Historic plaques gifted back to Duke of Bedford

Part of one of the plaques
Part of one of the plaques

Mr Andrew Lowery III, from Alabama, Texas has gifted two historic First World War brass plaques back to His Grace, the 15th Duke of Bedford that he secured from an antiques shop in Paris during the 1990’s. The plaques will feature as the main part of a display at the War Notes from Woburn event on Sunday, November 12, at The Sculpture Gallery, Woburn Gallery.

In 1919 the 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment presented two brass plaques and two field guns to the 11th Duke and Duchess of Bedford in recognition of their contribution to the war effort. The Duke had set up the Bedfordshire Training Depot in order to train local men for war whilst the Duchess had opened the hospital in which she worked throughout the war. The guns were captured by the regiment at The Battle of the Selle, France. This battle was part of the Hundred Days Offensive, the decisive Allied victory that led to the collapse of the Western Front and the German Empire, ending the First World War.

Nicola Allen, archivist for The Bedford Estates, said: “We are delighted that Mr Lowrey III along with his daughter will travel from Texas to attend our Remembrance event. The plaques are an important part of the history of the inhabitants of Woburn and surrounding areas. The guns are said to have stood outside the hospital and we now know that in 1938 one gun was displayed outside Woburn Town Hall. The guns are likely to have been melted down during the Second World War.

“Woburn Abbey would be very interested if there are any family members locally who have stories or information relating to the men listed on the plaques to contact them.”

In the future, the plaques will be displayed at the Woburn Heritage Museum in the centre of the village.

The Sculpture Gallery, part of the Woburn Estate, will be honouring Remembrance Sunday with a traditional two course lunch and a performance of ‘War Notes from Woburn’.

Highlights include soprano Lili la Scala, who will delight guests with a blend of vintage songs from a bygone era, accompanied by pianist Tom Carradine.

Following a service at St Mary’s Church, Woburn, tea and coffee will welcome guests to the Remembrance Sunday event from 11.30am, before being invited to view The Woburn Estate’s First World War private archive collection and for the first time the brass plaques, which will be on display at The Sculpture Gallery.

The cost to attend this event is £26.50 per person (no charge for Second World War veterans).

For further information about the War Notes Remembrance Sunday event and to buy tickets, call the sales team on 01525 292172 or email sales@woburn.co.uk