The re-dedication service for the recently renovated Chandler’s Ford War Memorial took place this afternoon (Sunday 19th October at 3pm) outside St. Boniface Church at the War Memorial.
It was a moving service. Every name of the fallen who were commemorated on the Chandler’s Ford War Memorial was read out.
About 50 people attended the service outside the church on Hursley Road.
Mrs Margaret Atkinson, Chairman of Parish Council of Chandler’s Ford, and the Deputy Mayor of Eastleigh, Councillor Jane Welsh, laid a wreath of lilies at the foot of the memorial.
The service was organised by Chandler’s Ford Churches Together and was held by the Reverend Ian Bird of the parish church of Chandler’s Ford.
Eastleigh Borough Council is responsible for the maintenance of the war memorial standing on the church land, and has delegated this responsibility to the Parish Council of Chandler’s Ford.
Here are the service sheets for today’s Re-dedication of Chandler’s Ford War Memorial service (Click images to enlarge):
Renovation of Chandler’s Ford War Memorial
In Renovating Chandler’s Ford War Memorial, I showed you the work by Jon Tann, who renovated the war memorial in July.
Margaret Doores: Chandler’s Ford War Memorial Research
Local historian Margaret Doores is now undertaking a project to research the lives of those whose names appear on the Chandler’s Ford War Memorial. You can read about her research in this series.
If you have any photos or information relating to Chandler’s Ford during and after WW1, Margaret would like to hear from you.
Margaret Doores wrote:
“In Chandler’s Ford, at the outbreak of WW1 in August 1914, the population was probably a little over 1,000. By the end of the war some 51 men and 1 woman, whose names appear either on the war memorial, or on the memorial plaque inside the church, had made the ultimate sacrifice.”
By Margaret Doores, from her post: Chandler’s Ford War Memorial. Can You Help?
The Reverend Tim Searle, Minister of the United Reformed Church, did a beautiful sermon. At my request, he kindly shares his words with us in this post:
War Memorial Re-dedication Address
In a few weeks’ time, the people of this nation, as we are today, will gather around memorials of stone, not unlike this one to remember the fallen of wars both past and present, and in particular for those lost in the two World Wars which have taken place. As is the case every year, it will be a time of solemn reflection on humanity’s fragile past in the hope that we can somehow learn from it, never to repeat the same mistakes, or the terrible price that had to be paid for them. Tributes will be laid, silences observed and words offered.
Yet the memorials we have across the land do more than just invite us to pause and keep silence, they challenge us to retell the stories of those who made such great sacrifices for our sakes. Memorials can become lifeless objects when we forget the stories of those who inspired them. If we allow their memory to fade over the passage of years like names in stonework often do, then we not only do a great injustice to them, but to the story this memorial has to tell, and therefore the legacy entrusted to our safe keeping.
Today, we thank God for all those involved in the rejuvenation of our memorial, those who have had the foresight despite the many other pressures on our lives to remind us that: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. For at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.
Our memorial has a story of its own. A story about where it was originally placed, how it was moved some years later, and now how it has been restored to its former state. Even we, gathered here today have now become part of that story, part of its history, and as a result part of its and our legacies to pass on to future generations. As well as the memorial, each of the names written on it has a story to tell. To us, they are not faceless names carved in stone, they are real people who lived in this area, had families, had jobs and lives before the war.
When we stand in remembrance of them, we don’t just stand to commemorate their deaths and the wars that caused them, we stand to commemorate their lives, and as part of that we must continue to tell their stories.
As we heard in our bible reading, when Joshua led the Israelites across the river Jordan, God challenged them to take twelve stones, one for each of the tribes, and to lay them at their camp that night. Joshua said to them: “When your children ask in time to come, “What do these stones mean to you?” then you shall tell them…” The tradition of remembered stories and the memorials that prompt them is of course a timeless principle. Yet just as in Joshua’s time, these stories can only be remembered if we keep telling them, particular to our children.
The Kohima Epitaph from the Second World War offers the same lesson: “When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today.” What we do here is more than an opportunity to keep silence. It is an opportunity to tell the stories behind the names, so that what they gave up then may live on in us today.
There’s one other story that our memorial helps us to remember. Have you noticed that the memorial is in the shape of a cross? You may think, well of course we know that, but I think it is a feature that we are so used to seeing that we often forget its meaning when looking at our memorials.
For Christians, though the cross tells a story of torture, it also, through the generosity of a loving God, and the sacrifice of his son Jesus, tells a story of hope. It is a reminder that the sacrificial love of Jesus has the power to turn a symbol of torture into a symbol of hope and new life. Our memorial tells a story of lives lived, and lives sacrificed because they believed in hope and new life for all. By their sacrifices death and suffering were transformed into a new hope and a new chance for humanity to change its warring ways.
An end to all wars
We pray that one day this story will bear its rightful fruit: an end to all wars and strife that embattle our precious and fragile world. Until then, we will carry on telling the stories, and preserving the memories. Let us give up what we can of our today, so that one day there might be a brighter tomorrow for all. Amen.
I saw quite a few people today, including historian Barbara J. Hillier, who is famous for her research and books on the history of Chandler’s Ford.
Former Mayor of Eastleigh John Caldwell was also there. I met Leslie Coney for the first time. Leslie used to be a major in the army. He is also a keen historian, and he told me his father also fought in the first war.
The Reverend Christine Whitehead, associate curate of the parish church of Chandler’s Ford, and the Reverend Peter Hutchinson, vicar of St.Francis church in Valley Park, both read out the names of the fallen who were commemorated on the war memorial.
Who is Who in the photo:
From the left:
- The Reverend Peter Hutchinson, Vicar of St. Francis Church;
- Deacon Paul Owen of the Catholic Parish of St. Swithun Wells;
- Fr. David O’Sullivan, Parish Priest of the Catholic Parish of St. Swithun Wells;
- Reverend John Archer from the Methodist Church;
- Reverend Bob Dibb from Velmore Church;
- Len Welsh;
- Deputy Mayor of Eastleigh, Councillor Jane Welsh.
From the right:
- Peggy Marten;
- Reverend Christine Whitehead, associate curate from the parish church;
- Reverend Dr. Ian Bird from the parish church;
- Margaret Atkinson, Chairman of Parish Council of Chandler’s Ford.
Here is a series of posts about Chandler’s Ford War Memorial published on Chandler’s Ford Today:
Post Series: Chandler’s Ford War Memorial Research, by Margaret Doores:
- Chandler’s Ford War Memorial. Can You Help?
- Chandler’s Ford War Memorial Research: Part 2
- Chandler’s Ford War Memorial Research: Part 3
- Chandler’s Ford War Memorial Research: Part 4
- Chandler’s Ford War Memorial Research: Part 5
Chandler’s Ford War Memorial by Janet:
- Remembrance Sunday In Chandler’s Ford 9 November 2014
- Chandler’s Ford War Memorial Rededication
- Story Of Chandler’s Ford War Memorial
- Renovating Chandler’s Ford War Memorial