The Cenotaph War Memorial on Bennetthorpe

The Cenotaph War Memorial on Bennetthorpe (formerly Bennitthorpe) was unveiled on Monday 12th March 1923 at 3 pm. It pays homage to the Doncaster men who died serving in the First World War. The Doncaster Gazette, Friday March 9th 1923, noted that the Mayor of Doncaster, Councillor T. H. Oliver had requested for business and trades to close for the service, so that “as many of the public as possible [could] attend.” It was observed by thousands of the towns people.

The Doncaster Gazette, March 16th 1923, reported on the procession. It formed at Priory Place and was led by mounted police and the band of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (K.O.Y.L.I.), followed by a K.O.Y.L.I. detachment, the Queen’s Own Yorkshire’s Dragoons, ex-servicemen, members of the British Legion, relatives of the deceased carrying wreaths, the Borough Police, the St John Ambulance Brigade, the macebearer (Mr. A. Ellis), the Mayor, the Town Clerk (Mr. W. Bagshaw), the Corporation Chaplain (Archdeacon Sandford), members of the Town Council, Corporation officials and magistrates.

The procession moved respectfully to where the memorial was cloaked by a Union Jack. The sermon began with a sung hymn, “O God our Help in Ages Past” which was played by the 5th K.O.Y.L.I. band. Archdeacon Sandford then made a statement fitting for the occasion before reading the scripture. The unveiling of the memorial was carried out by Colonel C. C. Moxon, Late Officer Commanding the 5th K.O.Y.L.I., dressed in a khaki uniform with his medals and orders of office. The Doncaster Chronicle, March 16th 1923, reported that “he gave an admirable address full of the patriotic spirit.”

Following his speech, Colonel Moxon uncloaked the Union Jack, revealing the memorial to the crowd. Archdeacon Sandford then dedicated the monument as the buglers of the 5th K.O.Y.L.I. sounded the “Last Post.” To this point, the Doncaster Chronicle, March 16th 1923, reported that the crowd was “hushed into reflection,” but “moved to tears” as the Last Post sounded. Prayers were made for the bereaved and the departed with the hymn, “Let Saints on Earth in Concert Sing.” The Benediction of the memorial was then carried out, before the 5th K.O.Y.L.I. buglers sounded out the Reveille. The service was concluded by the singing of the National Anthem.