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STEPHEN BENSON

STEPHEN BENSON is crowdfunding

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£2,213
raised of £5,000 target by 52 supporters

Weʼre raising £5,000 to fund the restoration of a First World War private memorial to Captain Houston Stewart Hamilton Wallace in Bazentin, Somme, France.

Cheshire
6 days to go

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Story

The restoration plan is to not only restore a private First World War Memorial back to a pristine state including a new plaque, but to enhance the location and make it more accessible by having a few steps added and then a levelled area with an information board about Houston and his story. Materials will be sourced locally and kept in line with the local area.

Who was Houston Stewart Hamilton Wallace?

Houston Stewart Hamilton Wallace born in Birkenhead in 1893, he was the only child of William Hamilton and Emily Constance (nee Heap), of the Nook, Shrewsbury Road, Birkenhead. William was a J.P. for the borough, Emily was the daughter of Joshua Heap. HSH Wallace was educated at Fettes College, Edinburgh 1906 to 1912 and then at Merton College, Oxford. He gained a commission in to the 10th battalion Worcestershire Regiment and went to France August 1, 1915. Both his parents had died by 1914, his father in a tragic accident in 1912, after playing golf at Wallasey, he returned home and had to post a letter, on returning the gate to his drive was jammed, he stepped up on to a ledge leaning over attempting to release it from the opposite side, slipped and impaled his arm on one of the railings, it severed an artery and he died shortly after from the loss of blood. Houston’s mother, Emily passed away in April 1914, in North Wales, both are buried at Flaybrick Cemetery, Birkenhead.

Houston was killed in action July 22, 1916. His battalion, 10 Worcestershire Regiment had orders to capture a German machine gun post, during the attacks that failed to capture the guns Houston was killed.

As both his parents had passed away his aunt Beatrice was listed as his next of kin. After the war Beatrice searched for the location of Houston’s burial, sadly the location was lost. However, she had received a letter from his CO, in which he stated that Houston was buried near to a calvary at Bazentin. She identified the location of where the calvary had been and had a replacement made and dedicated it to Houston. As Houston has no known grave he is named on Thiepval Memorial.

Pictured above is Beatrice at the memorial in the early 1920's.

In the early 1920’s the then IWGC took care of the memorial on an agreed 20-year plan where Beatrice paid them to maintain it. That took the maintenance up to the eve of WW2. In February 1940, Beatrice died age 83, and after the war care of the memorial discontinued. In the early 1990’s the Western Front Association (WFA) started a project to identify private memorials. They asked historian Paul Reed to help, Paul found the stone cairn base location and then eventually talking to local villagers found the original wooden calvary in a garage in the village. In 1994 with support from the WFA the memorial was restored and rededicated. Sadly, over the last twenty-nine years it has once again fallen into disrepair.

During the past couple of months the land in front of the memorial has been cleared.

In October a closer inspection and survey was carried out. The plan is to clear and level the ground in front of the memorial, construct some steps up to it and have a stone levelled area with a border and an information board about Houston and the fighting that took place there in 1916. This board will be written in English, French and German.

The survey also revealed the current state of the memorial, the pictures below shows that work is urgently required.

All the work will be carried out by Western Front Services Ltd.

WFS Ltd understand the importance of honouring and preserving the memory of those who sacrificed their lives on the battlefield. Their skilled team specialises in the restoration and conservation of memorials, ensuring that they remain in pristine condition. From cleaning and repairing to repainting and re-gilding, they handle every aspect of memorial restoration with the utmost care and attention to detail.

https://westernfrontservices.com/

In addition this project will also support the cleaning and some minor repairs to a second memorial just a few hundred metres away. This memorial is dedicated to nine Royal Engineers killed a week after Houston. This memorial requires the brickwork cleaning and some repointing. The lettering on the plaque requires a little work and the base requires a new layer of chipping.

Any funds left over from this project will be donated to other First World War sites in the Somme area, in memory of my friend Marcel Gouw, who sadly passed away 23rd August 2023. Marcel and I walked the Somme battlefields, he had a passion for ensuring that the memory of those who fought on the Somme are not forgotten.

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Updates

1

  • STEPHEN BENSON2 months ago
    STEPHEN BENSON

    STEPHEN BENSON

    2 months ago

    A sketch of what the site will have done this summer.

    Update from the Page owner

    Share this update to help us raise more

10 months ago

STEPHEN BENSON started crowdfunding

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Page last updated on: 5/3/2024 10.10

Supporters

52

  • Michèl Admiraal RA MA

    Michèl Admiraal RA MA

    May 3, 2024

    Worth remembering !

    £100.00

  • Peter Stroo

    Peter Stroo

    Apr 26, 2024

    Visited the memorial last year and was shocked by the state it was in. Thought it was a pity nobody stepped in. Happy to help with a small donation.

    £15.00

  • Philip Keary

    Philip Keary

    Apr 24, 2024

    Great work and great project. It’s the least we should do for those who gave their lives for this country.

    £10.00

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    Apr 22, 2024

    £5.00

  • David and Anne

    David and Anne

    Apr 21, 2024

    £10.00

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    Apr 17, 2024

    £10.00

  • Susan Callaghan

    Susan Callaghan

    Apr 16, 2024

    Every little helps - I hope this memorial can be restored for this incredible soldier x

    £10.00

STEPHEN BENSON

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About the fundraiser
STEPHEN BENSON

STEPHEN BENSON

Cheshire

First World War historian, and trustee of the Cheshire Roll of Honour.

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