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Boughton, Dunkirk & Hernhill
War Memorials

Hernhill War Memorial Dedication

Hernhill War Memorial was unveiled on Sunday 4 December 1921, by Brigadier-General Pitt of Pett Place, Charing.  It was dedicated by the Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Venerable J. White-Thompson.

The Faversham and North East Kent News reported on 10th December 1921:

The parishioners of Hernhill did honour last Sunday afternoon to the memory of the men connected with the parish who, gave their lives during the war, there being a great gathering on, the Occasion of the unveiling and dedi­cation of the parish's War Memorial.

The memorial takes the form of a large and massive cross of Cornish granite, which has been provided by public subscription and carried out under the supervision of Mr. J. Bruce, late of Minters. Millen and Chrisfield. It stands near the edge of the churchyard facing the village green, and as the churchyard stands above the surround­ing level, a breach has been made and steps constructed forming an approach to the memorial, with entrance gates.  On the front face of the base of the cross is the inscription:



Do you who dwell midst English pastures green,

Remember them and think what might have been.

On the two side panels are engraved the names of the fallen, thirty in all - a lengthy 'list for a parish, with a population (according to the last census figures available) of less than nine hundred. The names are as follows:

Charles E. Arnold, Percy W. Arnold, John Brown, Frederick Brown, Frank Bassant, Lawrence P. Clamp,

John G. Clinch, J. Harold Clinch, E. Stanley Coachworth, Alfred Graham, Herbert W. Foreman,

Bertram F. Hadlow, William E. Harvey, Wilfred H.W. Haslam, Frederick S. Horn, Aubrey Jessup,

Ernest Manuel, Leonard Parsons, Reginald Pay, George Philpott, George Pout, John Pout,

Sidney A. Smith D.C.M., Percy R.Smith, William Stewart, John Twrell, George Twrell, Sydney A. Watts,

Victor Wraight, Alec L. Wraight:

The list is remarkable inasmuch as there are six instances of the loss of two sons in one family. We should think there are few parallel cases to this.

The ceremony of unveiling the cross was performed by Brigadier-General Pitt, of Pett Place, Charing, and it was afterwards dedicated by the Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Venerable J. White-Thompson. These ceremonies were preceded by service within the Church which was crowded, so much so that chairs had to be placed in the aisles. Seats had been reserved for relatives of the fallen and also for ex-service men. A number of the latter were present, some of them wearing their war medals.

The service was conducted by the Vicar. Rev. Alfred Clark, the address was given by the Archdeacon and two former Vicars of the parish were also taking part, namely the Rev. Dr. Springett (Rector of Pluckley) and the Rev. B. Smyth (Rector of Bettes­hanger). The latter read the lesson (Rev. 21, 1—8), and Dr. Springett took some of the prayers.

Immediately following the proces­sional hymn, "O God, our help in ages past", there came the Memorial of the Dead, the congregation remaining standing while the Vicar read the roll of the fallen after the introductory words "Let us give thanks to God for the memory and example of all those who, from this parish, have laid down their lives for their country."  This impressive part of the service concluded with the singing by the choir (unac­companied) of the opening words of the 3rd chapter of the Book of Wisdom "The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them."

The Archdeacon, after a reference to the solemn and impressive act of re­membrance in which the congregation were taking part, remarked that there was much about the war which we were trying, and should do well, to forget.

But there were some things we must never forget as long as we lived and first and foremost we must never forget the men to whom we owed it that we were alive and that we were free. We had a great deliverance; we were a saved people. And if that were the case then it .was also true that, under God it was to those men who sacrificed their lives that we owed our deliverance and our power to live in safety.

We ought also to remember not only that but also that from which they delivered us - a fate too horrible to contemplate, a condition that would have made it almost impossible to live for free-traditioned Englishmen. Further, it should be remembered that every single one of those whose name was engraved upon their memorial won the war just as much as the greatest and meet en­thusiastic general or admiral, politician or minister of the Crown

The Archdeacon' went on to speak of their courage and the fine spirit of light-heartedness with which they endured. He also alluded to those who fought by their side -but were spared to return, and pointed out that they made the same sacrifice though it was not required of them to the full.

Many of these, he added, were worse off now than when they went forth, for numbers of them were maimed or enfeebled by disease, and were in difficulties of all sorts. We must never forget what we owed to them, and remember that there was in them also the will to die, the same dauntless courage,. perseverance and endurance, and the same spirit that led to victory.

He also spoke of our debt to the bereaved – an indelible debt of gratitude, honour and sympathy, and finally, in an application of the text he had chosen (Jer 33, 6 and 7) he pointed out that the world would find peace only through the nations being infused with the spirit of Christ and striving after righteousness.

After the address, the choir sang the 23rd Psalm (Miss Blanche Foreman at the organ) and later, following prayers by Dr. Springett, the congregation joined in the hymn “The saints of God their conflict past”.

At the conclusion of this hymn Brig-General Pitt gave a brief address from the chancel step prior to the ceremony in the churchyard. They were going to pay their last homage, he said, and unveil a lasting tribute to the immortal memory of those magnificent fellows who at the call of duty left that parish and willingly and unselfishly laid down their lives for their God, their King, and their Country. Wherever one went throughout the length and breadth of this country, in practically every township, and in nearly every village one saw a cross or a lych gate or some fitting, memorial - tokens of a nation's respect and homage to those brave men who embarked upon the great adventure and never returned. And as time went on and those who were children now would grow up and have children of their own they would look an these memorials which would remind them of the great sacrifices made by their fathers or their grand-fathers in aid of their country in her distress. In that August of 1914 when that momentous question was put to this country and we had to decide whether we should hold our words sacred as Englishmen had always done in' the past and uphold the just cause of the weak against the unjust cause of the strong, or whether we should take the straight and easy path of unholy inac­tivity, few if any of us realised what enormous sacrifices this would entail. But he felt sure that if this country had to decide again on such an issue that the magnificent women of this land would send the manhood forth as they did in the late war with "Go, and God bless you." There were very few homes today that did not mourn some dear one. Each gave of their best, and whether they were high or low, rich or poor, they fought side by side end laid down their lives for their King and their Country.

Nothing, he knew, could fill the gap in the family circle; nothing could salve the wounds that this great, war had left in many hearts. But he did think it must be a great source of comfort to those who had been bereaved to-know that their dear ones nobly did their duty and laid down their lives for a great and sacred cause. And he believed - and it was a great comfort to believe - that such sacrifice was not made in vain and that when they passed through "No Man's Land" to the "Great Unknown" they were re­ceived with that greatest of all greet­ings "Well done thou good and faithful servants".

At the conclusion of the address the congregation moved to the churchyard and gathered around the memorial, a near place going given to the relatives of those whom it commemorates. Brig-General Pitt then released the large Union Jack which covered the cross, and the. Archdeacon said the dedicatory prayers. After these the hymn "O valiant hearts, who to your glory came," was sung and then came the Blessing, followed by the Last Post and the Reveille, the ceremony ending with the singing of the National Anthem.

Shortly afterwards the base of the cross was hidden by floral tributes deposited by relatives and others. There was one from the members of the Dawes Institute; one from. Mr. and Mrs Akam "In remembrance of former scholars of the Day School and of former members of the Young  Men's Bible Class", others from Mrs William Dawes and Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Bryant and one from Miss Simpson and the Hernhill and Dunkirk Girl Guides. The Girl Guides and the Boy Scouts stood lined up on either side of the memorial during the unveiling and dedication.



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