Our War Memorial

The First World War lasted from 1914 to 1918. So why does the Arlington Baths Club war memorial say 1919?

Photo of the War Memorial, an iron plaque with names of people who served in both world wars

The Armistice was agreed on 11 November 1918 however some memorials, like ours, use the 1919 date because the Peace Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28 June 1919.

In fact, according to the UK War Memorials website, it wasn’t until 31 August 1921 that Parliament officially declared the war to be ended, and even then some British troops continued to serve, like one of our members – Sydney Ancill – who was with the Army in Iraq in 1920.

So what’s the history of our War Memorial?

In its report to the annual general meeting (AGM) on 12 May 1920 the Joint-Committee of the Baths referred to plans to erect a memorial in time for the Club’s 50th anniversary.

“The Club (which was originally known as The Arlington Swimming Club) was formed on 20th July 1870, and will, accordingly, attain its Jubilee on that data this year. As the Committee do not consider the months of July as suitable time for celebrate such an important occasion they propose to wait till October, by which time also they hope to have ready for dedication a suitable tablet to be planned in the Entrance Hall to the memory of those Members who fell in the Great War. By order of the Joint Committee W Boyd Anderson, Chairman, Alexander Sloan C.A., Secretary. Glasgow, 5th May 1920
Arlington Baths Club annual report 1920 (Glasgow City Archives TD965/2)

 “The Club (which was originally known as The Arlington Swimming Club) was formed on 20th July 1870, and will, accordingly, attain its Jubilee on that date this year. As the Committee do not consider the months of July as suitable time for celebrate such an important occasion they propose to wait till October, by which time also they hope to have ready for dedication a suitable tablet to be planned in the Entrance Hall to the memory of those Members who fell in the great War.”

Arlington Baths Club Annual Report 1920.

However, at the AGM on 11 May 1921, the committee had to report that the memorial was not yet in place.

“The Committee hope soon to have ready for dedication a suitable Tablet to be placed in the Entrance Hall to the memory of those Members who fell in the great War.”
Arlington Baths Club Annual Report 1921 (Glasgow City Archives TD965/2)

But on 12 April 1922 the Glasgow Herald newspaper reported the unveiling of the memorial.

The Glasgow Herald, 22 April 1922

GLASGOW BATHS CLUB MEMORIAL

A memorial to the members of the Arlington Baths Club, Glasgow, who fell in the war was unveiled in the reading room of the club last night by Lieut. Colonel Robert Kyle C.MG, D.S.O., in presence of a large gathering of club members and relatives. Mr W Boyd Anderson presided. Colonel Kyle, in the course of an address, said that he was glad that the old club had done justice to their honoured dead. He referred to what had been done in a similar way by institutions throughout the country, and said it was right that the Arlington Club should feel that their comrades should be honoured like the lave. The names were read by Mr A Sloan, C.A., secretary, and the memorial was dedicated by the Rev. A.K. Walton, Claremont Church. Members of the Tramway Pipe Band played the Lament and sounded the Last Post and Reveille. The memorial, which contains 72 names, is a cast bronze tablet. Wreaths of laurel encircle the inscriptions, and palm leaves separate the four columns of names, while on each corner is the St Andrew’s Cross. The club’s roll of honour contains 273 names of members who served in the war.

(‘lave’ is  Scots word meaning ‘the rest’ or ‘the remainder’)

So on 10th May 1922 the Joint Committee was finally able to report that to the AGM that the  Memorial was in now in place.

“The Memorial Tablet to the memory of those Members who fell in the Great War, which has been placed on the wall of the Reading Room, was unveiled by Colonel Kyle, C.M.G., D.S.O., and dedicated by the Rev. A. K. Walton, M.A., on 11th April, when there was a large attendance of Members and of Relatives and friends of the deceased”
Arlington Baths Club annual report 1922 (Glasgow City Archives TD965/2)

“The Memorial Tablet to the memory of those Members who fell in the Great War, which has been placed on the wall of the Reading Room, was unveiled by Colonel Kyle, C.M.G., D.S.O., and dedicated by the Rev. A. K. Walton, M.A., on 11th April, when there was a large attendance of Members and of Relatives and friends of the deceased.”

Arlington Baths Club Annual Report 1921.

It is especially poignant to reflect that both Colonel Robert Kyle and Mr W Boyd Anderson may have had special reason to be there. Among the 72 names on the memorial are Hugh Kyle and Matthew Anderson. We have not yet been able to fully research these two men but we think Matthew Anderson was W Boyd Anderson’s only son. Perhaps there was a similar family connection between Colonel Kyle and Hugh Kyle.

The War Memorial in the Arlington Baths Club

There are other tantalising details that we may never get to the bottom of. The  handwritten note added to the AGM report says “See photo &c in Minute Book No. 7 p 395-6”. But, sadly,  minute book 7 is missing.

We’ve never seen the Roll of Honour mentioned in the newspaper report. It was also referred to in the Ladies Minutes Book in 1914 when the Committee recommended that Ethel Perry  and Margaret Hutchison be added to it.

We also don’t know who designed or made the memorial but we do know how much it cost. In the 1922 accounts, the expenses of erecting the War Memorial Tablet are listed as £80 15s 9d. According to the Bank of England inflation calculator this is equivalent to about £4,320 today.

A second panel was added to the Memorial following the Second World War with 39 names; it was unveiled on 9 October 1951.

The band Rose Room playing in the Members Lounge in June 2012. The War Memorial is visible on the back wall.

It was moved at some point from the Entrance Hall into the Member’s Lounge. You can see it at the back of this photo from a gig with the band Rose Room which took place in June 2012.

Just a few months later the Lounge was refurbished and the Memorial was moved upstairs to the Reading Room.

We’ve now added our Tablet to the Imperial War Museum War Memorials Register and to the War Memorials Online website. If you think one of your ancestors may be on the memorial and would like to come and have a look, please just get in touch to ensure we can arrange a time when the room is not being used. We’d love to share it with you, and hear your family’s story.

Researcher: Lucy, Will, Gordon

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