Two local events in St Margarets commemorating the 1st World War
Our memories of the 1st World War and the men and women who lived through it are fixed in bronze statues, names carved in wood and stone, elegaic music, first-hand memoirs and poetry by the likes of Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. Somewhere along the line we seem to have forgotten that most of those who took part in that terrible conflict were just like us, living in the same houses that we still live in, walking the same streets as us and sharing the same hopes and aspirations.
Six years ago the North St Margarets Residents Association (NSMRA) started a project to find out what it could of the 86 local men recorded on the Roll of Honour in our neighbourhood church, All Souls Church in Northcote Road. You can read the initial results in an earlier article Two Crosses – 4 November 2008
That research has evolved into two forthcoming events commemorating the Great War and re-establishing a link between those from our community who were directly involved and us, the present occupants of the neighbourhood who have taken their place.
THE WAR WALK
The WAR WALK starts at the AILSA TAVERN on the St Margarets Road at 11.00am. This was once the home of the publican’s son, Percy Davies, who lost his life showing his mates ‘the way to go home’. On our 1 mile walk we will pass the home of a man who died on the Somme and was buried under 2 different names and visit the Roll of Honour in All Souls Church to see the wooden ‘field crosses’ that once marked the graves of two local men. We will hear of a Gallipoli veteran who survived the Dardanelles but was killed in Gaza. In Isleworth we will pass the home of a man who lost his life with Lord Kitchener when their ship, “HMS Hampshire” was sunk by a mine and a former barber shop owned by a man who was born in Holland, lived in England and died at Vimy Ridge in France. We will learn of a boy who worked at Lion Wharf as a porter and another who died just a day after enduring ‘90 Days Field Punishment No 1’. The walk finishes at Isleworth War Memorial with an introduction from local Historian David Bright.
- Distance: about 1 mile
- Time of walk: about 90 mins
- Cost: Free
- For more information please call Martyn Day on 0208 892 5211
AN AFTERNOON OF POETRY AND SONG
On the afternoon of Sunday, December 14th All Souls Church in Northcote Road will provide the venue for a special event to commemorate World War 1 by revisiting and remembering Christmas through four years of conflict.
Close by the Roll of Honour and amidst the Church’s seasonal candlelight we will tell the story of the War, not from the viewpoint of historians, military commentators or political experts, but through the songs and poetry of the people who were actually there, the soldiers at the front and those who endured at home.
There will be reports on the War’s progress and ‘news from the front’, contemporary poetry and barrack room ballads all accompanied by a small band of local musicians and a choir. The singing will be led by singers Alex Aucken and Maria Margiotta who will invite us to join in with many of the popular songs and parodies for the time.
We are delighted that local, celebrity actors Stella Gonet and David Firth will be telling the story through poetry and narration. The entire event will be enhanced by a specially commissioned on-screen pictorial presentation of photographs, postcards and posters from the time. A first class sound reinforcement system will make sure that you will clearly hear the proceedings from wherever you are seated in the Church.
We will be offering complimentary tea and cake to all attending and guests are encouraged to bring along their own choice of refreshments to supplement what will be on offer. Edwardian dress is strictly optional.
Admission to the Church will be from 3pm and the performance, which will run for approximately one hour, will commence shortly after that.
“They went with songs to the battle, they were young,”
LAURENCE BINYON For the Fallen
- At All Souls Church on the corner of Northcote and Haliburton Roads
- Admission is free and young people are welcome
- The production will run about 1 hour
- For more information please call John Denby on 07860 594620
— from Martyn Day