© Sue and Julian Owen. Terms and conditions.

Boughton, Dunkirk & Hernhill
War Memorials

Dunkirk War Memorial Dedication

The War Memorial in Dunkirk Churchyard was unveiled in an impressive and dignified ceremony on 25 July 1919.  A lengthy  article describing the ceremony,  appeared in the  Faversham and North East Kent News  published on 2 August 1919.

In Dunkirk churchyard last Friday afternoon was unveiled and dedicated the memorial which the parish had erected to the lasting memory of the gallant men connected with the parish, who fell in the war in the service of their country.

The memorial takes the form of a handsome wheel cross in Cornish granite, the cross standing upon a die and two bases imposed upon a rustic granite basement.  

Messrs Millen and Chrisfield of Faversham, have executed the work, and the memorial stands to the south west of the church, a good view of it being obtained from the main road.

The roll of the honoured dead is a lengthy one, twenty-six names being engraved upon the memorial.  The following is the list:  

Capt  R. Gosset,  Lieut  W.V. Burgess, Sergt  J. Wills,  

Corpl  E. Hall, Corpl A. Miles,  Pte P. Brunger,  

Pte E. Baker, Pte H. Baker, Pte W. Baker,  

Pte P. Butcher,  Pte  F. Foster, Pte R. Grainger,

Pte T. Grainger,  Pte C. Harlow,  Pte H. Hart,  

Pte F. Owen,  Pte W. Packman,  Pte A. Ralph,  

Pte H. Smith,  Pte S. Smith,  Pte W. F. Stickells,  

Pte E. Uden,  Pte A. Wood,  Tpr F. Howe,  

Tpr S.C. Marsh,  Tpr H. Owen.

Beneath the names is the inscription:  “They nobly fell that we might live”, and the dates 1914 – 1918.

The unveiling and dedication were preceded by a brief service in the church.  There was a numerous congregation, many of those present, of course, being relatives of the fallen.  The War indeed took a heavy toll, for the number of the dead represents roughly one in every four families in the parish.  But besides the relatives, evidently all who would do so, having regard to the hour of the ceremony, had come to show their gratitude to the fallen and their sympathy with the bereaved.  The children of the day school and the Dunkirk Troop of Boy Scouts were also present.

While the congregation was assembling Mr George Riddle, A.R.C.M. who was at the organ, played the beautiful strains of Chopin’s funeral march.  The service afterwards opened with the hymn  “Stand up! Stand up for Jesus!”  

The service followed a special form for such occasions, the prayers being taken by the Vicar, Rec. A.R. Jackman, and the lesson  (Wisdom of Solomon 3. 1-6) by the Rev Dr. Springett, Rector of Pluckley, and son of the late reverend Vicar of the parish Rev. W.J. Springett.  

The brief service concluded very impressively with the playing of the Dead March in Saul, and the choir, clergy and congregation then proceeded to the churchyard where they gathered in a large circle around the memorial.

The unveiling was performed by Mr W. C. Dawes, who released the large Union Jack which covered the cross, and then paid a beautiful tribute to the heroism and sacrifice of the fallen.

‘In being invited to unveil this memorial’ he said, ‘I am deeply touched.  This monument will commemorate and keep in memory those from this parish who gave their lives for their Country in the Great War.   The lads who went overseas to uphold Right against Might, were fighting for the greatest causes men ever fought for, and, knowing they faced death, their thoughts will have been good thoughts, so that, when they fell they were received into their Heavenly Father’s keeping – clean and strong.  

During the trials and horrors of the war, how often their minds must have turned to their homes and the interests at home.  If we take this spot where the monument stands as the centre, with a circle round, their homes are within this circle and they will be glad that their names and the memory of their deeds are recorded in the centre of their parish and on a spot which was sacred to them.   Those who have lost dear ones can come here, and, with the same feelings with which we visit the graves of those who have gone before us, dwell in thoughts of them.  The spirits of those from this parish who have given their lives in the Great War will be here, perhaps even more so than if their bodies lay beneath this stone.  The glorious dead gave their lives to save their Country.  

If victory had been obtained by the enemy, all right feeling and Christian principles would have passed under the inhuman heel of the Prussians.  We have been saved this fearful outlook.  The glorious dead gave their lives, not only for victory, but also for the building up of a better and a happier world.  We must remember this in our actions and ask for strength in this when we stand in solemn admiration before this monument, so that the memorial erected by us in gratitude to the memory of our fallen heroes, will form a magnet drawing us together for good.   I can see children and future generations of children, brought here with gratitude and thankfulness, being told of the brave deeds done in the War, and the children absorbing the great lesson that there is no greater deed than to lay down your life for your country.

The dedicatory prayers, recited by the Vicar, followed Mr Dawes’ tribute, and then the Rev Dr Springett gave a short address.  In opening, he remarked that Dunkirk church and churchyard must ever be such sacred spots to him that he was very grateful to be allowed to saw a few words on this occasion.  

He went on to ask his hearers to take three “looks” – the first backward, the second upward, and the third forward - and with each of these he associated a word all beginning with the same letter.  He spoke first of the “Patriotism” of the fallen, then, comfortingly, of “Paradise” and the “Perfected” state into which they had entered, and finally he appealed for the realisation of a great human “Partnership”, a strenuous co-operation – all living for all, all living for Country, for Church and Mankind.  He asked his hearers to think always of these three things when the stood before this memorial cross.  The hymn “For all the Saints who from their labours rest” was then sung, after which Dr. Springett, standing close to the cross, pronounced the Blessing.

A very touching scene followed.  Mrs Dawes first deposited a wreath at the foot of the cross, and then similar tributes were added by friends of the fallen, and lastly there was a very large and magnificent wreath, composed of red, white and blue flowers, from the Staff and Scholars of Dunkirk School, bearing the Latin inscription “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori”  (It is sweet and glorious to die for one’s Country).


Cross Unveiled By Mr W. C. Dawes.

Back to top