UNVEILING OF A WAR MEMORIAL AT POCKLINGTON
AN IMPRESSIVE CEREMONY
On Sunday last, a War Memorial was unveiled at Pocklington in memory of the local men who had fallen in the Great War. The raising of the money to carry out such a project was left entirely to the surviving Comrades who are to be congratulated on carrying the scheme to completion. The memorial is erected on a triangular piece of ground known as Smithy Hill, near Messrs R M English and Son’s offices, and will in due course be surrounded by a pallisading in order to give it greater preservation.
The Comrades under comrade Walter Barker (chairman of the committee) and headed by Pocklington Coronation Band, under the conductorship of Mr H U Buttle L. V. C. M. marched in procession from the club to the monument. Several members of Pocklington District Urban Council were also present. The Rev. A F Pentney M C (Wesleyan) conducted the proceedings, the vicar (the Rev I McN Smith) dedicating the memorial and the Rev L Robinson (Primitive Methodists) delivering an address, the unveiling ceremony being performed by the mothers of the first and last boys from the town that fell in the war, these being Mrs C Hotham (Pavement) and Mrs A Skinner (Wold View).
Rev A F Pentney said they were about to unveil a memorial for the boys, who fought with many who stood around that afternoon. The proceedings opened with the singing of the hymn “ Oh God our help in ages past” followed by prayer by Rev A F Pentney, in which he said many young men found themselves in a wonderful fellowship, and they not even counted their own lives that they might serve others, but actually gave their lives so that we might live.
The memorial, a splendid piece of work by Mr J Richardson, New Street, Pocklington, is 13ft high, and is an octagonal column fixed on a stone base, both being of Yorkshire white hard stone, and surmounted by an ornamental cross of Yorkshire brown hard stone. Upon the memorial is inscribed: -
To the Glory of God.
and in Memory of our Comrades
who fell in the Great War,
FRANCIS C BUTTLE
ROBERT W BUTTLE
HENRY I CATTLE
WALTER J CRISP
ROBERT C ENGLISH
THOMAS W FISHER
GEORGE S GRAINGER
GEORGE M JAVERLEY
THOMAS W RIPPON
FREDERICK W ROBSON
EDWARD M ROBSON
GEORGE J SCOTT
THOMAS R SKINNER
JOHN W SMITH
FREDERICK S SMITH
RICHARD M STUBBS
ARTHUR J TAYLEURE
JOHN W THOMPSON
THOMAS R THORPE
Many beautiful floral tributes were then placed against the memorial amongst them were the following: -
“In loving memory of our dear pals, who fell during the Great War, 1914-1918 from the Pocklington Comrades.”
“In loving remembrance, from Harry and Cicely”
“In loving memory of our dear son and brother George Henry Grainger, killed in action April 24th 1917 `Gone but not forgotten’ From Jonathan and family”
“In memory of those dear lads who fell for us 1914-1918”
“To my dear boy, who gave his life that others might live. `Peace perfect peace’ From Mother and family-Mrs Thompson”
“Not forgotten, from Mr R L English, Smylett Hall”
“In ever loving memory, from A and M Skinner, E B Skinner and Eleanor and Beatty”
“From W and A Rowley and family, in affectionate remembrance”
“In memory of those dear lads who gave their lives for King and Country”
“In memory of a dear brother – Sergt Arthur Rowntree. To memory ever dear. From his loving sisters Rose and Elsie”
“In remembrance, from Mr and Mrs T English and Mr Tim English”
“In loving memory of our dear son and brother, Private J Harrison H.L.T killed in France 24th March 1914-R.I.P.”
“In proud and loving memory of Private George Gilyead, 10th East Yorks’ Reg’. From father, mother, sister and brothers.”
“To the memory of my dear boy, Charles and to the officers and men who gave theirs lives in the Great War, 1914-1918 M C Hotham.”
“In loving remembrance of Rifleman F C Buttle, who gave his life for his country, 5th April 1917. `To memory ever dear’. From his father, mother and brothers.”
THE UNVEILING OF THE MEMORIAL
Mrs Hotham and Mrs Skinner then pulled the cords, which released the flags.
The Rev I McN Smith, vicar, dedicated the memorial and offered prayer.
Comrade Walter Barker read the names inscribed on the memorial, which had been erected in memory of their fallen pals.
The Rev. L Robinson then delivered an address in which he said he counted it a privilege indeed to take part in that solemn service, yet it was with emotions strangely stirred and feelings singularly mingled that he attempted to speak.
It was an hour wherein deep pathos and yet proud glory were closely interwoven, and he felt that so, too, those present must have come with hearts pulsing with tenderness towards those whose sorrows were there carved in stone, and yet thrilling with wonder as they considered the exalted meaning to the town.
God grant that that stone might be more to the town than merely a public memorial, upon which to gaze with careless interest. From that hour let that place be sanctified in their hearts as hallowed ground. That memorial standing perpetually before their eyes had a high service to perform for everyone, for its ministry was to keep before their mind and soul the vision of sacrifice.
It was easy to forget or at least grow headless or thoughtless, and the memorial was to remind them of the pathos of it all, grim unseemliness of the passing of their manhood. When old people died it was like the gathering of the ripe sheaves of corn ready for the garner. When death befell the young, in whom the physical pulse so strong beat, who after the long preparation of childhood and youth stood at the meridian of their powers, whose future was so full of high hopes, glowing expectations and great possibilities of living and serving-that death was so pathetically different.
It was the sun going down while it was yet day, it was the bud broken of as it was opening to reveal its beauty and fragrance. This they were all called to remember as they gazed upon that memorial, which made the sacrifice so colossal, and the grief so poignant.
Let them never fail to appreciate the immensity of the sacrifice which had meant the almost clean out of a generation of the world, and which had bereft the world of a generation’s toil and endeavour.
In all the glory of men there was never known so vast a sacrifice, but when they called to mind the stupendous sacrifice it recorded it was not a vision of futility they saw, it could not be either futile or useless. Every instinct of the human heart cried out against the supposition.
A journalist wrote during the late conflict that “Europe was a shambles”. No! it was not a shambles. Human love and tears were too sacred to the great God of life, it was an altar on which were laid sacrificial gifts. From that gift should come to the race of men-nay was coming already-a mighty recompense.
Vast as was the claim of death, vaster was the glories that should to life ensue, the liquid drops of tears that had been shed should come again transformed to oriental pearl, advantaging their loan with interest of ten times double gain of happiness.
For four years ran the river of blood, but for generations to come it would nourish the now growing beauty of the dawning age. In the vision of faith, out of death sprang life abundant, and the very depth of the darkness was the dawn’s own herald. The roots of the future nourished deep in the blood-bathed past, should expand into a beauty only dimly conceived by the most optimistic of them.
Let their hope be steadfast and their faith sure, in the imperious call to God, and to every God like faculty in man, in the vision that memorial brought they must make their hearts strong and their hands ready to welcome the dawning of a new day that they may play their part and take their place in the great forward march.
Let sorrow and the tears of which the monument recorded be to them the wine of a new sacrament, them to an undying allegiance to the greater hopes of their race. The memorial stood a challenge to them all to embark upon that right-thinking which was militant, and that would not cease in its endeavour until it had changed for ever those evil fashions of the day that were passing. As they gazed upon the cross surmounting it they who sorrowed would see the vision of infinite comfort, and immortal hope-the blessed consciousness that God knew.
They heard again the word of the book “I know their sorrows” for the Lord was a strong-hold in the day of trouble and tenderly regardeth them that were his, there was tender comfort in the graciousness of him who was the God of all comfort, and they in their heart of sorrows might enter that blessedness that only came to the eyes that wept, and like the Psalmist they would be able to assert in gladness ”In the multitude of the sorrows I had in my heart thy comforts refresh’ st my soul” and above all was the promise of immortality, the hope that maketh not ashamed for “In him shall be all made alive, for he is the first fruits of them asleep”
The Rev A F Pentney read the following letter from Mr J W Laister J.P, chairman of the Pocklington Urban District Council.
The Comrades of the Great War (Pocklington branch)-I congratulate you on your efforts and success in the erection of a memorial to one and all of your comrades who, at the call of King and country, fought and made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War. The noble self sacrifice, untiring zeal, and deeds of heroism which marked their conduct in the time of fierce conflict, is emblazoned on the memory, and will never be erased therefrom.
I wish to bear my tribute to the illustrious dead, and to those who are bereft my sincere sympathy extends.
I regret my inability through indisposition, to be present with you at the unveiling thereof, which marks an epoch in the history of our native town. I trust that the time is not far distant when war will be impossible; when he, who came to bring peace on earth and good will to men, shall dwell in all hearts.
During the singing of the hymn “Abide with me” a collection was taken in aid of the fund to provide palisading round the memorial.
The Rev A F Pentney announced the Benediction, and comrade J Waters sounded “The Reveille” and the “Last Post” which brought to a close a most impressive and soul-stirring service.