Posted 25 November 2005 - 01:56 PM
Essex Chronicle Friday 22 July 1921
Unveiled by Bishop of
Chelmsford and Lord Byng
On Sunday the two war memorials to the 84 Dunmow men who fell in the Great War were publicly unveiled in the presence of large gatherings. In the morning the marble tablet in church was unveiled and dedicated by the Bishop of Chelmsford and in the afternoon the public memorial, a stone column erected in High Street, upon the open space at the bottom of New Street was unveiled by General Lord Byng of Vimy who resided for some years at Newton Hall, Dunmow, before removing to Thorpe Hall, Thorpe-le-Soken. The tablet in church, which is of beautiful design, was provided by the relatives of the fallen soldiers, and the public memorial in High Street was provided at a cost of £760 by subscription in the parish. The subscription totalled £1,073 and it was arranged that the balance should go to the Dunmow Social Club which was founded as a war memorial to be of use to the young men of the parish. Col Tom Gibbons D.S.O was chairman of the Dunmow committee with Mr C.S. Suthery (of Barclays Bank) hon tres., and Mr L C Mackenzie hon sec. The public memorial is a handsome triangular Portland stone column upon a circular granite base and upon each side there is carved in relief a cross. Upon the front panel of the monument is inscribed: “Remember the men of this place who died for freedom and honour A.D. 1914-1918”. The names occupy the sides of the column. Mr. Basil Oliver was architect for the memorial. Union Jacks were flying a half-mast over Dunmow, and half muffled peals were rung upon the church bells.
The Church Memorial
The tablet in church which is placed in the south wall near the font is by Mr K Smith of Dunmow Monumental Works. There was a full congregation for the morning service, which was conducted by the Rev. W J House, vicar of Dunmow. The Rev John Evans, vicar of St Mary’s Colchester and formerly vicar of Dunmow, read the opening sentences of the burial service. The Rev B E F Mitchell M.C. curate of Dunmow served as Bishop’s chaplain. The first lesson from Wisdom 3 1-16 was read by Col Tom Gibbons D.S.O who commanded the 5th Essex in Egypt and the second lesson, St John 14 1-16 was read by the Rev R E F Mitchell. Psalms 15 and 121 were chantged. During the singing of the hymn “O valiant hearts” the Bishop and clergy proceeded to the south aisle where the Bishop released the Union Jack covering the tablet, and dedicated the tablet. The hymn “Soldiers who are Christ’s below” was sung during the return to the chancel and the Bishop ascended the pulpit.
The Bishop of Chelmsford said that service would live in their memories when other services were forgotten, because it touched their hearts and souls. The restless world needed re-assuring to-day that Christ was alive. No one who believed in God could be a pessimist, he must be an optimist. Men needed the proper perspective. He had been asked “What have we got out of the war?” and “Was it worth while?” From the point of view of pounds, shillings and pence it was all loss but no nation surely would plunge the world into a gigantic struggle for the sake of getting richer by commerce? All the trade of the world was not worth Dunmow men who had fallen, and there were millions fallen all over the world. We want to war for something higher then financial prosperity – for freedom, liberty, righteousness, justice – the things that counted. And now we had the victory the privilege purchased at so great a loss had to be properly used. Materialism was looming too large in the world. Had it been so in 1914 we should have lost the war. When in 1914 the Kitchener posters announced “Your King and country need you,” the men of Dunmow did not stop to ask if it would pay. The pay was only 1s a day, but the men left their homes without any thought of being paid. The same call was needed in peace as in war. Christ spoke today and said “I am alive; you cannot leave Me out without detriment to the world and yourselves”. The time was coming when Christian men and women would have to confess Him openly. For two thousand years men had been saying “Thy Kingdom come” but they never thought of communication between that prayer and public policy. The Christian would only have one kind of politics – that which would bring in the will of God. They should regard the ballot box with that idea alone. There was much talk in the world about death, but Christ had abolished death, the grave was a corridor into life. If we looked at death from the right point of view we could never be sorry for anyone who had passed beyond the grave. Of course, it was human nature to sorrow, but people should rejoice that their dear ones had gone to the region of growth and development. He believed in the communion of saints, and every Sunday morning when he went out on his work he could not help thinking that his late father was praying. “God bless John” as he did when he was a boy at home. When people got up beyond, they would almost laugh at how much they were worried about small things on earth.
Kipling’s Recessional was sung, and the service concluded with the National Anthem.
The tablet in church bears the following inscription, surrounded by a green laurel wreath, from which hangs a gilded Crusader’s sword, dividing the two columns of names of the fallen. “They whom this tablet commemorates, at the call of King and country left all that was dear to them to endure hardships and face dangers. And then passed out of the sight of men by the path of duty and self-sacrifice giving up their lives that others might life in freedom. Let those who come after see to it that their names be not forgotten.”
The public memorial
Lord and Lady Byng were the guests of Col and Mrs Tom Gibbons at Dunmow, and on walking up to the memorial the General was received by a guard of honour composed of local ex-Service men under Lieut A C Knight, Essex Regt. The 5th Essex Territorials under Lieut Hinton (Braintree) held a hollow square facing the monument and saluted General Bung who inspected both the ex-Service men and the Territorials. The General chatted with all the ex-soldiers, including one who had lost a leg. The children of the Sunday Schools were on the side opposite to the troops and the crowd gathered around. The Dunmow Town Band in Mr Floyd’s garden near the monument accompanied the singing of hymns. Among those present besides Gen and Lady Byng were the Countess of Warwick and the hon Mrs Maynard Greville, the Bishop of Chelmsford, the clergy and ministers, the committee and the Dunmow Parish Council. The service opened with the hymn “For all the Saints”. The Rev W J House, vicar, offered prayer, and the Rev W H Pace B.D (Chelmsford formerly Congregational pastor at Dunmow) read the Scriptures.
The Dunmow Record
Col J M Welch, T.D., D.L. on behalf of the people of Dunmow offered Gen. Lord Byng a hearty welcome to Dunmow and thanked him for his kindness in attending to unveil the memorial. Dumow people knew Lord Byng not only as a great soldier, but also as a former resident and they remembered him as a kind neighbour, for whom they had the greatest respect. (Hear, hear). Out of a population of 2,800 Dunmow contributed 600 men to the fighting forces of the country during the war, and of that number he was glad to say that 418 offered themselves during the early stages of the war, when men were most urgently need, and before any form of compulsory service was introduced. There were 84 Dunmow men who fell in the war. Their names on that monument would serve to remind future generations of the duty nobly done and the sacrifice made, that our people might live in peace and freedom. They would further remind people that they had a duty to perform by their lives and conduct to be worthy of the great sacrifice made. (Hear, hear).
General Lord Byng then released the Union Jack by which the monument was enshrouded. He said they had met to pay a last tribute to the 84 Dunmow men who gave their lives in the great war, and to ensure that those names should be handed down to future generations. He asked the people to remember what the tribute to the fallen should be. They paid lip service by prayers and hymns, but was there not something more to be done in the way of tribute to the men who gave their everything for the nation? Would not the men who had fallen expect that in the future those who remained should try to fulfil what the fallen in the past did so nobly? It was the greatest thing a moral man could do to give his life for his country, yet it was a simple thing to do for it was simply in answering the call of duty that the men lost their lives.
Great and simple
These 84 Dunmow boys did a very grand and a very simple thing, ought not those who had got through the 4½ years of war with their lives to try to carry through what those boys made the sacrifice for – to preserve and continue their country as a prosperous whole? They must not only pay respect to the dead. They must also fulfil the object to attain that for which the boys who had fallen gave up all the blessings of this life. The time was now to consider if the ambition of the boys who gave all to make this country happy and better for the war could not be realised. With those words he would leave the people to consider what was in front of each one to do now and in the future.
The hymn “O God, our help in ages past” was sung, and the Bishop of Chelmsford, having dedicated the memorial said there was a right and a wrong way to re-make England after the war. Those who had served in the war knew that England could not be put right with cannon and rifle, and did not want to see the horrors of war in France and Flanders brought home to the women and children of England. A better way was by service and sacrifice. The war was not won by dividing class from class, but by all classes working together. England must be rebuilt sanely and soundly to be made worthy of the comrades who had gone. The Bishops asked the boys as the passed the memorial to doff their caps to their fathers and brothers who had fallen. God had carried us through the war and He could bring us the peace to our native land, so that all the loss and sacrifice endured should not be in vein.
Col Gibbons read the deed conveying the memorial to the Dunmow Parish Council, and the Chairman, Mr J W Beard, accepted the memorial on behalf of the parish and hoped that peace would remain among all nationalities. Buglers sounded the “Last Post”. The Bishop of Chelmsford pronounced the Benediction, buglers sounded “Reveille” and the proceedings closed with the singing of the National Anthem.
Relatives then placed floral tributes on the monument. Lieut Lockwood, 5th Essex, in uniform, placed a laurel wreath tied with the Essex Regiment colours, black, blue and yellow from the 5th Essex Comrades’ Association; Mr W R Siggers placed a wreath from the Dunmow branch N.A.D.S.S and Mr A B Perry placed a floral tribute from the Dunmow Priory Lodge, R.A.O.B.