Remembrance Day – Denaby – A Mystical Presence

November 1925

Mexborough and Swinton Times November 14, 1925

A Mystical Presence

The observance of this day appears to have taken a very strong hold on the community for when the parade moved from headquarters of the St John Ambulance Brigade in Denaby Main on Sunday morning it was about 300 strong. Headed by the Ambulance Band, the procession was made by members of the brigade with Nursing Sisters and members of the Denaby branch of the British Legion. When the procession arrived at All Saints practically all the unreserved portion was filled and before the service commenced extra seating accommodation had to be provided.

The vicar of Denaby (the Rev H Lee) conducted the service and an inspiring sermon was presented by the Rev. J. C. Mackinson, of Sheffield, from the text “Thou shall remember all the day the way which the Lord thy God led thee” (Deux viii, 2)

The preacher said that 3,000 years ago the Jews held a service like that one. On their way on the Promised Land Moses called them to a heap of stones, to show them where their father had fought and won a battle to make the way easier for them. Because of that block of stones men rose up, took courage and ceased complaining so we, next Wednesday in the sacred two minutes would be doing the same thing. We would be standing before War Memorials, thinking of those years gone by, using our memory.

And what would we be thinking? The past and the future were bound up in that two minutes.

What would be remembered? The ghastliness, horror, bloodiness and suffering of war.

Would it do any good to remember? Yes, if it brought into our heads the idea that war did not really pay, that the victors were really losers.

Many would think of the vacant chair, but that would be hopeless unless the vision extended beyond the lonely grave’s overseas.

When the war broke out people came helpless to church for player. In the trenches mended what they had forgotten to at home, pray. On Armistice Day there was a mystical presence, we were in the hands of the mighty power. The Houses of Parliament suspended their system went to St Margaret’s Westminster. God was then remembered.

We should remember the brotherhood of the trenches. Men were not filling their own pockets. Not having a good time. The week were being oppressed. Principal and ideals were being fought for. It was seven years since the devil of greed, selfishness and cruelty was cast out.

We were deceived: it was not cast out, it was still here. There was war ahead between class and class, party and party, church and church. We became materialists. God was all right for the crisis of life, but He could be left out of the humdrum things. Was the blackness of war to be let loose again? The war was won, but not the peace, God was to be thanked for the great victory of Locarno.

Too much was left to the government to put right. Too little was taken on the shoulders of the individuals, and no treaties would bring peace if the individuals believed in grab. Lighter ideals and personal possession would bring lasting peace. Religion must be brought into it. Prayer was practical, trying to see the world as God saw it.

Moral courage was often as difficult as physical courage, and we were called on to carry on by the departed. We should leave our children a brighter inheritance and show them the way to the promised land. The only thing to replace the horrors of war was a cross of sacrifice and service and we should go out into the world to bear the cross and fight and work.

The congregation feelingly sang that Remembrance Hymn “the great sacrifice” and then the service was adjourned to the churchyard where the hymn “O God our help” was sung. Addressing the gathering crowds Officer W. Still said they were there to do homage to those who gave their lives in the cause of liberty. For four long years death had stalked among every family in the land but right had triumphed over might at a terrible cost as the thousands of graves in Flanders would testify.

After the Armistice the best of our surviving manhood was prematurly aged. When the Armistice was signed there was a great wave of rejoicing. But this had given way to a sense of duty to those who gave and one Sunday a year was given up to the praise of our glorious dead.

Wreaths were laid at the foot of the Memorial on behalf of the Nursing Sisters and the Ambulance Division, and the members of the British Legion. The “Last Post” and the “Reveille” were sounded.