Remembrance Festival 1936

kindly supplied by Cerrie Williams

Somerset County Herald, 21 November 1936





A demonstration of homage to the fallen was seen at Bridgwater on Sunday afternoon, when the annual Service of Remembrance for the British Lesion and ex-servicemen was held at St Mary’s Church. There was the customary parade of ex-Service men with the Mayor and Corporation and various organisations from the Town Hail, and the church was filled to overflowing, many people having to stand.


Large numbers of townspeople assembled In the streets to watch the procession, which included the Buglers of the 5th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry, the local territorials, nearly 250 ex-servicemen, members of the V.A D., a large number of members the Wornen’s Section of the British Legion, the St John Ambulance Division, the Fire Brigade, Chief Constable and Borough Police, Town Crier and Mace-bearers, church wardens, The Mayor (Alderman F.J.Reed) wearing his robes and chains, the Vicar (Preb. E.H. Hughes David), the Mayoress (Mrs Reed), the Town Clerk (Mr H.A. Clidero), the deputy Mayor (Alderman C. Bryer), Aldermen S. Berry and F.O. Symons and Mr W.H.J Masding, who wore their robes as ex-Mayors, Rev. R.G. Thomas (Mayor’s chaplain), magistrates, members and officials of the Town Council, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, and officers of thr Salvation Army.


An impressive service was conducted by the Vicar, who was accompanied by the Rev. P.M. Taylor (vicar of St John’s) and the Rev L.S. Thorp (curate).Following the presentation and dedication of  poppy wreaths, “Last Post” was sounded by the buglers, who later, after the singing of “O Valiant Hearts” blew “Reveille”. The Lesson was read by the Mayor, after which there was an anthem beautifully rendered by the choir


The Vicar (Rev E H. Hughes-Davies), in an address said to-day they looked upon the fallen as radiant spirits who reminded them of the good that was in the world who called them to be worthy of their nation and race. They were witnesses of the promise made by the living, to live for the ideals for which those men died. That day they also remembered these who were wounded and afflicted in that terrible experience, and of all ex-servicemen, who. though they perhaps bore no scar outwardly, yet bore an indelible mark on their souls and minds. He appealed to them not to forget the ex-servicemen, because they deserved everything that could be given to them.

That day more fervently than ever they prayed to God for “Peace in our time”. He need not describe to them the ghastliness of war and yet there were people in the world who seemed to despair another war. It seemed at times as if they had failed to realise their ideal that the last war was going to be the last of all. Let them all in their various spheres of life to do their utmost for the peace of the world.


As they looked around the world to-day they began to see that the great wars of the future would not he between nations probably, but between men in the nations between brothers. In Spain brother was fighting against brother in a war more ruthless and cruel than they had ever experienced. There was antagonism between two classes that could never be reconciled. They saw it Germany where the Fascists were to power, and also in Russia, where Communism, the other power, was supreme. Man lived in dread and fear of the power of his fellow man. At the same time secularism had spread among men. and from exulting to fear the love of God man went about in fear of his fellow man.


Their great Empire was unique in that hitherto the members of it had lived as members of one great family, Might God save them from the Hell that was raging in Spain and other European countries when class was set against class. Those who fell in the last war belonged to all classes, and It was there that he saw the salvation of the world. Unless they re-captured the vision of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of mam, there was no hope for the future of their civilisation.


The procession returned to the Town Hall where Alderman F.0. Symons, as president of the Bridgwater branch of the British Legion, expressed thanks to all who had taken part in the service, and announced that the amount realised to date from the sale of poppies In the town, was £346, an  increase of £34 on last year. He mentioned that no fewer than 364 Bridgwater men were killed In the War.

The Mayor paid tribute to the wonderful work of the ex-servicemen during the War, and of the British Legion, connection with benevolence. The Vicar announced that the collection at the service, on behalf of the Earl Haig Fund amounted to £20 5s.


In the evening the British Legion’s annual festival of remembrance was held in the Town Hall, which was crowded. The Comrades’ Orchestra, conducted by Mr Tom Bale. rendered a number of selections and also led the community singing of war-time choruses. Songs were sung by Mrs. P.J. Baker. Miss Vera Roe, Mrs. Galley, and Mr H Hawkins, and recitations were given by Miss Marion Norton, and Mr. Tom Davey. Lantern slides were shown of war scenes in France and Belgium, and the British leaders, and there were films of the British Legion rallies at Weston-super-Mare and Wells.

The ceremony of remembrance was very impressive. A large cross was let down on the stage and lighted, and there was a shower of 364 peppy petals, one for each Bridgwater man who fell in the War. Buglers of the 5th Somerset Light Infantry sounded the “Last Post” and “Reveille”, and the exhortation and response were given by Mr. A. Wevell and Alderman Symons respectively. An address, in which he paid tribute the fallen was given by the Rev P. M. Taylor.