The War Memorial Park has a large number of commemorative plaques dedicated to those who lost their lives during the First and Second World Wars.
Memorial trees and plaques are still available to purchase for those who lose their lives during today's conflicts. For more information please contact [email protected].
A visit to the park was the beginning of a research project for Earlsdon man Trevor Harkin. He said: "Having young children I tend to take them to the park on a regular basis to visit the play area or attend one of the events being staged. It was during one of these visits that I noticed the commemorative plaques under the trees, dedicated to those who lost their lives during both World Wars. I'd been researching my own family history at the time on the internet and decided to investigate further. My starting point was the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the Council Parks Department and records from Council archives."
During his research Trevor discovered that there was a temporary cenotaph in Spencer Park from 1919 to 1927, when the current one was created in the War Memorial Park.
Today a plaque and oak tree mark the site of where the original cenotaph stood in Spencer Park, near the entrance at the junction of Spencer Road and Dalton Road. The oak is said to have been grown from an acorn gathered at Verdun, after the battle in 1916.
The War Memorial Park was opened on 9 July 1921, and on 12 October 1923, The Coventry Herald reported that the Council was looking at the "planting of trees by citizens of 'fallen' relatives with a plate (plaque) suitably inscribed", for which the cost would be £1, 5 shillings (£1.25p). In 1948, the cost of a plaque had risen to £2, 5 shillings (£2.25p). Plaques were also placed in other Coventry parks and cemeteries.
Trevor was helped in his research by Mark Percival and Dave Lewis from the Council.
Trevor has also written a book which gives more information on the people honoured by the plaques and if anyone can help with more details or photos, they can contact Trevor by e-mail at [email protected] or call 07762 511234.