DescriptionThere is minimal information available about the commissioning of the Leeds Rifles Memorial, which is not untypical for Lutyens’s regimental memorials. Unlike towns and villages across the country, disputes between those involved were uncommon and fundraising was relatively straightforward.
The memorial is Lutyens’s familiar War Cross, but its location is unusual, being mounted on top of a retaining wall alongside Kirkgate in the city centre. It is the only occasion when the architect used one of his “standard” crosses for a regimental memorial.
The memorial was unveiled by Capt G Sanders, VC, MC of the regiment on 13 November 1921. He had been awarded the former for conspicuous bravery on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme.
(Contributor: Tim Skelton)
War memorial The Leeds Rifles (the Leeds Battalions, The Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire) Regiment was the only regiment to choose a Lutyens War Cross as a memorial. The chosen site was the edge of the churchyard of St Peter Kirkgate, in the centre of Leeds…The memorial is a relatively small War Cross of Portland stone, set in a break in the churchyard wall facing out to the street. The fall in levels accommodates a stone bench beneath the cross that doubles as a ledge for wreaths. Elaborate iron railings with arrow-head finials to bars flank the cross.
On the cross: 7TH AND 8TH BATTALIONS/ WEST YORKSHIRE REGIMENT/ THE PRINCE OF WALES’S OWN/ LEEDS RIFLES/ 45TH (LEEDS RIFLES) BATTALION/ ROYAL TANK REGIMENT/ 66TH (LEEDS RIFLES) HAA REGIMENT/ ROYAL ARTILLERY
On the wall: TO/ THE MEN OF/THE LEEDS RIFLES/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES/ 1914-1918/ 1939-1945 Bronze regimental badges on cross: above the inscription: Leeds Rifles; below (L to R) Royal Artillery, Prince of Wales’s Own (Leeds Rifles), Royal Tank Regiment. (Historic England, list entry 1375049)
BibliographyHistoric England. NORTH BOUNDARY WALL AND STEPS, NORTH WEST GATE AND PIERS, WAR MEMORIAL AND EAST BAR STONE. [Online] Available from: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1375049
Also Cited InLeach, P.E. (2009) Yorkshire West Riding – Leeds, Bradford and the North. The Buildings of England. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Gliddon, G. and Skelton, T.J. (2008) Lutyens and the Great War. London: Frances Lincoln