Do you hold the key to Rugby’s war memorial gates?

The opening of Rugby;s memorial gates in 1922.
The opening of Rugby;s memorial gates in 1922.
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THE original key to Rugby’s handsome memorial gates could still be in the borough - and the granddaughter of the very first man to use them is hoping to find it.

In 1922 the memorial gates, which now take pride of place by Whitehall Rec, were opened by well-known Rugby builder Tom Reynolds, whose three sons were killed during the First World War. Today his granddaughter, Sarah Barker, is hoping someone in Rugby knows what happened to the original key used by her grandfather Tom. He formally opened the gates with a large key presented by Foster and Dicksee, a local firm of building contractors. He was allowed to keep it as a souvenir.

The Advertiser, dated March 17 1922, reported: “The handsome wrought iron gates which have been erected in memory of the 404 Rugby men who fell in the Great War were unveiled by Field Marshall Earl French of Ypres in the presence of the largest gathering of people ever assembled in Rugby.

“The crowd must have numbered about 1,500 people, and stretched for several hundred yards along Hillmorton Road and down Whitehall Road.”

Mrs Barker, who is the daughter of his youngest daughter Joan Reynolds, who died in 1996, said she is hoping to meet up with a relative of Tom Reynolds this weekend who may be able to help.

She said: “I would like to locate the key to the gates which may now be with relatives of another son, Ernest Reynolds, born in 1889 and brother to the three sons who died in the Great War. I will also be attending the remembrance service at the memorial gates and laying a wreath in memory of my three cousins who were killed.”

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of the key should contact Pete Horton on (01788) 539968.