Armistice Day – Solemn Ceremonies – Silence Amid Storm.

November 1929

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 15 November 1929

Armistice Day.
Solemn Ceremonies Throughout The District.
Silence Amid Storm.
Wild Weather for the 11th Anniversary.

On Sunday and Monday the 11th anniversary of the great Armistice was solemnly observed in all parts of this district. There was scarcely a parish which did not have a Jon of some kind, and in Most cases there were reverent assemblies around public war memorials.

On Sunday special services were held in practically all places of worship, and on Monday the outdoor ceremonies which have come to be associated with the anniversary of the Hour of Peace were carried out with a quiet fervour that the passing of time does not abate.

In spite of extraordinarily wild weather—for on Monday the country was swept by the first of the winter gales—crowds were larger than ever, and the discipline of the homage to the dead more precise. There was this year less clamour of sirens, the difficulty of synchronisation having been recognised, and it was possible to observe the silence in one district without having it broken in another.

The British Legion made its annual Poppy Day collections on Armistice Day, and in some cases throughout the preceding week-end, and reports to hand suggest that the proceeds are likly to beat the record figure attained last year.


The special form of service was followed at the Parish Church and at St. George’s, Mexborough on Sunday morning. The service at the Parish Church was conducted by the vicar and the Rev. George Bedford preached. At St. George’s the Rev. S. A. Taylor conducted the service and preached.

Time, the soother of sorrow, has unconsciously and almost unbelievingly wrought changes since 1918; bitterness turned to tolerance; abject despair to sighing; and in honouring our dead on this the eleventh anniversary commemorating their sacrifice, we do so in a different spirit. The cynic and the sceptic have declared against the solemn gatherings of November 11rh; they have hinted at the forgetfulness of mankind, but the passage of time has proved them wrong.

With each anniversary our homage has become more sincere, and our mourning less pompous and emotional. The colour and spectacle of those early service given place, to a truer appreciation of the meaning of the Great Silence, and at no time time has this been evident than as the present. Nowhere was this better: exemplified than at Mexborough, and few services whether on a larger or smaller scale could have been more simply expressive than that which took place in the pouring rain round Mexborough War Memorial.

Perhaps the simplest service in history; perhaps the smallest assemblage since 1919, it was in many respects the most impressive, and marking as it did by its simplicity the new attitude, it sounded a stronger call for brotherhood and peace than all the pomp and pageantry of military homage. Grey skies and the sombre grey of civilian clothes created an atmosphere appropriately reverent, and though little manifestation of emotion broke in upon the silence, there was a tension of united thought and feeling that conveyed more than stifled sobbing and tear dimmed eyes. The rain poured unceasingly, the wind whistled through the ranks of those gathered round the memorial, and through the silence bared heads glistened with nature’s tears; here a war widow with trembling lips; here a warrior with grim set face; there a youth who knew not the horrors of war, but with thousands of others wallows in the pit of unemployment, its cruel aftermath……. And nature sobbed for them all.

The parade of ex-Service men, Salvation Army St. John Ambulance Brigade and Nursing Section, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, choir boys, Toc H, police, representatives of title public organisations and the Urban District Council, assembled at Hartley Street, and marshalled by Mr. S. Worrall, proceeded along High Street and Doncaster Road to the war memorial. The service was commenced at 10-45 with the singing of the hymn “O God our help in ages past.” led by the Parish Church choir boys. The Rev. C. H. Randell: (Primitive Methodist Church) read the lesson, which was followed by the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. The Last Post was sounded, the Silence followed, and then the Reveille. The hymn “Sun of my soul” was sung, and the service was concluded with the singing of the first verse of the National Anthem. The blessing was pronounced by the Rev. S. A. Taylor, and a British Legion wreath was placed on the memorial by Mr. George Bowen.

At the conclusion of the service the procession re-formed and marched back through the town. On their way to the memorial, the members of the British Legion were given the “Eyes right” order as they passed the Market Hall. outside of which is an inscription to Sapper W. Hackett, the Mexborough V.C., who was killed in France in 1916.

A communion service was held in the Parish Church, conducted by the Vicar. Dr. Briggs.


The eleventh anniversary of the signing of the Armistice was marked by a record attendance at the civic service held in the Swinton Parish Church on Sunday morning. Every available seat was occupied and chairs had to be used in the north aisle.

A procession formed at the Market Place, and included the Swinton Town Band, the Police, members and officials of the Urban Council. the British Legion, relatives and friends of those who gave their lives in the war, the scouts, guides, ambulance and nursing divisions of the St. John Ambulance Brigade, and other public bodies. Marshalled Mr. Frank Jones, the procession paraded to the Church Hall, where it was met by the Vicar, the Rev. T. G. Rogers, and the Parish Church choir, and proceeded thence to the Church.

A special form of service was used, which Included the hymns, “Onward, Christian soldiers, “On the Resurrection morning,” “These things shall be,” “Jesus shall reign,” and “God of our fathers”; and Psalm 121, “If the Lord Himself had not been on our side.” The choir sang Stainer’s anthem, “What are these?” the treble solo being taken by Eddie Farrier. The lessons were taken from Micah, 3. 1-7. and Hebrews 11, 1-13. and were read by Messrs. S. J. Large Frank Ward respectively.

The Vicar preached from the text, “Give peace in our time, 0 Lord.” He asked if all were prepared to sacrifice themselves so that war should be no more? Those who gave their lives in the Great War did so in the effort to save their loved ones at home. Those who remained and kept their memory green should be prepared to sacrifice themselves to abolish war. To those who lived in the northern counties, if war was made impossible, there would be a great sacrifice to be paid. The iron and steel trade would border on stagnation. That result would be inevitable.

During the singing of “God of our fathers,” the procession was re-formed, and with St. Michael’s Church choir, which had marched to the Parish Church, paraded to the War Memorial for a united service. The crowd there was not as large as some in recent years. At the Memorial the hymn”, “0 God our help” and “For all the Saints” were sung, the Swinton Town band accompanying. Prayers were offered by Mr. J. Milton Thomas (Wesleyan Methodist); the Vicar read the lesson from Solomon 3, 14; and a short address was hr the Rev. C. H. Mandell (Primitive Methodist). The two minutes’ silence was observed, and the Last Post and lieveille were sounded by scouts. Following the Blessing by the Vicar, the service concluded with the singing of the National Anthem.

There was a fairly large congregation in the Parish Church on Armistice Day, when a Remembrance service was conducted by the Vicar in the Memorial Chapel. The Roll of Honour was read, and the hymn, “O God, our help” was sung. Owing to the inclement weather, the two minutes’ silence was observed in church. There were, however, several persons round the memorial during the silence.

Among the wreaths laid on the Memorial during the week are those of the British Legion, United Services Club, members and officials of the Council, Swinton Parish Church, St. Michael’s Church, Scouts, Girl Guides. John Baker and Co., Hattersley’s Foundry, Working Men’s Club, and others from relatives.

On Monday the silence was observed in the schools. At the National School an address was given by the headmaster, Mr. Frank Ward. Many parents were present. It has become the custom at Roman Terrace for parents to assemble in the schools for the silence. After a short service, the boys, with the headmaster, Mr. Staples, paraded to the Memorial to place a wreath which had been contributed to by every family represented at the school. All the departments in the other schools sang appropriate hymns, and addresses were given by teachers.


The Armistice service was held at the Parish Church on Sunday morning. Prior to the service a procession was formed at the Weir Bridge, consisting of ex-Servicemen, Friendly Society members, and paraded to the church. The service was conducted by the Vicar (the Rev. F. W. Shepherd), and was most impressive. After the service in church, the processional hymn, “God our help,” was sung during the parade from the church to the war memorial in the cemetery. Whilst the hymn. “Rock of ages” was being sung, relatives of the fallen placed wreaths on the monument. The service and prayer was conducted by the Vicar and the “Last Post” was sounded. The collection taken at the service will be handed over to Earl Haig’s Poppy Fund,


There was no diminution but rather an increase in the fervour with which Remembrance Day was observed at Conisborough. The parade assemble in Brook Square under the command of Lt. C. J Pickett, M.C. The procession was headed by the Salvation Army Baud from Denaby, and included the British Legion, Nursing Division, Conisborough Division, Conisborough Fire Brigade, boy Scouts, Girl Guides etc. The procession marched to their Parish Church, which was filled to such an extent that extra chairs had to be requisitioned. The service commenced with the singing of Arkwright’s hymn, “O Valiant Hearts” and Mr. R Coleman said the prayers. The lesson (Eccles 44, 1.15) was read by Councillor C. F. Webster, vice-chairman of the Conisborough branch of the British Legion. The Vicar the Rev. H. Lee) delivered an inspiring address. He said thought it was the biggest Armistice service since he had been there and he was glad to see as the years went by that more people were willing to observe the day by religious service. He thought that the word “Armistice” would be superseded by ”Remembrance.” There was no idea of glorification of war, but. Christian service ought to become, as they were becoming year by year, a glorifying of peace. No good could come from war; we were living still under its shadow. Permanent peace must be backed by the people, and the only way was to remember the golden rule. “Do unto others as I would that they should do unto me.” There was nothing emotional, fussy or milksoppy about that rule.

During the singing of the hymn, “For all the saints.” a collection was taken for the Haig Fund.

After the singing of the National Anthem the clergy and choir headed a procession to the Coronation Park memorial. In the presence of a congregation which overflowed into Castle Ground and on to adjoining roads, a Guard of Honour of N.C.O.’s of the B. Coy. 5th K.O.Y.L.I. took station at the Memorial. The hymn, “Eternal Father.” was sung, and then the Vicar said prayers for peace. Bugle- Major Parker sounded the “Last Post” and the “Reveille.”

Wreaths were laid by Mr. J. Beggar, chairman of the local branch of the British Legion on behalf of ex-servicemen, and by Supt. C. Farrell for the S.J.A.B., and there followed many private tributes. ‘Abide with Me.” & Benediction by the Vicar, and the singing of the National Anthem, concluded another memorable day of homage.


The Denaby Parish Church was filled to its utmost capacity on Sunday morning, on, the occasion of the annual Armistice service. The local company of the K.O.Y.L.I., the British Legion, St. John Ambulance Brigade and Nursing Divisions, Toc. H. and L.W.H., R.A.0.B., Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, and the Church Lads’ Brigade, were all represented. The service was conducted by the Vicar, who also preached. The choir sang the hymn, “Crossing the Bar,” and other hymns were “0, valiant hearts” and “For all the saints.” A short service was held at the Cenotaph, and the Ambulance Band played the National Anthem. The Last Post was sounded. Wreaths were placed on the Cenotaph. The collections were devoted to St. Dunstan’s Hostel.

At the Parish Church on Monday a service was held for the members of the local group of Toc H and L.W.H. in memory of fallen comrades. The Rev. F. Powley conducted the service and was assisted by Mr. F. Singleton. After the service a wreath was placed on the cenotaph.

The hooters were blown at 11 on Monday for the silence. Many people observed the silence but some ignored the signal.


The annual Remembrance Service was held at the war memorial in the Town Hall grounds on Sunday afternoon. Previous to the service a procession was formed outside the British Legion Club. This was headed by the Salvation Army band. The procession included the ex-servicemen headed by M. C. Martyn. M.C., and S. Milner (president of Wath Branch of the British Legion), Firemen, St. John’s Ambulance Brigade, councillors and the 1st and 2nd Wath Companies of the Boys Brigade.

The remembrance service was conducted by the Rev. H. E. Eves, M.A., assisted by the Revs. H. W. Wade (Wesleyan), and R. Miller (Congregational), Coun. W. Popplewell (Primitive Methodist), read the lesson. During the service wreaths were placed on the war memorial on behalf of the British Legion, Firemen and Ambulance Brigade. The Reveille and Last Post were sounded by buglers from the territorials.

The service was very impressive and was well attended by a good number of townspeople. The hymns were led by the Parish Church choir and ably accompanied by the Wath Salvation Army Band. A collection was taken up on behalf of Earl Haig’s Fund. The officials and as many workmen as could conveniently be gathered, attended at the colliery memorial for a brief service at 11 am. on Monday, a few relatives of the fallen joining them. Colonel Johnson, M.C., and Mr. J. Coakes conducted the service and a veteran workman (Mr. J. Midgley), wearing his son’s medals posthumously awarded, read a passage of scripture. A chaplet of poppies was placed on the plinth of the monument by Mr. A. T. Thomson on behalf of the officials and staff. A servlce was conducted at the Victoria Council School on Monday by the Rev. H. C. Eves., assisted by Coun. W. Popplewell, during which the silence was observed. The silence was also observed in the other schools and teachers gave appropriate addresses.

The Armistice ball organised by the Wath branch of the British Legion was held in the Pavilion on Friday and was well patronised. Messrs. F. Clifford and W. Cawton were the M.C.’s. The music was supplied by the Troubadour Dance Orchestra.


The general impression among those who took part in the Armistice memorial service at Wombwell was that the occasion made a wider appeal than ever. This was confirmed by numbers, for the service at the Parish Church attracted a larger congregation than in any year since the war. Spacious as the church is, extra seating accommodation had to be obtained. The service was conducted by the Rector of Wombwell, Canon S. T. G. Smith, assisted by the Rev. J. E. Broadbent. Present also was the Rev, Rowland Hill, pastor of the Wombwell Congregational Church, who read the Lessons. In his address Canon Smith said it was necessary always to remind the younger generation of the consequences of war. They could only realise a blessing fully by having experienced its alternative, and therefore upon those who had realised the horrors of war there was an obligation to stamp the impression on the minds of those who might forget.

Various organisations in the town responded wholeheartedly to the rector’s invitation to be present at the service, groups ex-servicemen wearing decorations, members of the Wombwell Nursing Division, ambulance workers, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides from the Congregational Church, Police, the Church Lads’ Brigade, members of the R.A.O.B. and other representative bodies occupying the greater part of the front portion of the church, In the spirit aroused by the ringing of memorial and national hymns and specially chosen Psalme, the occasion was most impressive. The hymn, “0 God our help” was sung as a recessional. The offertories were in aid of Earl Haig’s Fund.

A short but impressive service at the war memorial outside the church followed. Canon Smith addressed a few words to a large crowd assembled in the street, alter which officials of the British Legion laid wreaths at the foot of the memorial, Mr. Fred Markham performing the act of fellowship for the comrade, of the British Legion. Others who deposited wreaths were Dr. W. R   . Dickinson. President of the Wombwell branch of the British Legion, Mr. H. Burrows, Mrs. Pearce on behalf of the Wombwell Nursing Division, and Mr. J. Green, on behalf of the Wombwell Province of the R.A.O.B. There were also tokens from the members of the Wombwell Conservative Club, Station Road W.M.C., and many private ones. Buglers of the Church Lode Brigade sounded the Reveille. The police rendered good service in controlling the crowd while the ceremonies were in progress.

Services of a memorial character were held at other places of worship in the Wombwell district. Broomhill Mission having their service of remembrance on Sunday night. Despite the fact that the weather conditions made life out of doors very unpleasant there was no sign of tailing off in the attendance at the Armistice Day service at Wombwell War Memorial on Monday morning. The ceremonies were preceded by Communion and a short service in the Parish Church. At the memorial the Rev. Rowland Dill addressed the crowd, reminding them of the sacred associations of the day and appealing to them to carry forward the message of peace that Armistice Day brought along with it. Also with Canon Smith, the rector, at the memorial, were the Mr. J. E. Broadbent and the chief officer of the Wombwell Corps of the Salvation Army.

During the service widows and mothers of the fallen stood in quiet contemplation of the names inscribed on the monument, many of them haring laid tokens of affection at the foot of the shrine. On the opposite side of the road stood a long row of ex-Service men with their backs to the buildings. Rain fell in torrents, but their heads were bared, and careless of the consequences, they were willing to let the streams of rain trickle down their faces. Canon Smith also disdained protection from the element., having no protection over his cassock and surplice. The silence was ushered in by the chiming of the Town Hall clock, in which movement was entirely suspended, not a sound heard say the sign of the wind and the merciless passing of the rain.

Wombwell was faithful to its obligations in that respect. Memories of war’s tragedies were focusing silences observed in the schools, in the homes, collier banks and even in the pits.


The annual Requiem Mass in memory of the fallen was held at the Parish Church on Sunday morning. The Urban District Council officials and employees were present with the members of the Collingwood and Star of Bolton lodges of the R.A.0.B.. in full regalia. The church was crowded. Mass “Requiem Aeternum” was sung by a special choir, the Rev. T. B. Almond, vicar of Bolton, being celebrant and preacher. The “Dead March” from ‘Saul’ was played by Miss Parker (organist), and Last Post and Reveille were sounded by buglers of the Thurnscoe Company of the C.L.B. Mrs, A. Utley sang “Nearer my God to Thee” at the end of the Mass.

During his sermon, the Rev. T. B. Almond said that the service was not one for the commemoration of war, but in remembrance of those who gave their lives as a supreme sacrifice. The Christian Church led the way in the work of peace times each day-365 days a year—he offered prayer for peace- not once for a blessing on war. If it was asked why peace did not come as an answer to all this prayer the answer was that God respected our humanity and would not force man’s will. Peace would come when men set themselves to carry out the Master’s teachings in every department of human life. So long as God was ignored, so long would Utopias come to nought. The only perfect kingdom in which justice and peace were to be found was in the Kingdom of God- To remind of that was the task of the Christian Church.

The Vicar appealed to the Councillors to place God first in their public duties. Everywhere to-day a purely materialistic view of life was being urged. No doubt it was due to the fact that man had acquired tremendous power over the forces of Nature. Men of vision were telling them that only through’ co-operation between men and nations was further world progress possible. The League of Nations was the political expression of that co-operation. If it failed, then there seemed no escape front world catastrophe. If it was regarded solely as a political expedient it must fail, as all schemes apart from God had failed. To be successful, the League of Nations must be the material expression of spiritual fellowship which embraced men of every race and nation. There was no such fellowship except Christ’s Holy Church which was the Kingdom of God on earth.

The question that they should ask at Armistice time was whether they believed that Christ was the solution to the problem of peace. If so, how were they supporting those who were trying to make His influence felt in the counsels of the nation. He was not the Christ of any one nation; He could unite all nations in one brotherhood when men would accept His kingship, but he would never force Himself upon them. He waited patiently, crucified with hands and feet, fastbound till penitence and love were born in the hearts of men to set Him free, to begin his beneficent rule throughout the world.

The Vicar spoke of the importance of Christian missions. World evangelisation and world peace were inseparably bound together. With the spread of the one came the establishment of the other. He concluded by speaking of the significance of the day, pointing out that we should never realise its full significance until it became Reconciliation Day, when our Allies and late enemies could stand side by side at the Cenotaph, paying tribute to the sacrifices made by all nations and vowing that never again should war devastate the world.


A special service was conducted in St. Hilda’s Church on Sunday morning by the Rev. H. Card. and was attended by the Thurnscoe branch of the British Legion and the Hickleton Main Band, who afterwards marched in procession to the war memorial, where wreaths were laid. During the service the Band played the Dead March from “Saul” and the Last Post.

The Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, and Church Lads’ Brigade attended the special memorial service in the Parish Church, and after the service the Church Lads’ Brigade paraded through the village to the Cenotaph.

The silence on Monday was rigidly kept. At eleven o’clock the colliery ceased work, and motors passing through the village drew up. The women’s section of the British Legion assembled at the Coronation Club, about thirty members being present, and in spite of the heavy rain marched to the war memorial in the park. They were headed by the Salvation Army Band, and at the memorial a service was conducted by Capt. Fenton, of the Salvation Army. On behalf of the section Mrs. A. Miller (president) placed a wreath on the Cenotaph.


Greater reverence and solemnity than ever marked the celebrations at Darfield on Sunday. A muffled peal of bells was rung prior to the service of remembrance in the Parish Church which commenced at 10.30. The church was filled to its monks capacity. At the gates a procession headed by the Houghton Main Band, consisting of the British Legion, Friendly Societies, Girl Guides, etc., were met by the clergy, wardens, and choir, and entered at the tower door, singing the hymn “Ten thousand times ten thousand.” During the him “Thy kingdom come O God,” the British Legion wreath was laid at the War Memorial, after which Canon Sorby read the names of the fallen, which are engraved on the memorial, and number nearly a hundred. Two bugles in the tower then sounded the Last Post.

After the General Confession, this the congregation sang Arkwright’s hymn ‘The Supreme Sacrifice.’ The Rev. G. Turner read the Lessons. After the first lesson Miss Annie Mellor sang “He shall feed His flock,” and at the conclusion of the second Lesson the choir sang the anthem “What are these the congregation then sang “Nearer my God to The Thee,” accompanied by the Houghton Main Band. Archdeacon Sanford, of Doncaster, preached an inspiring address from the text “and this commandment have we from Him, That he who Loveth God, love his brother also.” Archdeacon Sandford recalled that it was he who dedicated the War Memorial: and so he felt he had something in common with them. On Remembrance Day they must first remember God in whom they lived and had their being. Then they must remember the splendid lives in glorious deaths of those who God and imbued with his spirit of sacrifice. But, where there others to be remembered. Those who were still suffering.

In our hospitals today there were 15,000 hopeless Indian invalids, wreckage of the Great War, there were 3000 was lost their reason, for whom the world and nothing to offer. Then, there were the widows and children The nation had done a lot but the need was still great. Of all the organisations which were helping to lessen the suffering of our soldiers, the British Legion stood pre-eminent

The procession lined up outside the church, and marched to the Wayside cavalry at Middlewood. Here a tremendous crowd had assembled. The Reverend G.A. Turner conducted a short service, and a wreath was placed on the shrine by Mr W Fletcher, on behalf of of the British Legion. The hymn “Nearer thy God to Thee,” was played.

Great Houghton

On Sunday morning the Wesleyan Chapel in Great Houghton was crowded for the Armistice service. Mr. A. Wright, of Hemsworth, was the preacher. The service was attended officially by the Ambulance Brigade, the British Legion, women’s section of the Legion, the Working Men’s Club. the Parish and the Rural Councils. The list of the local fallen was read out. The Last Post and the Reveille were sounded by Messrs. Jowett and Jacob. The remembrance service was held in the Chapel of Ease in the evening. The Rev. O. Turner was the preacher, and there was a full congregation. The Last Post was sounded.

On Monday morning a service was held in the Council School to the assembled scholars. The programme was: Hymn. “O God, our help”; lesson, “The wilderness and the solitary place”; hymn. Kipling’s Recessional; address, “Armistice Day and the meaning of the Flanders Poppy,” by the Headmaster”; recitation, “In Flanders field.” During the service the silence was observed.


An innovation at Goldthorpe was a special service on Sunday afternoon arranged by the local branch of the British Legion, in the Welfare Hell. This was well attended by the public and R.A.0.B. lodges. A procession was headed by the Salvation Army and Goldthorpe Silver Bands.

The service commenced with the singing of the National Anthem and the hymn, ”O God, our help.” Prayers were read by the Vicar of Bolton. the Rev. T. B. Almond; a Lesson by the Rev. R. Shepherd (Primitive Methodist minister), and after the singing of “God, of our fathers,” an appropriate address was given by the Rev. J. M. Darrell (Congregational minister).

Following the hymn. “Eternal Father, strong to save.” the two minutes’ silence was observed, the “Dead March” from “Saul” played by the Bands, and the Reveille sounded. The service concluded with the Blessing by the Rev. B. Howard, Vicar of Goldthorpe. The collection, which amounted to £3 was in aid of the Haig Fund.