|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 13th November 1931, transcribed by Jim Hollis
All The Local Armistice Day Services
Remembrance Gatherings at Rushden
Appeals for Cause of World Peace
In common with all other centres, large and small, throughout the country, Armistice Remembrance Services were held in the district on Wednesday, and there were also several united gatherings on Sunday.
Largely attended, and marked by a spirit of deep reverence, the services proved that WE DO NOT FORGET.
Memorial Service at Rushden
For some time before the service commenced, the crowd slowly gathered and wreaths were laid at the base of the Memorial, and shortly after half-past ten the congregation crowded the footpath and road in front of the Green and many had a vantage point in the churchyard overlooking the scene.
The Rushden Mission band was in attendance, and the service opened with the hymn “O God, our help in ages past,” after which followed the General Thanksgiving, in which the whole congregation joined. Prayers for Peace in the world and for the British Empire were said by the Rector, and Major Dant, of the Rushden Salvation Army, read the 46th Psalm.
The large congregation then listened to an appeal to all to work on behalf of peace, and in this fulfil their obligations to those who laid down their lives in the Great War.
The Rev. Gill said: “We join together this morning in the next few moments with a vast assembly throughout this country, but not only an assembly throughout Great Britain but throughout the whole of the British Empire, and indeed throughout the whole wide world, in returning thanks to God and in holding in glad and loving remembrance those men who gave their lives for us in the Great War.
“To-day we are going to remember not only those of our own nationality and people, but we are going to remember those on the continent, those who were our late enemies, all mankind throughout the whole wide world, of every clime and colour who died that we might live. To-day our thoughts go back thirteen years, and we remember eleven o-clock on November 11th 1918, we remember, just where we were; some were at home in the town, some on the high seas, some on distant shores, and in foreign fields, and we remember the relief we felt, and the escape of pent-up feelings that had been repressed for four years of warfare. We remember the hopes we cherished, and to-day, after thirteen years, we recall those memories and revive those hopes, and remember those who gave their lives. We think of the four horrid years of war, of their bitterness and bloodshed, and this morning we shall think of the men who went out, some with us, we with them, those who went out and came not back. We remember the high idealism that called them forth; we are always going to believe that they went forth at the call of duty, of idealism, in defence of truth, righteousness and holy liberty. No words can express that sentiment better than those of Lawrence Binyon’s:-
“I want us to remember this morning, as we think of individuals, and of their great sacrifice, to keep vividly in our minds that they went forth for an ideal. The ideal things of life are the real things, although they may seem to be like phantoms before us, and we appear to be on a will-o’-the-wisp chase. Yet they are the only things that matter, and the trouble in the world to-day, industrially, nationally and internationally, is due to the gulf between the ideal and the actual. Those men, our friends, comrades, loved ones, who went forth from 1914 to 1918 went in response to and in fulfilment of a great ideal. But their ideal has not yet become actual; they went believing they were engaged in a war to end war, to lay the foundation of a new England, and a new world, and they went for the cause of peace.
“But what do we find throughout the world to-day? There are several threatening situations, and we have only to look at the continent or
out to the East to find many things which give pain and fear. We have not obliterated war; we have not made good the peace which these men died to bring about. The trouble is that we have all been a little bit selfish since 1918; we have looked after our own interests; all of us have forgotten, and have not given ourselves unreservedly for the cause of peace, truth, and righteousness.
“I recently went to a cinema and saw a war film, and sat near some young lads, and when the shells were bursting, and aeroplanes colliding in the air, they cheered and got really enthusiastic about it. They had not been in the war, or they would not have done that. You know the tragedy and bitterness of it, but there is growing up a generation which does not realise the horrors of war and the un-Christian forces that appear in war as well as the spirit of self-sacrifice. Young people who do not realise, look upon war as an exiting thing, and it is up to you and me, who stand between those who lie in Flanders’ fields and the generation growing up around us, who do not know the bitterness of these things to train and instruct the younger people in the cause of peace, and so fulfil our obligations to those who died, a vast army from every country, who gave their lives on our behalf. I want us to consecrate ourselves to the cause of right, and goodwill.”
As the church clock struck the hour of eleven all became silent and the thoughts of all were concentrated reverently on the solemn anniversary, and all that it implies to each one. Two minutes of complete silence at what is normally one of the busiest hours of the day; silence in the knowledge that in countries in all parts of the world the same silence is being observed, and the same appeal being made that there shall be no more war. A wonderful moment, religiously observed.
Prayer, lead by the Rev. T. S. Stoney followed, the congregation joining in the Lord’s Prayer, after which the hymn “Praise, my soul, the King of heaven” was sung.
Wreaths were then place on the Memorial, the first being laid by Mr. L. Perkins on behalf of the Rushden Urban District Council. Then followed tributes from the Men’s Section of the Rushden Branch of the British Legion, laid by Mr. H. Upton (a badly disabled war veteran); the Women’s Section of the Branch, laid by Mrs. Okey, and Mrs. Walter Robinson laid a wreath on behalf of the ladies of the local Poppy Day Committee.
The Last Post and the Reveille were sounded by Mr. M. J. Roberts (Rushden Town Band), and Mr. C. Keys, after which the Rector pronounced the benediction, and the service concluded with the National Anthem.
Amongst those present were Messrs. L. Perkins, M.B.E., J.P., B.Sc., (chairman of the Rushden Urban Council), J. Roe, (vice-chairman), J. Allen, G. W. Coles, J.P., J. Spencer, J.P., T. Swindall, F. Green, T. Wilmott, A. Wilmott, J. Richardson, C. W. Horrell, C.A., D. G. Greenfield, M.D., (President of the Rushden Branch of the British Legion), W. E. Capon, C. Claridge, G. S. Mason (Clerk to the Council), W. L. Beetenson, J. W. Lloyd (Surveyor), F. S. F. Piper (Sanitary Inspector), H. Lack (Rating Officer), and member of the staff at the Council Offices.
Other Free Church ministers present were the Rev. J. W. Brough (Park Road Wesleyan Church), Rev. E. E. Bromage (Wellingborough-road Mission Church), Rev. Keeler (High-street Independent Wesleyan Church), Rev. W. R. Leaton (Congregational Church),
Inspector Knight, Sergeant Brown and P.C. Nicholls represented the Police, and officials of the Rushden Branch of the British Legion (Men’s and Women’s Sections), were also in attendance.