On Monday 15 November 1918 the Ash War Memorial committee held its first meeting in the Victoria Hall for the purpose of erecting a memorial to those fallen in the war. James McLaren of Firacre was elected chairman, William Wren, the Parish Clerk, became the secretary and Herbert Allen, of the Aldershot Chemists, who lived in Ash Vale, was treasurer.
Three public meetings were held. The first was on 30 December 1918. About 40 people attended and agreed that the memorial would take the form of a monument. Another suggestion was to erect instead a house for a district nurse with the names of those fallen in the war inscribed either on it or nearby, but a second public meeting on 18 June 1919 rejected this idea. This meeting also accepted Mr Isaac Field's offer of the site in the Ash Hill Road. Mr Field's son Ernest was one of those who had died.
The architect selected was Harold Falkner of 24 West Street Farnham, who charged 15 guineas. The memorial was made and erected by Sydney C Mardles' Memorial Works in Fleet. The memorial and lettering came to £317.
In September 1920, with the memorial ready for erection in about 6 weeks, Mr Falkner wrote to the committee asking them to consider a change of site. He felt that "the present site would be a very suitable place for a bowling green for discharged soldiers, or something of that sort ….. but it is not suitable as a site for the memorial itself". He would prefer "a piece of War Office ground overlooking the canal and having a very fine command of the western view". About 60 people attended a public meeting on 13 Oct 1920 in the Victoria Hall to consider Mr Falkner's letter. 6 voted for Mr Hogsflesh's resolution of the south end of allotments; 11 voted for Mr Britten's resolution to apply to the War Office for ground on the east side of the recreation ground; and 28 voted for Mr Lambrick's resolution to accept Mr Field's site.
Most of the money was raised by subscriptions. The committee sent a leaflet appealing for funds and listing subscriptions already promised out to every house in Ash. With the leaflet went a form to fill in the details of their subscription and a small envelope. Donations could be sent with the form to the Hon Treasurer or else put in the envelope ready for collection. A list of official collectors was given, for the "Ash End" and the "Vale End".
There was also a form to send in the details of men who had been killed and men who had attested so that a list could be compiled. The stationery cost £9.6.6d from John Drew (Printers) Ltd of Aldershot. All donations were to be publicly acknowledged in the Aldershot News. Some people had strong feelings about the site, Mr Brinkworth and family, of Brinkworth's Stores on the corner of Shawfield Road, enclosed 5 guineas, and noted "on condition that site at present chosen be finally adopted".
A large number of forms were sent in giving the name rank and number of one of the fallen, their ship or regiment, period of service and awards. Sometimes two members of the family had been killed. Many more forms were sent in recording men who served, including injuries received.
From the forms a list was compiled. A copy survives with the committee's records, annotated with additions and amendments. Around October 1920 a list was published in the Aldershot News which resulted in a number of letters being sent to Mr Wren submitting further names.
Finally all the 112 names were ready, and were sent to Sydney Mardles.
War Memorial Committee documents reproduced courtesy of Surrey History Centre Ref P31/2/5-6