Young buglers sounded the Last Post, and a Sea Cadet guard presented arms as the Bishop of Winchester last night performed the ceremony of dedicating the memorial to the war dead of Pokesdown parish – 24 men, 1 woman.
The memorial, a formal wrought-iron gateway, stands at the entrance to the short drive leading to St. James’ Church. Stone walls curve away on each side of the gates. In each is set a tablet, one bearing the words “Pokesdown War Memorial 1939-45. Praise God and remember with thankfulness those who gave their live in the Second World War, especially those from this parish”. On the other is a roll of honour.
The Bishop conducted a service in the church, then walked in procession with the Mayor of Bournemouth and others between two rows of cadets to the memorial. He watched Alderman Lt. Cdr. J.H. Turner, a parishioner and the patron of the memorial scheme, unveil the tblets. Then the Bishop dedicated the memorial.
Evening sunshine flowed through the windows of the church as the Bishop told the congregation – which included about 60 relatives of the parish’s fallen – “Your memorial combines pure offering to the memory of those you have lost with something that is both inspiring and useful.
Some memorials are so rarely useful that one wonders whether the people are thinking of the dead or themselves. Some are useless, far from beautiful and quite insignificant and one wonders whether they were worth making at all. Your memorial is not hidden away in the church, but is in association with it.”
The Bishop said that “since the war, no one quite expected so hard a fight after the war to make ends meet for the nation or anticipated re-armament and all the rest.
There was a tendency to be ungrateful, ungracious and complaining. It was part of the function of the Festival of Britain to bring back a sense of glory in what British people shared, and the blessing of God in families and homes. Let us be more grateful for what we have, and therefore more ready to give in return” pleaded the Bishop.
He said the memorial had not been provided by gifts of money alone, but also by voluntary labour. It was a memorial in which Christians from all communities took part.
“There are some things in which, unfortunately, we are not one. But there are many things in which we are all one. And one such thing is patriotism.”
Ald. Turner, before unveiling the tablets, said: “I congratulate the Vicar, the Parochial Council and all who made this memorial possible. All will agree the memorial is a worthy one. Have we who remain been true? Will those who are gone be satisfied with what they see in the world today? Have they really thrown their lives away? We must attempt new heights, bring their dreams to life, and build a better world.”
As buses and other traffic passed along the main road, and crowds watched from the opposite pavement, the Alderman pulled away the flags which had been draped over the tablets. Mr. F.C. Taylor, vice chairman of the Parochial Church Council, called upon the Bishop to perform the dedication ceremony.
The Vicar of St. James’ (the Rev. W.H. Fox-Robinson) led the prayers during the service and the lay preacher (Mr. R.W. Nesbitt) read the lesson. Besides the Mayor of Bournemouth (Cllr. F.J. McInnes) there were in the congregation the Deputy Mayor (Cllr. S.A. Thomson) the Town Clerk (Mr. A Lindsay Clegg) 5 aldermen and 14 councillors.
Buglers from the 6th Bn. (R.E.) Army Cadet Force, and the Sea Cadet Corps sounded the Last Post, conducted by Drum-Major R. Joy. Sea Cadets of the Bournemouth and Christchurch unit on parade were under Lt. Cdr. S.A. Holliday, and Air Training Corps Cadets of 171 Squadron were commanded by Pilot Officer W.R. Dalton. There were also representatives of the local Territorials headed by Major West, of 115 Construction Regiment R.E. (T.A.).
Some £30 has still to be raised towards meeting the cost of the memorial – about £300. For the dedication, the memorial had been beautifully decorated with flowers.