Just before 11am on the Thursday, 11th November, members of the Barracks Community Association, Pontefract Civic Society and Col. Gerald Delany gathered and remembered at the extended entrance feature to the Barracks housing estate off Wakefield Road, Pontefract.
An additional commemorative bench and more paving were recently added by residents, which was topped off by a heritage information board created by Christine Cartwright from Pontefract Civic Society. Fr Michael Taylor, St Giles Church conducted a short service and he also read a brief history of the building of the fortress Gothic-styled Barracks in 1878, whilst Col. Delany offered personal reminiscences of growing up on the army depot, then joining the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.
Colin Hardwicke, secretary of the Barracks Community Association said, “we were astounded at the generosity of the partners involved who have helped create a beautiful space that will live on, where so many people will be able to sit, reflect and remember lost loved ones, and also converse helping battle social isolation”.
Colin went onto thanks the project partners, LD Environmental Solutions for the groundwork, MKM (Castleford) for paving flags, the National Lottery for their grant for the new bench, and Pontefract Civic Society for the very informative interpretation board.
Paul Cartwright, civic society chair gave a speech from his own experience at the Barracks as an Air Cadet with families living on the estate as it developed, he then described how the research for the board had been brought together. Paul said, “this board had to achieve an awful lot in a small space describing both the ‘place’ and the ‘people’. We needed to tell a story about the scale of the depot, and to offer a glimpse into the history and campaigns of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, and to a lesser extent, the Yorks & Lancaster Regiment”.
Paul went onto thank Christine the research and design, Col. Delany for the regimental history, Wakefield Council for access to their photographic archive, and Precision Engineering for creating the interpretation board structure.