Unique First World War memorial on display at York Minster

21st May 2014

A unique memorial to citizens of York killed in the First World War is now on display in York Minster’s Treasury.
The Kings Book of York Heroes will form the centrepiece to ‘They died that we might live’, a new display featuring personal items, photographs and letters from the cathedral’s historic collections and archives which tell the stories of those involved in the conflict.
The 9st 4lb book is believed to be a unique memorial to those killed in service during the conflict, as it includes not just names and biographies but also individual photographs.
Among the 1,447 people who are commemorated in the book is George Edwin Ellison, the last reported British soldier to die in action during the First World War. George is reported to have been killed just before the 11am ceasefire on 11 November 1918, having enlisted at the start of the war in August 1914.
“The new display is part of a four year programme of remembrance at York Minster to mark the centenary of the First World War,” explains York Minster’s Collections Manager Vicky Harrison.
“York Minster has a number of important monuments to people who died during the conflict but the Kings Book of York Heroes is believed to be unique, not only in the region but nationally because of the fact it includes individual photographs of the fallen.
“We hope the display will encourage visitors to learn about the story of York Minster and the First World War, which is one of courage, sacrifice and remembrance.”
Other items on display include the communion set used by Dean Eric Milner-White when he served on the Western Front. Milner-White went on to become one of the most influential Deans of York of the 20th century.
There is a four year programme of remembrance at the cathedral which includes talks, memorial trails, services and educational sessions for young people.