AT the end of the First World War Britain stood at the centre of a world changed forever.

Financially ravaged, socially and politically febrile, life in Britain would never be the same again.

The horrors of the Great War were unlike any experienced by the empire before, claiming the lives of more Britons that any other conflict.

Whole towns, communities and industries were decimated by the violence, and hardly a single family went untouched by the war.

Its aftermath prompted an unprecedented wave of public commemoration built on an established tradition of memorialising the war dead.

Crosses, obelisks and war memorials raised around the country followed the culture of monuments erected to those who fell in the Second Boer War of 1899 to 1902 ­— the first time ordinary soldiers had been systematically commemorated.

Discussions around building a war memorial in Bury began soon after the end of the war, and the town initially planned to establish a children’s wing at the Bury Infirmary, raising £50,000 for this purpose.

A monument was not at first as well supported as the wing, in part due to war memorials appearing elsewhere, such as outside the Lancashire Fusiliers headquarters.

But altruistically, an anonymous donation of £1,000 was made on the condition that the memorial be built in the Market Place.

The memorial was unveiled on November 11, 1924, by Mrs Peachment, a bereaved mother whose 18-year-old son, Rfn. George Peachment, was the youngest recipient of the Victoria Cross in the First World War ­— awarded to him posthumously.

The town’s other war memorial, created in tribute to the Lancashire Fusiliers, predates its Market Place sister by one and half years.

The regiment had suffered heavy losses of 1,800 men during the Gallipoli campaign of 1915 to 16 and was awarded six Victoria Crosses during the initial landings.

After the war an obelisk was designed by Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, whose father and uncle had served in the regiment, and was erected outside Wellington Barracks in Bolton Road on April 25, 1922.

It was later adapted to include the regiment’s casualties from the Second World War and in 2009 it was moved to Gallipoli Gardens, formerly known as Sparrow Park.

Also unveiled in 1922 was Radcliffe’s war memorial in Blackburn Street.

While Prestwich’s memorial was erected at St Mary’s churchyard in 1921; and that of Whitefield at All Saints Church, Stand, is dated to even earlier in c.1920.

In the north of the borough, unusually Ramsbottom was without a war memorial throughout the 1920s, although it is unclear why.

A memorial garden was eventually constructed in 1938.

But it was not until November 12, 1950, that a cross was unveiled to commemorate the casualties of both the First and Second World Wars.

Similarly, Tottington’s war memorial, made of a Portland stone wall design, was not unveiled until 1930.