Mexborough Times, October 4, 1919
Tribute to their Memory.
Impressive Drumhead Memorial Service.
On Sunday, Conisbrough, solemnly and impressively pay tribute to its sons who have fallen. The occasion, a drum head service in the Castle grounds, was favoured with splendid weather and the assembly was a very large one.
Preceding the service a procession led by the Conisbrough Brass Band paraded the streets. It was quite an imposing array, representative of nearly all the Societies and organisations in the town, and comprising the Federation of Discharge Soldiers (carrying the Rawmarsh Federation banner) and led by Captain H.C.Harrison, Messrs J.Platts, President A.Straw, secretary and J.Rayner, treasurer of the Branch. Conisbrough troops of Scouts, under Scoutmaster Wood and Patrol Leader Samson, the Denaby and Conisbrough Nursing Associations (under Mrs Heys and Mrs Fell), Conisbrough Section of the St John Ambulance Brigade (under Sgt Akester), the Iva no Lodge of the R.A.O.B., under Knights Wills and Oswald, and the Lodge of the Sheffield Equalised Independent Druids (six Primos and 20 brethren).
The Conisbrough Branch of the Soldiers Federation worthy of special praise for the imposing and striking nature of this part of the proceedings, which indeed, formed a sight well worth seeing. Marching with a proud swing, the column paraded the principal streets between Old Denaby, and the grounds, into which they marched in view of a large concourse of people. The Parish Church bells tolled their tribute and the Church flag flew at half-mast.
Mr H.W.Smith presided over the service, conducted by the reverent S.F.Hawkes, formerly vicar of Denaby Main, now of East Dulwich, London, and late Chaplain to the Forces, which followed. There were also present on the platform. The reverent H.de C.Dallimore, Dr J.W.McClure, Councillors Tom Hill and S.C.Urch and Mr W.L.Worsley.
The chairman said that their purpose that afternoon was to keep green in the minds of them all the great sacrifices made by Conisbrough. The men in whose glorious memory they had assembled had given their lives in the same spirit as the Saviour gave His. They would never forget what had been done by these brave men, and they should all strive to be worthy, and more worthy still, of the sacrifices made for them in the war. The memory of these men should keep their eyes always turned towards the country for which they have fought and died and all should try to be worthy citizens of that country. They should make it their duty not to abuse their country, but to help, create, and stimulate a better feeling in their midst. Righteousness, for which so much been given, should be their national watchword.
The reverent S.F.Hawkes gave an impressive address, and his eloquence went straight to the heart of his listeners. The matter what was said from the platform, he said, the object of that day´s gathering spoke for itself. He would read from the Bible a few passages about men will many years ago gave themselves up for their country.
“Let us now praise famous men. The Lord hath wrote great glory by them. Some of them have left names behind them that their praise might be known. Some, there are, which have no Memorial who are perished as though they had never been but they are not forgotten. Their children stand fast for their sakes. They glory shall not be blotted out. Their bodies are perished but their name liveth for evermore.”
He wanted to say three things. First, “remember the men who have all gone.” He never noted a procession now without thinking of those men who could not walk in it.
When he came back to Denaby Main, this time, he found many men gone whom he had known, some of them had seen how their fallen, and shared a very little in their suffering. Some of them assembled there this afternoon had endured the waiting at home. He thought that the women who waited had had a worse time. Even than the men who went to fight.
But whether they shared in the suffering of campaigning or stayed at home and waited made little difference. They were gathered there with one thought in their hearts- the thought of the men were gone. Remember the cause, for which they lay down their lives; because of liberty, truth, and a better world, dying as they did for all that made life worth living.
Some of them who had been up and down France and Flanders knew what would have happened to their villages, and homes, and womenfolk in England, and not these gallant sacrifices being made. They, out an active service, used often to look back with longing to the land they had left, and hope when they saw the changes taking place in stricken France and Belgium, that they would ultimately return to their England to find it unchanged.
They returned and they found it just the same old England, untouched by fire, and sword, and death on that account all the more was it due from them to see that the war had not been fought in vain, and that the world should be a better world because of that five years sacrifice.
He would ask them then to remember the cause in which the battle. I´ve been for, and lastly that they should remember the way by which it had been one. There was only one way in which truth was vindicated, and that was by courage, obedience, sacrifice and death, union, brotherhood, and if need be – death.
In conclusion, he urged his hearing is not to let the great sacrifices be in vain. Stop these men had handed on the great trust. They should stand fast for their sick. The little children, hardly of the years of understanding, would ask the men and women. The reason for such assemblies as those. Be sure they could give them a clean, unsullied message – the message of the bloodstained cross of France and Flanders, of the sacrifice, of the pure unselfishness, of the glory and glamour and illumination of these their brethren stop they should dedicate themselves to God, prepared to run risks in life to help their fellow men.
“Today the hush is over all. There are all those men would have been amongst the first to be with, would have joined in this great Federation, but who are gone. We remember them will stop. May God have mercy upon them. To his care. We trust our brethren who have fallen.”
Dr McClure said that as the years went by the squalor, and horror, and pestilence of the last five years would fade away, but the example of self-sacrifice left by the men who went from Britain´s shores would live for ever
On the motion of Councillor Urch, seconded by Mr. Worsley, a vote of thanks was accorded to the speakers and all were desisted in other ways.
Bugler T.Ross sounded the “last post,” at the close.