started with the Pals’ recruitment between September and
December 1914. These were men who knew each other, worked
together, signed up together and fought and died together. The
Chorley recruits formed a company of 222 men within the 11th
(Service) Battalion (Accrington) East Lancashire Regiment.
Accrington was the smallest town in Britain to form a battalion
of around 1,000 men.
They went into action on 1 July 1916, the first day of the
Battle of the Somme. This was the blackest day in the history of
the British army and the Pals suffered similarly on that day.
Remembrance to the men that fell was centred on the Chorley Pals
Roll of Honour in Astley Hall. However, due to the small size of
the room it is held in, it cannot cope with all but the smallest
groups. This is particularly so with school groups and the
important work of education and the understanding of the Pals.
A local historian, John Garwood, has studied and recorded the
Chorley Pals since the late 1970’s and continues his research to
this day. Chorley owes a debt to John for all his work, which
includes a commemorative plaque in Sheffield Memorial Park at
However, it was felt a memorial was needed that had names on it
and it was in February 2007 that the 2 co-founders of this
project, Steve and Chorley MP, Lindsay Hoyle, started down the
road for such a memorial.
A committee was formed and an appeal that included publicity in
the local press. Funds were donated, which included money from
successful bids from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. This
led to a need for a sculpture for the memorial and the one
chosen was Peter Hodgkinson, the man responsible for the Tom
Finney, ‘Splash’ statue at Deepdale.
The Pals Memorial statue was finally unveiled at 2pm on Sunday,
28 February 2010.
Steve emphasised the point that the project continues to this
day, which includes his involvement with talks, articles,
interviews, website hits and the sale of the Chorley Pals book.
Remembers – Will You?
success of the Chorley Pals Memorial it was decided a new
‘Chorley Pals memorial project’ was needed. This is to include
the names on the cenotaph of all those from Chorley town parish
who have died when serving their country. This would include the
650 from World War 1, 150 from World War 2 and those from the
conflicts in Northern Ireland, Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan.
For this purpose a Trust has been set up and a full time project
manager, Nikki Davidson-Kerr, has been employed.
Heritage Lottery Fund money was bid for and obtained to survey
and repair the Memorial Arch to Astley Park. These funds will
also go to improvements to expand the room in Astley Hall, which
houses the Roll of Honour.
To be successful in obtaining funds the Heritage Lottery Fund
likes ‘outcomes’ and the Trust can point to many. For example,
participation at the Buckshaw Village Event, production of
resource packs to all schools in Chorley borough, research and
databases containing names of every man and woman who died in
service of their country and the production of another ‘Chorley
Remembers’ book, amongst many more ‘outcomes’.
Following on from this project other areas of interest are of
those from Chorley who served in the Boer War (1899-1902), the
Territorial Army, ‘the Terriers’, who served and died in World
War 1, World War 2 ‘Pals’, the Home Guard and those who
experienced National Service. These and more are integral to
As in the title of Steve’s talk the Chorley Pals Memorial is
very much more than ‘just a statue’.
The evening concluded with a short silent film from the North
West Film Archive of the opening in Astley pak of the cenotaph
on 31 May 1924. A fitting end to an excellent evening.