Remembrance Day – Conisborough – Moving Spectacle – Eloquent Tributes

November 1925

Mexborough and Swinton Times November 14, 1925

A Moving Spectacle
Eloquent Tributes

The parade of Conisborough’s Remembrance Day was really the largest since the instituition of this day. The procession was formed up in Brook Square on Sunday afternoon and consisted of the Conisborough branch of the British Legion, the Conisbrough Ambulance Division, under Superintendent C Farrell, the Nursing Sisters under Mrs Troughton, the Old Ivanhoe Lodge, R. A. O. H., Boy Scouts and Girl Guides.

Headed by the Conisborough Subscription Band, the route to Coronation Park was via Sheffield Road, Park Road, Church Street and Castle Hill.

Despite the cold weather a large congregation awaiting their coming. The procession marched past the Memorial and grouped itself around the base.

A player by the Rev. J. L. Crawford, Wesleyan Minister was followed by the hymn “Oh God Our Help”

Coun. Irad Webster, chairman of the War Memorial committee, said he desired to thank the British Legion for continuing these parades and all lovers who would assisted in keeping green the hallowed memory of our honoured dead. He briefly desired to draw attention to what we were asked to do on Wednesday morning at 11 o’clock, to keep the silence in meditation, what should be our thoughts at that period?

First we should think of our fellow heroes. Chiefly those whose names were engraved on that memorial. We should see in the mind’s eye thousands of graves on foreign soil. Those who had visited the battlefields would recall the devastation that was seen. We should think of the thousands of bereaved homes and should realise what a horrible thing war was.

He asked the congregation to think of the end of the war. How on August 6, 1918, the Nation and Empire joined in prayer and how the answers came on September 30 Bulgaria unconditionally surrendered, on October 30 Turkey did likewise, on November 3 Austria cried “enough” and on November 10 Germany asked for the end. And how on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour piece again came to the earth with the triumph on right and justice.

It was not for him to dwell on the problems and the unrealised hopes of the peace, but he hoped that the silver lining was showing and that the Great Sacrifice had not been in vain.

This was what he asked, and in closing asked the congregation to carry away in their minds the immortal lines of Colonel John McCrae, who laid down his life in 1918,

”In Flanders fields,”

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

And two verses from Lawrence Binyon’s poem “for the fallen.”

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

The Rev. J. L. Crawford said that all could endorse and say “amen” to Coun Webster speech. It was a good thing that the British Legion was backing up that service. If “Bonfire Day” could be kept then more so should this day be kept, which brought peace out of the Great War.

He hoped that these annual services would never be discontinued. It was so easy to forget, public memory was very short lived, he recalled Kipling’s lines:

O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, go away”;
But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play

We must not forget how they all came at the call and we must not forget the great ideals of the years of the war. We were told to go and fight for justice, liberty, right and freedom against despotism. We most not forget those placards of the war days we should be condemned as hypocrites if we fought for justice and freedom abroad and allowed slavery and oppression here. We must stand for justice and freedom against oppression and selfishness.

At last after seven years got something like a piece. We ought to be thankful for Locarno. War could never bring peace. And lasting peace can only be obtained at the conference table with reason predominating. Jealousy, hatred, malice and suspicion created the atmosphere of war. We should cherish the right feelings. Out of the evil thoughts of men came the Great War. Neil that the services will be continued through all the years to come.

On behalf of the British Legion Mr W Crabtree placed a series of Flanders poppies at the base of the monument. He was followed by superintendent C.Farrell who deposited the wreath of the Ambulance Brigade. Those added to the profusion of tokens around the Memorial for there had been a steady stream of mourners with flowers during the time preceding the service.

All heads were uncovered while the band played the “Dead March” in Saul. After the “Last Post” by Mr H. Ross, the reveille” was sounded, and the hymn “Abide with me” was sung.