Greenfield’s Great War fallen remembered at Methodist church windows centenary service

A VILLAGE church turned back the clock to commemorate the lives of 22 soldiers who fought in World War One.

The men either perished in the 1914-18 conflict or later died of injuries or illnesses resulting from combat.

Their names and a depiction of St George and the Dragon are engraved on stained glass war memorial windows in Greenfield Methodist Church on Chew Valley Road.

James Allonby, Harvey Colley, Brandon Laban, David Hewitt, Alison Clowes and Thomas Allonby

The Roll of Honour is for those connected with the church – they had attended the Sunday School, the day school that was run until the ‘County School’ (now Greenfield School) opened in 1914 and/or worshiped at the church.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the windows’ installation on June 26, 1921, a special service was hosted by Reverend Ken McNally. Passages and hymns from the original order of service were included as part of the celebration.

Youngsters from 2200 (Saddleworth) Detached Flight Squadron Air Cadets, dressed in period uniforms and surrounded by Great War memorabilia, joined the congregation to mark the occasion.

Reverend McNally

Wreaths were laid by CI and chairperson Alison Clowes at both windows while Rev McNally read out the names of the 22 who perished. The youngest of the fallen – Ernest Kanes – was just 16; the oldest, George Wade at 34.

The Last Post and Reveille also sounded as Cadets and David Hewitt read out part of Laurence Binyon’s poem, For the Fallen.

A socially distanced congregation also heard the life stories of two Greenfield men, Alfred Spencer Butterworth and Claude Wrigley, commemorated in the windows designed by reputed Salford art metal worker and stained-glass maker George Wragge.

Alfred passed away on November 23, 1917, less than three months after his 19th birthday.

He was described as “most amiable, his mental agility exceptional and his aspirations ever towards the noble”. He is buried at Perth Cemetery, China Wall close to the Belgian city of Ypres.

Claude, who was born on October 23, 1891 at Shaw Hall Bank, played cricket for Saddleworth CC and was a “remarkably good worker at Greenfield Wesleyan Church”.

He was wounded on the Somme on October 7, 1916 and invalided out of the war and back to England. He continued to serve in the military and was promoted to corporal.

However, in October 1918 the one-time warehouseman at Royal George Mills and later bank worker, died from pneumonia, aged 26.

Claude was said to be the “embodiment of geniality, brightness and good humour: always pleasant and witty in conversation, assiduous in work and even willing to render service where needed.” He is buried in St Chads Church graveyard.

• You can still view the service of commemoration on YouTube: https://youtu.be/eeRFAGSTuak

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