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Location:Town Hall
OS Map Ref:SU471671
Description:Gilded wood tablet
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In memory of the men of this Church who gave / their lives in the Great War 1914-1918
Harry Allen
Henry T Barrett
Willm C Bellinger
J Bellinger
A Corderoy
Jesse Buxcey
W H Giles
George Eaton
Alfred Goodyear
F J Hayward
Percy Hester
John O Nash
Walter H Palmer
Frederick J Preston
Douglas Salway
George Smart
Reginald Swatton
John Wheeler
Edward Willis
Fred Woodley
Gordon Harris
E Giles
A J Smith
G Herbert
A F King
W W Pettifer
H Shaw
A Swain
W F Whiley
Holy is the true light and passing wonderful, lending radiance to them / that endured in the heat of the conflict: from Christ they inherit a home / of fading splendour, wherein they rejoice with gladness evermore.

What the papers said:

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Newbury URC Church War Memorial – Dedication Service, 18 Jul 1920.
Newbury Weekly News, 22 July 1920



Tablet unveiled in Congregational Church

In memory of 24 of their number, who gave their lives for their King and Country in the Great War, a memorial tablet was unveiled in the Congregational Church on Sunday morning. There was a very large congregation present at the service, which was impressive and inspiring, and the Pastor, the Rev A H Fowler, MA, in a beautiful address, based on the symbolic meaning of the memorial, paid a tribute to the glorious dead, and pointed the lessons which their heroism and self-sacrifice taught.

A Striking Memorial

The memorial is a most artistic conception, the work of Mr W Henry Gore, a member of the congregation. The tablet, which is affixed to the south wall of the church, is of solid mahogany, gilded with English gold. Drawn in firm outline is a female figure, whose pose is taken from Watts' great picture, "Love and Death." Her head is bowed, and her outstretched hand draws on one side the draperies, revealing the names of the fallen; beyond the bowed and noble figure are seen the rays of the rising sun. Strength and simplicity characterise the design, and it is certainly one of the most beautiful and arresting of the war memorials in the district. Above the names is the following inscription: "In memory of the men of this Church who gave their lives in the great war, 1914-1918." The come the following names:

Harry Allen, Henry T Barrett, Fred J Bellinger, J Bellinger, Jesse Buxcey, George Eaton, Alfred Goodyear, E Giles, W H Giles, Gordon Harris, F J Hayward, Percy Hester, W King, John O Nash, Walter H Palmer, Frederick J Preston, Douglas Salway, George Smart, A J Smith, Reginald Swatton, John Wheeler, Edward Willis, Frank Whiley.

Engraved at the foot of the panel are the following words: "Holy is the true light and passing wonderful, lending radiance to them that endured in the heart of the conflict; from Christ they inherit a home of unfading splendour, wherein they rejoice with gladness evermore."

The names of the fallen were read by the Pastor, the congregation standing, and then the tablet was unveiled by Mr Harry Allen and Mr A B Smith, both of whom have lost boys. The followed prayer for the nation, and a few moments of silence, and before the address, the hymn, "For all the saints" was sung.

A Thoughtful Address

In the course of his address, the Pastor said they were met there that morning to keep the memory of those of their number who gave their lives in the Great War. Though they were gone hence and were no more seen, yet never were they hearer to their hearts than now. They went forth simply and naturally to do their duty, not thinking very much about it, except that it was their duty. They felt the inspiration of a great cause. They were ready to endure things unspeakable, yea, even to the giving of life itself. Words could not say what they thought of them, or tell of the sorrow and pride, the humility and joy which was in their hearts to-day. The truest memorial they could ever raise was this: "That they live in our hearts, and that we are the purer and better for their sake." And yet they would like in their own church and home to have some tangible remembrance of them; something of simplicity and beauty which should catch the eye, and sent their thoughts straight to them as day by day they hallowed their memory in their hearts.

The Mood of the Nation

So, to-day, they had set in their church that memorial tablet. If they looked at it long and quietly it would have been much to say to them. See that strong figure with bowed head and outstretched arm, what a picture it was of the mood of their nation during the years of war. The head was bowed with grief - a solemn grief - that those things should be, that war such as that should arise among mankind. Yet it was a grief tinged with awe at such a nobility of sacrifice, and so large a fellowship of sorrowing hearts. It was a grief which hid its pain, for the face, wherein the expression of the soul lies, was hidden. There was but one thing it did show, the names of the men made immortal by their sacrifice. For the strong arm bore away the drapery of life and revealed the names of the men they knew and loved, as they were at their best, in the one great act of sacrifice. That indeed should endure when the horror of war was forgotten. Look again at the figure. What strength, what expression there was in that back, that bowed head. It made them feel the inevitableness, the sense of destiny in it all.

Men Who Hated War

Men went forth to fight who hated war, yet, things being what they were, they could do no other. There was no joy of battle here, no thought of Empire. There was no garland upon the head - it lies low. That garland was a tribute of their love and pride, and yet they only dared to set it in a lowly place, at the feet. The issue was too great for human praise or honour. It was beyond all such things. But this was not the whole picture. Look once more, and see above and beyond that bowed and yet noble figure the rays of the rising sun, the promise of a new heaven and a new earth, the sign of the victory of God, and of goodness which soon or late will come. See, too, in that rising sun a token with which God crowns His faithful servants, even those who have come through tribulation and anguish. This new day humanity cannot see with mortal eye. The head of the figure was bowed. She did not see the dawn, but with resolute purpose she turned towards it, apprehending it by faith, content to press on till it be won. But the dawn was there, shining above the murk and gloom of earthly things.

The New Day

The new day for which men had striven would come. No true sacrifice was ever without avail in God's world. Even now, what these men did was having its influence upon them. Their reay obedience to the call of duty, their faithfulness even unto death quickened like qualities in them. They would be base indeed were they not purged of some of their selfishness by their sacrifice. These men had left them a heritage of honour. They died to open the way for a better and truer life for all men. It was theirs to enter into that heritage, and with the same loyalty to duty and the same willing sacrifice to build the city of God in this their land. For, as Wordsworth said: "There is by one great society in heaven and on earth, the noble living and the noble dead." And the more truly they followed the path of duty themselves, the nearer were they to those who trod it before them. The new and the greater day would come. In the long last, the victory would be with Christ. For those who endured and died in the strength of Christ, that day was already theirs. They had entered into the victorious life of the risen Lord. In conclusion, said the preacher, to-day we look beyond the grief and the struggle to the clear shining of the eternal light, and rest our minds on those true and noble words which are engraved at the foot of the panel: "Holy is the true light and passing wonderful, lending radiance to them that endured in the heart a home of unfading splendour, wherein they rejoice with gladness evermore."

At the conclusion of the service, an offertory in aid of St Dunstan's was taken up, and the service closed with the singing of the hymn, "Crown him with many crowns," and the Benediction.

[We understand that the list of names is not yet complete, and that others are to be added to the tablet.]

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