Ledbury Remembers The Lads Who Marched Away

Ledbury Remembers The Lads Who Marched Away

The Reverend Rodney Harrison and Wing Commander Don Rule, before the minute's silence.

We Will Remember: the standard bearers of the Royal British Legion.

In A Solemn August Rain: Standard bearers and crowds begin to gather at the war memorial.

First published in News by

THIS was the week when Ledbury remembered the lads who marched away from the High Street to war, precisely one hundred years ago.

A commemoration service at the town's war memorial took place on Tuesday, August 5, and hundreds of people came to pay their respects.

For it was exactly a century ago, on August 5, 1914, when 83 local men, who had been called up, were told to muster at the Drill Hall in New Street.

It was this group, - Territorials of C-Company, 1st Battalion who, resplendent in uniform, marched through a town centre thronged with cheering crowds, all the way to the train station.

They were led to the trains by a local brass band and the Band of the 1st City of Westminster Boys Scouts who, by chance, had been enjoying a camping holiday at Bosbury, when war was announced.

Leading this week's commemoration service at the war memorial was the Revd Rodney Harrison, Chaplain of the Ledbury Branch of the Royal British Legion.

He said it was not a memorial service, because precisely one hundred years ago, no Ledbury soldier had yet died in the war. Rather it was a ceremony of commemoration.

As a gentle late summer rain fell, he quoted from the Old Testament prophet Joel, who urged people to "beat your ploughshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears", and he explained how such sentiment would have been understood at the start of the war, before the horror of the trenches, and how most of the men marching away, that distant August day, would have been excited to go.

At 11am, exactly, as the town clock struck the hour, the six Royal British Legion standards were lowered, for a minute's silence.

Revd Harrison then read out the names of the 85 Ledbury soldiers who did not come home, and Wing Commander Don Rule, president of the Ledbury Branch of the Legion, laid the first green sprigs of rosemary, for remembrance, at the foot of the war memorial.

Before stepping forward, he read the moving verse from Laurence Binyon's poem, "For the Fallen", which reads, "They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,/Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn./At the going down of the sun and in the morning/We will remember them."

Wing Commander Rule was followed to the war memorial by other dignitaries, including Ledbury's mayor, Cllr Bob Barnes, and members of the public.

But this was not first ceremony at the war memorial this week.

A candle-lit vigil took place there, from 10pm to 11pm, on Monday August 4, to mark the date when, following the invasion of Belgium, the nation declared war on Germany.

Around 100 people gathered around the war memorial with candles burning.

And Ledbury's mayor, Cllr Bob Barnes, said he was "very pleased" that the Civic Service in St Michael and All Angels Church, on Monday evening, from 7pm, was so well attended, with at least 200 people there.

Speaking after Tuesday's ceremony at the war memorial, which drew similar numbers or even more, Revd Harrison was asked what was the actual significance of the First World War, one century on.

He said: "I don't think the significance of the First World War has yet sunk in. In many ways, it is still going on, when you look at the situation in the Middle East, for example, which, it could be argued was down the the way the Ottoman Empire was divided up, at the end of hostilities, and of course you could say the First World War sowed the seeds of the Second World War."

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree