WWI Memorial History

An announcement to the Parish concerning the intention to erect a War Memorial at St. James’ was made in the Parish Magazine by the Priest-in-Charge, Rev’d. E.B. Lock, published in September 1919.

“It is now time seriously to think what form the Memorial in St. James’ Church shall take. Whilst it cannot be elaborate or costly it ought certainly to be ‘worthy’ of those in whose memory it will be erected. We would appeal to all our friends to be definitely setting aside such amounts as they desire and feel they can give, and a meeting of the congregation will be called soon after the Vicar’s return, to receive and discuss suggestions.”

That meeting was held at the St. James’ Institute on Thursday September 18th, 1919, and it was decided that a memorial tablet, of brass or bronze, with a suitable inscription and a list of the names should be erected in the Church, and that the figure of the ‘The Good Shepherd’ carved in stone should be placed in the niche at the east end of the Sanctuary, to replace a figure that was accidentally shattered a few years earlier.

Donations, either in single or 3-monthly amounts, were invited from the people and Promise Papers were made available to be completed and left in the Free Will Offering Box. It was understood clearly that no-one would be solicited personally for an offering, but it was hoped that all would make a donation of their free will.

The list would be closed at the end of 1919 and the amount promised would determine whether the tablet would be constructed of brass or bronze. It was also decided, that if a substantial amount had been promised, then a second meeting would be called to discuss the possibility of erecting a ‘Churchyard Cross’.

The Vicar led the way with a substantial donation, and it was hoped that all would follow his lead to the limit of their power.

By December 1919, a total of £57 4s 6d had been paid and promised by members of the congregation, although some difficulty was being experienced in collecting names to be inscribed upon the tablet, although there were several appeals to try and ensure a complete, and accurate, memorial. At the time, there were two criteria for a name to have been inscribed:

  1. The deceased must have died on active service, either from wounds or disease.
  2. Must have lived in St. James’ district before joining His Majesty’s Forces.

Contributions were still being received in January 1920, when the total stood at £70, including one of 15/- from the St. James’ Sunday School children. A preliminary list of 49 names to be commemorated was published, and it was noted that the size of the tablet and cost of materials would not permit any additional information other than names and initials, and a general inscription above. It had been decided that no distinction would be made between officers, or whether the men served in the Army or Navy, as all had made the same supreme sacrifice for their country, and therefore deserved the same honour.

In July 1920, however, there was substantial disquiet due to the length of time being taken for the War Memorial to appear, particularly when other churches had erected and unveiled their memorials. The design was awaiting approval from the Bishop’s committee. However, it is not yet clear whether the design to be approved was that for the original memorial tablet, or the memorial cross.

Eventually, the date for the unveiling of the War Memorial Cross was determined and it would be Sunday 9th January, at 3pm. Lieut. Colonel H. Page-Croft, C.M.G., M.P. had promised to unveil the cross.

A description of the Unveiling and Dedication Ceremony, transcribed from the original article published in the Bournemouth Echo,

10th January 1921.

ST. JAMES’ WAR MEMORIAL

______________________

Unveiling and Dedication

Ceremony.

______________________

Borough Member’s Address

______________________

Yesterday saw the consummation of another local war memorial scheme, the cross of Whitbed-Portland stone, which has been erected in the south-east corner of the churchyard to the memory of the men of St. James’ parish, Pokesdown, who fell in the great conflict, being unveiled and dedicated.

Ten feet nine inches in height, the monument is of elegant design and of nice proportions. The cross, which has Fleur de Lys arms, is mounted on an octagon base, on the front side of which is the following simple inscription : “To the honoured memory of the men who gave their lives in the great war 1914-19. Their name liveth for evermore.” On the three other sides of the base have been carved the names of the 52 men who fell:

W. G. W. Bailey, A. Barnes, C. Bevan, A. Brewer, C. Brown, F. C. Brown, D. Cameron, C. Carter, H. J. Carter, A. W. Cosser, A. Croutcher, R. Daniels, C. Davey, R. Dick, R. G. Dominy, W. F. B. Elcock, E. French, H. B. Haine, F. W. Harding, G. Hatten, F. G. Hine, I. C. Hine, H. Hookey, F. Laws, R. S. Lockyer, G. Marshall, W. J. Marshall, W. H. Mayersbeth, W. Mayne, C. H Newman, J. Parsons, A. G. Potts, R. Read, W. J. Read, R. H. Reynolds, A. Rowley, W. E Saunders, F. W. Shepherd, W. Short, H. C. Spicer, W. O. Spicer, H. Sque, R. Starks, H. Targett, F. Vivian, L. C. Warwick, W. W. Whale, H. N. White, A. Wooliscroft, R. G. Wrenn, A. Young, P. C. Young.

The memorial is the work of Mr. W. A. Hoare, Boscombe, and it was erected at a cost of £80.

A SIMPLE CEREMONY.

Lasting only 35 minutes in all, the unveiling and dedication ceremony was both simple and appropriately dignified, and a large number of people reverently took part in the impressive proceedings.

The Vicar (the Rev. A. P. Annand, R. D.) and the Rev. E. W. G. Ferris officiated, the former performing the actual dedication, which immediately followed the unveiling of the memorial by Lieut.-Colonel H. Page Croft, C.M.G., M.P.

After the dedication, the Borough Member said he had been asked to say a few words as a soldier to the relations and friends of the men whom they were there to honour. He expressed the sincere hope that the uppermost feeling in their minds was of gratitude and thanksgiving. He believed that was the spirit in which they had joined together in order that all those who passed by in the days to come might know how much they honoured those to whom the memorial had been erected. He wished to say how absolutely convinced they were when they laid their brothers in their last resting place that their sacrifice would receive a great reward. In the midst of intense fighting it was felt by those who participated in it, more than perhaps by those at home, that those men who died for their country had gone through a purging time and that in giving their lives they were taken to a far happier life than they ever knew on earth.

AN EXAMPLE

Colonel Page Croft urged that in these difficult times everyone who called himself a Christian should try and emulate the example of their fallen comrades. They were living in difficult times, and difficult times were still to come, but whenever they found that things were hard, whenever they felt angry, and whenever economic circumstances were making their path thorny they should remember that their troubles were nothing compared with the men who gave up everything for their country, and, by truly loving their fellows as they (the fallen) did, show themselves worthy of their example, which he prayed, would never be forgotten.

The short service commenced in the church, which was crowded, with the hymn, “O God, our help in ages past”, and special prayers preceded the lesson (I Thessalonians iv, 9-18). The hymn, “For all the saints who from their labours rest”, was sung as a processional from the church to the cross, and the hymn, “When I survey the wondrous cross”, was followed by further prayers read by the vicar.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the “Last Post” was sounded by a Sea Scout, and the first verse of the National Anthem was sung.

Members of the Pokesdown branch of the N. A. D. S. and S. and the St. James’ Sea Scouts formed guards of honour in the churchyard.

Images showing the original location of the St. James’ War Memorial Cross.

WWI Memorial_Original Location

WWI Memorial_Original Location2

Statement of War Memorial Cross account, January 1921:-

RECEIPTS £ s d
Total of contributions received 93 3 0
Sale of 3 Oak Frames 4 6
Interest received from Bank 1 16 2
TOTAL 95 3 8
EXPENDITURE
Sculpted figure of The Good Shepherd 10 0 0
Sculptured War Memorial Cross 80 0 0
Printing Forms of Service and Notice Bills 4 6 0
Balance to Church Account 17 8
TOTAL 95 3 8

At a later date, a further 14 names were inscribed on the Memorial Cross, on a fourth side.

The grounds of St. James’ Church were re-landscaped in 2003, and involved the movement of the War Memorial Cross to its current position, with a budget of £12,000. The Cross was re-dedicated to the St. James’ fallen by the Archdeacon of Bournemouth, Rev’d. Adrian Harbidge, on 5th October 2003.

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