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Cornish & Devon Post 18th February 1922

DELABOLE’S WAR MEMORIAL

Unveiled by Sir George Croydon Marks M.P.

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Speaches by the Member, Mr Wakefield, J.P., C.C., and Rev. A.G. Barker M.C.

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Under a cloudless, sunlit sky, with an atmosphere freshened by a sharp easterly breeze and impregnated with painful recollections of the tragedy of war, Delabole on Saturday afternoon gazed on a memorable scene in it’s history, the unveiling of the village war memorial by Sir George Croydon marks M.P. Thus it saw, too, the culmination of the praiseworthy and persistent efforts of the War Memorial Committee suitably and lastingly to perpetuate the sacrifices of 31 of its sons who laid down their lives during the tragic range of years between 1914 and 1918. The 1911 census disclosed the population of Delabole to be 1,258, of whom 309 were in the forces during the war.

The memorial, a lofty, graceful granite Cornish cross stands almost in the centre of an enclosed plot of land, abutting on the main street and hard by the Liberal Club. It rears up from a substantial concrete bed and consists of two tiers, the cross surmounting the whole. The base, on which are inscribed the names of the fallen and the cross are of what is technically termed a “fine cut” finish. The memorial faces the road and the site is bordered by stone walls, from which the ground slopes gradually to the centre. Immediately inside the walls shrubs have been planted at equal distances. The site is approached by four steps and leading to the cross is a tessellated pathway. The total cost of the scheme is from £240 to £250.

Since the death of Mr R Pearce, Mr M J Wells has acted as chairman of the committee, with the Vicar (Rev H Edwardes) as treasurer and Mr A E Mitchell as secretary.

THE CEREMONY

Just before three p.m. the ex-service men, under the command of Lieut. J Bunt, headed by the Delabole Brass Band (under Mr J Amy) marched to the site and took up their positions, in double file, at the rear of the memorial. The mourners occupied the space on the left and the children of the day school with their teachers were massed on the opposite side, while the space remaining was packed with on-lookers.

The Vicar had charge of the ceremony, and was assisted by the U.M. Minister (the Rev A G Barker, M.C.) The priest-in-charge of St Teath (Rev C D Kingdom, B.A.) was also present, and these were supported by among others, Mr T E Wakefield, J.P. , C.C., and Mr Wells.

The singing was accompanied by the Band and led by a united choir.

The solemn service commenced with the hymn “O God our help in ages past.” Immediately after the last strains of this had faded, the Rev E Edwardes paid a tribute to the war memorial committee. They began, he said, with Mr Robert Pearce as their chairman, and when he was taken from them, Mr Wells took the position and they were grateful to him for the exercise of his business capacity in the furtherance and completion of their scheme. Everything they have done, he said, had been done in the spirit of unity and harmony.

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They had done all they could with the money at their disposal and they had got as a result, if a small memorial, a none the less beautiful one. He enjoined them to take care of it and to see that no damage was done to it. He was pleased to mention, also, that it was free of debt.

The Vicar also paid a tribute to the secretary of the committee (Mr Mitchell) who, he said, had done his level best for the committee, without any remuneration, and not at times, without having to spend money out of his own pocket. They were very grateful to him. (Hear, hear.)

Following the reading of Psalm xxiii by the Vicar, the school children sang unaccompanied the hymn “Our Blest Redeemer.” The Rev Barker having offered prayer.

Delabole War Memorial

SIR GEORGE’S UNVEILING SPEECH

At the invitation of Mr M J Wells, Sir George advanced to the memorial and released the Union Jack covering the cross. Facing the assembly, he said they had gathered there that day, not so much as mourners, as those having gratitude in their hearts and having a belief that it was well for them to show their gratitude, not only to those who were living, but to those who would come after, that they might know that in the day of stress and in the day of trouble, Delabole men were not missing from the crowd of those who rallied to the nation’s call. They wanted if they could, not to look at the memorial as something of intrinsic value, but as something of worth; and they wanted to look upon it as something even more than that: it was something dedicated to the whole world for all time, in the imperishable granite of that county because of the affection they had for the 31 men whose names were there and because of the gratitude that still lived in the minds of those who knew them, for that which they did, for that which they saved, that those remaining might have a better world, despite the trouble that was being experienced by those who remained..

There were those things in every town and in every village that uplifted them, for they could not pass a church, or a chapel without knowing that they were evidences that there was something more than material things in this life, because churches and chapels indicated their belief in the Fatherhood of God.

Not Simply Granite

“This memorial,” Sir George went on, “indicates our belief in the brotherhood of man. The troubles which forced these men to go out to save us were not troubles begun on English soil, but troubles begun in another land where the liberty of the world had been assailed and where the brotherhood of man had been challenged, and where the Fatherhood of God would not be recognised but where might was to be the god. These men gave their lives that we might be saved from the troubles that they had and from the sacrifices that they made. It is my proud privilege, having been associated with this place so long, to look upon these men’s names as those of comrades and as those who have done what I, being old, could not do. We want the young men who are coming after us and those children now growing up to know that this is not simply granite, but it represents 31 human lives gone from Delabole that the world might be better. We want the boys and girls, whenever they pass this memorial to realise that there is a well of love and a well of kindness in the hearts of the people of Delabole today as there was then, that will be drawn upon for others when others need it.2

This memorial indicates that no man can live alone and it proves that there is something more than life connected with us all. There is eternity and we today are standing with feelings sometimes seared with sorrow, yet with gratitude in our hearts that Delabole men gave, that relatives and friends might be richer.” (Hear, hear.)

The Challenge to the World

Today they were passing through a phase of trouble from one end of the land to the other. But what would that trouble have been like had they lost the war? America who was not in the war half of the time that England was, was passing through greater difficulties today. Whereas England had nearly two million unemployed, America had between five and six million. Why was it all? Because the world which was shaken at its very foundation by a challenge had not yet recovered from the great upheaval.

“I want,” Sir George concluded, “if I can to give you the inspiration that this memorial gives me. If you are despondent and if you are inclined to think times are bad, remember that the sacrifices indicated here helped to make times better. In your name and in the name of all here, I have unveiled this memorial that it may stand for ever as a memorial to 31 good men and true who helped in the world’s struggle so that in the days to come if ever there should be a challenge the cry may go up: “Stands Delabole where she stood? And the answer will be ‘She does‘ ” (Hear, hear.)

The hymn “Rock of Ages” was then sung with much feeling, and after the Vicar had pronounced the Benediction, addresses were given by Mr Wakefield and Rev Barker.

MR WAKEFIELD’S SPEECH

Mr Wakefield said that they would remember that when the Israelites crossed Jordan they took from the river bed 12 stones and were told to place them on the other side of the river as a memorial. They were not to forget, nor to let their children forget the deliverance which God had wrought and the spot upon which those 12 rough stones were set was to be for ever for them a sacred spot, sacred not so much because the stones were there, but sacred because of the recollections and the prayers of thanksgiving that that small monument should produce. There were some people today who asked, “Why erect war memorials? Why not forget the war and all those terrible years and all the terrible agony through which we passed?” They could not forget and they never would be able to forget. If they could forget, they would not. The experience of yesterday was always the schoolmaster for today. They must learn day by day and year by years they went on the lessons which their experiences taught them. He believed that it was a holy and a high instinct in the souls of the people of this country which had led them in every village and town to erect a monument to the memories of those who fell in the war, something, indeed, to remind them of those days between 1914 and 1918. He was sure that the folk of Delabole had put there in the centre of their town a graceful monument which they would all see as they went to work day by dayand which their children would see as they went to school, reminding them as he hoped it would, of the courage, the sacrifice and deliverance of the days of the war.
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What the War Revealed

When their children came to ask them as children were said to have done in the days of old, “What mean ye by these stones?” What would they say? They would first of all

say they had erected that cross there to keep fresh in the minds of all, the names of those dear lads who fell in the greatest struggle against oppression and tyranny the world had ever known. The men whose names would be associated with that were martyrs who counted not their lives dear unto them for sacred causes. They would tell them also that that monument was a reminder of the courage, the pluck, the perseverance and the endurance of millions of men in this country who stood in their defence, in the defence of their honour and of their homes. Before 1914 they thought courage a rare virtue and pluck the possession of a few. But they found they were mistaken: they found that these qualities were the possessions of millions of men who went to fight and millions of women who stayed at home to pray. They hoped that monument would remind their children that they must emulate those virtues of courage, of sacrifice, and of pluck, which had saved their country in this century.

Last of all and greatest of all, proceeded Mr Wakefield, let it remind them a cross was there and let it remind them that the Divine Hand saved them, for they could not think of the war today without thinking of the wonder of it all. How was it that they were not all swallowed up? Again and again victory seemed actually in the grasp of their enemies and yet some divided counsel or some mistake at the crucial moment turned the tide of the battle: and God was truly in it. “The wicked may flourish for a moment and spread himself like a green bay tree, but he is soon cut off.” Hatred, calumny, suspicion, and that tremendously cruel selfishness would all run out of hand, no matter who it trampled down on the way, but it would live only for the time while truth and righteousness were eternal. The eternal God was their refuge and underneath were the everlasting arms. (Hear, hear.)

REV BARKER AND THE WORLD’S HOPE

The Rev Barker who next addressed the company, said he endorsed the words of the great American, “War is hell.” They must, he went on, see that the like of it never happened again. There was a happy aspect of the war although it was darkened by sad memories, when they remembered that the League of Nations was a hope launched upon the world, which, although yet in its infancy, would, they believed, go from strength to strength, and that in the end the gospel of peace which our Redeemer proclaimed, would triumph in the world. They might criticise the League and the efforts for peace. True, it was immature, but was not the mighty oak once a puny acorn, and the statesmen of the next generation now just babies in their mothers’ arms?

Whilst, he continued, they realised that they owed a deep debt of gratitude to the 31 whose names were before them, they also owed a debt to the living. They thought of two million of their countrymen who were walking the streets looking for work, many of who had been buoyed up with the hope that there was coming a new England and that times of prosperity were going to dawn. They thought, despite this, that better times were in store for them and that the wave of bad trade was declining. (Hear, hear.) Two buglers from Bodmin Depot having sounded “Last Post,” the ceremony closed with the National Anthem

The inscription on the memorial reads :-

“In memory of Delabole men who died for King and Country in the Great War 1914-1918.” S G Amy, S Bowden, E Bunt, C Burnard, S Cory, H J Commins, A Collins, J Collins, A W Cose, G Eley, L Goodman, F Hatcher, E Hewett, C Heard, J Heard, C Hayne, R Hill, H Ley, A Ley, F J Langdon (MM), S R Lewis, W Mackie, E Mitchell, D O’Brien, M O’Brien, W Prout, J Runnalls, J A Standlick, L Tonkin, W Tucker, F Williams.” 

WREATHS

The wreaths, of which there was a wealth, were from: The Delabole War Memorial Committee; In loving memory of Clifford from Eleanor, Beat and Cyril; In loving memory of Ellis from Father and Mother, Brothers and Sisters; In ever loving memory of our dear Uncle Dick from Eileen and Bertie; In loving memory of Clifford from Gwen and Francis; With sincerest sympathy to dear Willie from Uncle George and Violet; In remembrance of J H Heard from Emily; In loving memory of Albert and Joe from cousin Ethel; With deepest sympathy to S J Bowden from Mr and Mrs W J Dawe and family; From nephew and niece Willie and Elsie Standlick; To dearest Eddie from his Father and Mother, sadly missed; In loving memory from uncle, aunt and cousins, Rockhead; In affectionate remembrance of Charles Hayne, Delabole, from Father and Mother, sisters and brothers; In loving memory from the United Methodist Church Medrose, 1914-18; In ever loving memory of Archie from Sybil; In loving memory of our loving son and brother Horace John Commins, who fell in action October 9th 1917, sadly missed by all, “Until the day break”; In ever loving memory of our dear Charles Burnard., died in hospital August 12th 1917, remembered by all; In loving memory of John Hooper Heard, from his cousin Thirza; In loving memory of John Hooper Heard from his niece Esther May Heard; In loving memory of Bert from Mother; Hatcher, in ever loving memory of our dear Fred, who was killed in Sanctuary Wood, France, on October 4th 1917, sadly missed by his dear Mother, brothers and sisters, Florrie, Jack, Annie and Harry, ever in our thoughts; In loving memory of Archie from Ernie; In loving memory of dear Charlie from his brothers and sister, Horace, Sidney, Thomas and Mona, Delabole; With deepest sympathy to dear Lawson from his loving Mother, Father, brothers and sisters, W H Goodman; In ever loving memory of dear Fred from his sorrowing Mother, brothers and sisters, gone but not forgotten; To dearest Eddie from his loving brothers and sisters; In loving memory of dear Charlie from his brothers Claude and Fred;, Delabole; In loving memory of dear Willie Tucker from Father, Mother and Reta; In loving and affectionate memory of our darling son and brother, Richard from his loving Mother, Step-Father, brothers and sisters; For our darling Fred from Mother and Father, M and A Williams, also brothers and sisters; In loving memory of our dear brother, Edwin, who fell Sept. 2nd 1918, from Ernest, Florrie and Baby Edwin; In loving memory of James Archibald Stand lick (pte. 9th Battn. , Essex Regt.) from Father and Mother, Frank, George and Ern; In loving memory of Eddie from Iris; In memory of and in gratitude to the brave Delabole lads who laid down their lives for us from Mr and Mrs Haughton, Trewen; In loving memory of Edgar the dearly beloved husband of Bert Mitchell who fell in action; From the Delabole Band of the British Legion; In memory of our beloved Comrades who made the great sacrifice; John Hooper Heard, age 19, died of wounds 9th August 1918, with heartfelt sympathy from Father, Samuel, Melissa and Kate.