A public meeting in February 1919 established a consensus to create a monument and a fund for the families of wounded servicemen. The meeting agreed to commission Lutyens to design the monument. His design for a bridge over the River Roch was abandoned after a local dignitary purchased a plot of land adjacent to Rochdale Town Hall and donated it for the site of the memorial. Lutyens revised his design, and Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby, unveiled the memorial on 26 November 1922. It is a Grade I listed structure, having been upgraded in 2015 when Lutyens' war memorials were declared a national collection.
In the aftermath of the First World War and its unprecedented casualties, thousands of war memorials were built across Britain. Almost all towns and cities erected some form of memorial to commemorate their fallen. The mayor of Rochdale called a public meeting on 10 February 1919, three months after the armistice, to discuss proposals for the town's commemorations. Consensus was that the town should have a monument and a fund to provide for wounded servicemen, their families, and the families of the 2,000 war dead from Rochdale. Public subscription raised £29,443 10s, covering the £12,611 cost of the memorial.