Soldiers memorial plan for Doncaster town centre park

A planned memorial to a regiment which recruited heavily in Doncaster now looks likely to be built in Elmfield Park.

Monday, 11th September 2017, 10:59 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:48 pm
Howard Potts and artist Steve Winterburn, of Yorkshire Fine Arts, with a model of the planned Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry memorial

The monument, to the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, could now be situated near Elmfield House in the park, close to the existing Doncaster War Memorial at South Parade, after the original plan to put it outside Doncaster Museum hit problems.

The Doncaster Free Press has been campaigning with the KOYLI regimental association to help bring the monument forward in tribute to the thousands of soldiers who served in its ranks during two world wars and other conflicts.

We're campaigning for a memorial to the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

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The regiment was one of the main recruiters of soldiers in Doncaster.

The regimental association had originally hoped to place the monument outside the Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery building on Chequer Road, where the regimental museum is currently housed.

But the museum is to transfer to a planned new building on Waterdale, next to the Civic Building, and including the former girls' high school as part of its design.

Now a planning application has been submitted for the monument to be placed in Elmfield Park. The scheme has support from council officers, but has attracted some objections from members of the public, who claim it will make the rose garden a less tranquil place.

We're campaigning for a memorial to the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

Percy Potts, a member of the KOYLI Memorial Committee, said the original plan for the site on Chequer Road had also hit problems because of nearby tree roots which planners feared it could affect.

He said: "The second choice would have been outside the new museum, but that was rejected because there are already plans for the public area outside it. So we are now looking at a spot in Elmfield Park. The monument is looking at going 30 metres in front of Elmfield House, in a round rose garden.

"The council has said if planning permission is granted, we can put it there."

Officials from the regimental association have already had site meetings at Elmfield Park along with the sculptor who has designed the statue, depicting a soldier from the regiment during the Malayan Emergency in the 1950s.

The committee is hoping to unveil the memorial on August 1, next year, which is a key date for the regiment as it marks the Battle of Minden. The 51st Regiment of Foot, later the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, fought in the Battle of Minden against the French during the Seven Years War (1756-1763), on August 1 1759.

They hope to bring a member of the royal family to Doncaster for its unveiling.

Anyone who wants to contribute to the fundraising for the memorial can contact Mr Potts on 01642 271534.