View from Yate Heritage Centre

March 01 2015

Manager David Hardill reflects on a year of anniversaries

War memorial

Manager David Hardill reflects on a year of anniversaries

2015 truly is a year of anniversaries; Magna Carta (June), Agincourt (October), several Great War battles and can Yate Shopping Centre really be 50 in September?
Yate Heritage Centre will aim to reflect at least some of these anniversaries. A glaring omission from the above list however, is the 70th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Normally at the forefront of historic consciousness, the 70th anniversary does appear to have been largely overlooked. Nevertheless, it remains a golden opportunity to undertake fresh research as well as interview the last generation of people who were adults during the conflict.

Yate & Sodbury in WWII
To mark the occasion, Yate Heritage Centre is planning an exhibition (May-July 2015) showing the effects of war in the Yate and Sodbury area. Only 20 years earlier, the local area had changed immensely as a result of World War I and this second war brought similar and new changes to the town. As with the First World War, Yate became home to a prisoner of war camp, American soldiers set up camp nearby and industry adapted to serve the needs of the conflict. A new war brought with it new threats, and enemy bombers were frequently seen in the skies. Even Yate did not escape the Luftwaffe’s bombing raids. During two raids in February and March 1941, Parnalls factory on Station Road was bombed resulting in the deaths of 53 people.
Much of my early research for this upcoming exhibition has focused on Yate’s war memorial, to be found on the Lych Gate at St Mary’s Church. The memorial contains the names of 11 Yate residents who died as a result of the war. Amongst the names are seven men who died in action, including George Tattersall who fought and returned from WWI, only for the ship he was travelling on to be sunk by German U-Boot U-96 in the North Atlantic. The memorial also lists the names of four civilians killed by war operations, three of whom died during the Luftwaffe bombing raids on Parnalls in 1941. However, one name on the memorial, that of William White, who died in the 7th March raid has so far failed to bring up any results. If anyone does know anything about a William White who died in the Parnalls bombings, or indeed, any stories about the other names on the war memorial, the Heritage Centre would be pleased to hear from them.
Lorna Brooks, volunteer at Yate & District Heritage Centre

2015 major events for your diary.
All events are 10.30am-4.30pm

Saturday April 25th - St George Celebrations at Yate Heritage Centre 10.30-4.30pm
Saturday June 6th - Second World War 70th Anniversary Day 10.30-4.30. Part of a weekend of wartime history activities including the Big Lunch on Chipping Sodbury High Street.
Saturday 4th July - Medieval Archaeology and History Day to mark Magna Carta and Agincourt
Saturday, 19th September – Yate International Festival.
Yate Town Council, South Glos Council, Dodington Council and Hanson in the Community have funded events