Memories of    one of our own Victoria   Cross heroes

The centenary of the First World War is being commemorated across the country and on Sunday, September 9, Conisbrough Community Events remembered one of their own in WWI heroes, Laurence Calvert.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 18th September 2018, 11:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th September 2018, 11:37 am
Sgt Laurence Calvert memorial
Sgt Laurence Calvert memorial

Following last year's commemoration of those who gave their lives in war, through a Poppy illumination at Conisbrough Castle, the same team will this year be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War by installing a lasting memorial to Victoria Cross winner and Conisbrough resident, Sgt. Laurence Calvert.  The organisers plan to place a memorial stone within Conisbrough Coronation Park with suitable wording in honour of Sgt Laurence Calvert VC, and to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War. I am one of the organising team. We feel that honouring Sgt. Calvert would be a fantastic and timely recognition of a very brave member of our community and be a fitting tribute to the centenary of the end of the Great War generally.  Honouring Sgt Calvert is way over due, in the place of his birth Hunslet, he has a school named after him, in Conisbrough the place where he lived at the time of the Great War, there's nothing, not even a side street on a new build estate.  Full details about Laurence Calvert can be found on the Conisbrough & Denaby History website.  Briefly, he was born in Hunslet, Leeds and moved to Conisbrough in 1910 where he worked as a miner at Cadeby Colliery. He moved to Maltby Colliery for a short spell and when the great disaster happened at Cadeby in 1912 he presented himself at the colliery gate to enlist as a rescue worker. He moved back to Cadeby Colliery soon after and continued to live in Conisbrough till he enlisted in the Army and was shipped to France in 1915. He won the VC at Havrincourt on the 12th September 1918. The organisers have been in contact with Sgt. Calvert's family to seek their approval, his grandson Laurie Calvert III who now lives in Hornchurch in Essex is planning to visit Conisbrough with other descendents to see the unveiling of the new memorial which is planned for Sunday 9th September. A grant has been obtained from the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership to carry out the installation of the memorial, but the organisers are still seeking donations to help pay for ongoing insurance costs and maintenance. If you'd like to contribute please go to the 'Light up the Castle' Facebook page and follow the link to the crowdfunder page. Local businesses have already rallied to the cause with Craig Wordsworth from Construction & Plant Assessments Ltd installing the footings in readiness for the plinth. The memorial itself will be manufactured by local resident Steve Arrowsuch through his company Historic Building Restoration Ltd. The project also has the backing of the Conisbrough & Denaby Councillors and local branch of the Royal British Legion.

The memorial was unveiled as planned yesterday.

Sgt Laurence Calvert painting

Two of Sgt. Calvert's Grand children did the unveiling, Laurence Calvert III and his sister Pam Davis, other family members were also present from West Yorkshire and Essex. Also attending were Caroling Flint MP, Ian Pearson, Lani Ball and Nigel Ball Conisbrough & Denaby Councillors, Conisbrough & District Scouts & Cubs, Conisbrough and Denaby Royal British Legion, as well as around 100 members of the local community. A  representative from the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry laid a wreath in honour of Sgt Calvert and 36 white roses were laid by individuals.

Speeches were given by Sally Gawthorpe of Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership, who part funded the memorial stone, Ian Pearson, and Laurence Calvert. The ceremony was officiated by Andrew Kelly of the local branch RBL.

Stephen Pugh, of Conisbrough Community Events, said: 'Conisbrough Community Events are very pleased that we were able to honour Sgt Calvert and the end of the Great War for others. It's been a pleasure bringing this brave man to the attention of the wider community. Hopefully, the memorial stone will mean he's now given the recognition he deserves.'

Family member from Essex, Laurence Calvert, said: 'I'm  truly amazed at all of the sheer effort that so many have put into remembering my grandfather. It is truly touching. To see every little detail attended to, even the Doncaster Council Grounds men in the morning preparing the area. This has honoured him so very well, that I am quite envious our own local areas do not put so much effort in generally, as Conisbrough do to remembering their heroes.'

Conisbrough and Denaby councillors Lani Bell and Ian Pearson
25th Doncaster Scout Group at Sgt Laurence Calvert war memorial unveiling