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War Memorial

Martley’s Past

It seems relevant, in this season of Remembrance, to record almost all the Berrows Journal report on the “Dedication of a Cross” in Martley.

“Part of Martley’s war memorial was dedicated on Saturday (5 June 1920. ALB) afternoon. It consists of a cross erected in the churchyard, in the north-east corner, whence one can obtain a fine prospect of the country with Ankerdine Hills in the distant background. The cross has been erected at a cost of £100. (Actually £113. ALB) It is proposed to erect, also, a parish hall. Towards this nearly £340 has been raised. The two things will mark, in a very impressive way, Martley’s sense of its indeptedness to, and pride in, the gallant fellows who fell in the war.

The service was very much like those in dedication of other parish memorials of the kind. There have been many, but each one strikes afresh a vibrant chord of sympathy in the observer whether he be of the parish or not. These sad ceremonies furnish so many pathetic incidents; some of them are common to all these kinds of services; some are quite distinctive. There was one of the latter on Saturday. There was present one blinded soldier – a spectacle that would move the heart of a cynic. A comrade beside him carried a wreath. Another comrade described it to the sightless one. “There’s maiden hair fern and stocks, and – “, the recital went on. This, on a lovely June afternoon, with the air laden with all kinds of sweet scents from flowers and bush! What a vision, one thought, these words and the environment must conjure in the mind of this soldier. The very glory of the season and the day made him a figure pitiable beyond expression. But there were other human and pathetic elements. One was able to perceive, if only in a dim sort of way, what havoc war had wrought in Martley homes. In the assembly were, naturally, many of the bereaved, here a young widow with children, there a stricken father bearing a wreath, and here, again, a weather-beaten country woman whose face lost its stolid look as memories of her loss stirred within her. In front of the memorial, in a semi-circle, were gathered the ex-Service men. Until the service commenced, they seemed embarrassed by the prominence given to them. When it began, they were among the most impressed of the company.

The Rector (the Rev J F Hastings) briefly stated that they had long desired the completion of the memorial to those young lives, who were some of the hundreds and thousands given for us in the Great War. He then asked those who had brought wreaths to lay them at the foot of the cross. Soon the green around the base was covered with beautiful flowers. For some this laying down of a simple tribute was an ordeal they could not pass through without breaking down.

The Rector, who was accompanied by Canon E A Burrows, (actually Burroughs. ALB) of Peterborough, and the Rev T F Monahan (Wichenford) then read the roll of honour – the names of those recorded on the cross. These are: Charles E Wilcox, Arthur J Davis, Henry J Page, Arthur H Wilcox, Philip L Webb, Thomas Willis, E George Woodyatt, Augustus J Anderson, James Hill, James Nash, George Nash, Mark S Cooper, Robert Dowding, William S Grubb, James Hoskins. (The reporter missed William Wilson. ALB) Then the assembly, led by the choir, sang the hymn, ‘Through the night of doubt and sorrow,’ after which two buglers sounded ‘The Last Post’..

Canon Burrows then dedicated the memorial, the buglers sounded ‘The Reveille’, and the congregation then went into church.”

(Note – There is more, including Canon Burrows address, – but no more do you see writing of this standard in Berrows!)


Alan L Boon

Oct. 2008