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Collections - Archives

"Golden Roll of Honour"

Sometime after the end of the First World War relatives of fallen soldiers received a letter and a 'Golden Roll of Honour' sent to them as a private fund-raising initiative of Captain Malcolm Cockerell who had served with the Army Service Corps in 1918 and on the Western Front from 8th September 1918.  Cockerell was commissioned as a Temporary 2nd Lieutenant on 29th April 1918 into the Army Service Corps, and he appears to have continued to serve into the early 1920s, and was serving in February 1921 with a home address of Deauville Court, Clapham, London.

The letter sent to the relatives of the fallen, presumably the names and addresses were those he obtained from the Grave Registers produced by the Imperial War Graves Commission said the following:

"Dear Sir or Madam,
The sender of this letter and GOLDEN ROLL of HONOUR is an ex-British Soldier who, owing to the World-wide trade depression is out of employment and who cannot be re-employed here owing to the increasing number of un-employed of French nationality.
It is useless for me to return to England at the present time with my wife and family as there is so little employment for those at home.  I am therefore forced to find some means of earning my living; for there is no unemployment pay for Britishers over here, and so I have designed the enclosed Golden Roll of Honour at the foot of which you will see The Thiepval Memorial which is just completed.  On this memorial is inscribed the name of One dear to you who laid down his life in the Great War.  The official notice of his sacrifice you will also see on the Roll of Honour.
The price of this Roll of Honour is only TWO SHILLINGS and SIXPENCE which I feel even the very poor will be glad to pay, to give it an honoured place in the Home and I trust that you will be able to buy this in spite of the difficulties that beset everyone at home at this moment.
If this meets with your approval will you kindly send me an ORDINARY POSTAL ORDER as soon as possible.
I can supply real photographs of the finished memorial at the following prices:
6 1/2 inches by 3 inches ....  One shilling and sixpence each
16 inches by 12 inches  .....   Six shillings each.
Extra copies of this Roll of Honour CANNOT be supplied.
I can place wreaths at Easter, Birthdays, Armistice Day or Christmas Day at the following rates. - Palm Wreath 8/6 - Laurel Wreath 5/- Holly Wreath for Xmas 7/6 - Bouquets of flowers 2/6.
I have no connection with any others who may have written you at any time.  This is the first communication I have sent to you. 
Thanking you in anticipation of your kind orders,
Yours faithfully,
Malcolm Cockerell
Ex Captain

Please return this slip when remitting.
*19
To M. Cockerell, Rue Pasteur, Albert (Somme), France.
I have decided to keep the Roll of Honour and I send you herewith postal order in payment of same.
Signed (Mr, Mrs or Miss) etc."

The printed scroll, the one referred to in the letter included a photograph of the newly dedicated Thiepval Memorial, (dating it to 1932 or after), although other scrolls featured different memorials.  The reference to "the official notice of his sacrifice you will also see" is the details of the soldier commemorated on the memorial from the registers produced by the Imperial War Graves Commission.  Clearly Captain Cockerell had purchased only a limited number of these, hence "extra copies of this Roll of Honour CANNOT be supplied."

From the 'Golden Rolls of Honour' in the museum's collection it is clear that Captain Cockerell covered the following memorials:

bulletArras Memorial
bulletThiepval Memorial
bulletTyne Cot Memorial
bulletVis-En-Artois Memorial
bulletYpes Menin Gate Memorial

Each of these memorials is featured in the central photograph at the bottom, all of the scrolls include images of the South African Memorial; Ulster Memorial; Australian Memorial and Highland Memorial.

The wording: "For King and Country to the Glory of God and Everlasting Memory of" appears on each certificate which is the followed by a pasted on cutting from the Imperial War Graves Commission Register detailing the soldier:

There are a number of examples of the Golden Roll of Honour in the Museum's Collection and include the following:


Memorial certificate sent to the relatives of Private Bryan Cumpsty (incorrectly spelt Cumpstey in some records),
number 27456, 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.  Killed in action, 28th June 1917, age 23.  Son of Sarah Ann Cumpsty and the late Bryan Cumpsty of 1 Hala Road, Scotforth, Lancaster.  Also shown as 'Cumpstey'. Commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France. 
Accession Number: KO2391/15


Private Percy Edwards, number 17167, 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.  Died 3rd July 1916 age 23 and commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.  Son of Charles and Louisa Edwards of 106 Godolphin Road, Shepherd's Bush, London. 
Accession Number:
KO1856/01


Sergeant Alfred Fishwick, number 241008, 2nd/5th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.  Killed in action 26th October 1917, age 20.  Son of William Henry and Mary Fishwick of 4 The Crescent, Galgate, Lancaster.  Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium. 
Accession Number:
KO1960/02

 
Captain John Prior Jamieson, 3rd Battalion attached to 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.  Died of wounds 13th October 1917.  Son of Eleanor Jamieson of Ellerside, Blundellsands, Liverpool.  Buried in Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Belgium.
Accession Number: KO1831/06

 
Private Albert Smith, number 1700, 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.  A pre-war Reservist of the 3rd Battalion, Albert was mobilised on the outbreak of the First World War and joined the 1st Battalion on the Western Front on 1st November 1914.  He was killed in action on 24th May 1915 at the age of 26 years.  The son of Mrs Ruth Smith, of 26 Whalley Old Road, Blackburn, he is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres. 
Accession Number: KO1992/03 


Private Arthur Stewart, number 6099, 2nd Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.  Killed in action on 8th May 1915, age 31.  Husband of Mary Stewart of 7 Ulverston Road, Swarthmoor, Ulverston.  Commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres. 
Accession Number:
KO1934/05


Private John Thomas Pye, number 241333, 2nd/5th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.  Died 29th August 1918, age 21.  Son of William and Elizabeth Pye, 22 Windermere Road, Freehold, Lancaster.  Commemorated on the Vis-En-Artois Memorial, France. 
Accession Number:
KO1765/01


Private Harold Elton Thompson, number 235275, 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.  Killed in action 12th October 1917, age 23.  Son of Mr T W and Mrs E Thompson of 2 Hadley Terrace, East Barnet, Hertfordshire.  Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium
Accession Number:
KO2781/01

Only a proportion of our collections are on display at anyone time.  Certain items are on loan for display in other institutions.  An appointment is required to consult any of our collections which are held in store.

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