THOMAS H Mawson had recognised from the outset that fund-raising and donations would have a major role to play in the creation of his industrial settlements, however, he had been unaware of just how vital they would become.
As the financial support he had assumed would be forthcoming from the Government failed to materialise, so Mawson and his supporters were forced to rely on acts of philanthropy and private commemoration, with large donations for properties ‘in memorium’ for the sons and husbands of wealthy benefactors, or large local organisations, proving key.
This was not a situation out of keeping with Mawson’s own involvement: the reason he had mooted the idea of such settlements in the first place was due to the loss of one of his own sons in the First World War, James Radcliffe Mawson.
James had been fataly wounded in April 1915 near a small village called Pilkem, on the outskirts of the Belgium town of Ypres, while serving with the 5th Battalion of the King’s Own Royal Regiment (a Territorial Army unit made up primarily of Lancaster men and seen by the town as its ‘Pals’ battalion).
His father was determined that his son’s death would not be in vain, and was to take inspiration from a letter he and his wife had received from James before his death; a letter stating how moved he had been by the bravery of the injured men and telling his parents to do all that they could for the wounded. Although the name of Thomas H Mawson’s third son does not appear anywhere within Westfield village, it is his loss that lies at the heart of its creation.