither was there a list of names of those from the local area killed during the Great War.
At the end of the Great War, the name of the local Finchley Community Hospital was changed to Finchley War Memorial Hospital to commemorate the War Dead, but there were no names recorded.
Mick Crick and I, with the support of the BWMA, took this challenge on, and in November 2015 we approached the then management of the hospital for permission to erect a War Memorial. We received a very positive and supportive response, the attitude being, a War Memorial is meaningless without the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
I started to research names of War Dead from both the Great War and the Second World War, from the Finchley and surrounding area together with the huge task of fund raising.
Gerald Alterman joined us in 2017 to help with the fund raising and organisation of this mammoth task.
We now had 1,307 names and approached a stonemason to ascertain the costs of such an undertaking. By May of 2018 we felt ready to go ahead with the finalised project.
However, we were then met with problems associated with authorisation from the hospital freeholders. Our Chairman, Martin Russell, negotiated with the London Borough of Barnet to obtain all necessary legalities and authorisations for this project to go ahead.
Construction has now started on the erection of this magnificent Memorial as you can see from the photographs and we expect it to be completed during the summer.
Catherine IPL Loveday
We’ll bring you more details and images as they progress ready for it’s completion in September 2021.