Commemoration of start of WW I

On the 4th August there was a short service to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the start of the Great War (First World War) at 11am at the Laindon War Memorial, it included prayers, hymns, songs of the time, a poem and was officiated by Reverend Colin Hopkinson. Refreshments were available at the Manor Mission afterwards.

Similar services were held at the same time at other war memorials around the borough.

If you have passed the memorial recently you would have seen that the Love Laindon project have done a great job clearing the gardens around the memorial and the council have been repairing the paths and brick walls.

A Roll of Honour binder of the district produced by Basildon Borough Heritage was presented at the service.


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  • Embodied and disembodied were valid terms used in army records.  It was mainly used in relation to the Territorials.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (19/09/2014)
  • The main reason for Winston Churchill to have written Rupert Brooke’s obituary was to commemorate his fame as a poet. Clearly this would have had a tremendous effect and boost on morale in those difficult times. There were two young British composers who were also pallbearers at Brooke’s funeral on the island of Skyros in 1915: Frederick Septimus Kelly (1881–1916) and the musician W. Denis Browne (1888–1915). Both were friends of Brooke, and both later died in the war.

    By Richard Haines (30/08/2014)
  • My Father, Alexander Norman served in 2nd Essex from Aug 1914 until he was “Demobbed” in 1919. In the early 1920s he and the family ran a haberdashery shop in Nightingale Parade, Langdon Hills, moving to Worthing Road in 1936, the year before I was born.

    The Essex survivors made a pledge that they would not burden their families with the horrors of war, but would only tell the “funny bits”.  I have gathered together the stories I heard as a child and they have now been published. The book is called “Tales from the Trenches” by Mary Cole and is available from Lulu.

    You will be getting a copy, Ken, just as soon as my next order arrives. Any profit from this book will be divided between Laindon British Legion (my Fathers Charity) and Swansea Safe Haven RSPCA Centre (my choice in memory of our diabetic cats).

    By Mary Cole (29/08/2014)
  • From Mary’s husband Derek Cole. 

    Winston Churchill, who wrote Rupert Brook’s Times obituary, certainly regarded him as a war casualty. He ordered his plane flying back from Yalta in 1944 to circle Skyros in tribute. The future General Freyberg V.C. was one of the pall-bearers at Rupert Brook’s funeral. Until the introduction of penicillin, disease was the major cause of army deaths in war. A substantial but unknown percentage of those in Commonwealth War Graves and on the war memorials will have died from disease incurred while on army service.

    Japanese historians reckon they lost the pacific war to bulldozers – and penicillin.

    By Mary Cole (29/08/2014)
  • We have a card dated Jan 1919 that my Father was “disembodied” I quite agree that “demobbed” sounds better!

    By M (29/08/2014)
  • With respect, may I correct a couple of things mentioned in Richard Haines posting of 04/08/2014.

    1. Rupert Brooke did indeed see active service. Within a few weeks of the outbreak of war he joined the Royal Naval Division as an officer and saw action at the battle of Antwerp in October 1914. This battle was lost and he and many others suffered a painful retreat before finally reaching safety in Bruges.

    2. The official definition of war casualties is not limited to those who die in action. It also includes those killed in accidents and those who die from an illness or virtually any reason while in uniform. Thus Rupert Brooke is indeed a war casualty. As Richard says he died from an infection caused by an insect bite in April 1915. He died in the Mediterranean expecting to be involved in the Gallipoli landings. I do not consider it misleading to include him as a war casualty.

    By Alan Davies (05/08/2014)
  • My mother Jessica Devine was born in Bethnal Green on 8th July 1914.  One month later her father, Henry Richard Devine joined the Royal Fusiliers and by November he was in the trenches in France where he spent the next two terrible years. 

    He was shot twice, sent to hospital, patched up and sent straight back into the fray.  A third shot fractured his skull and he was sent home in 1916 with a metal plate in the head and terrible shell shock.  On arriving home, he had forgotten that he had a baby daughter.  He was one of the lucky ones that survived the war but his experiences continued to affect him and his small daughter who was terrified by the violent tremors of the shell shock that he suffered for many years.

    He moved his family to Laindon in 1923, where my mother and her two younger brothers attended Dunton School which they accessed by walking across the fields.  By 1927 he had joined the GPO and worked as a Laindon postman for 25 years until 1952.  He died in 1961 aged 68.

    My grandfather never spoke about the ‘great war’ to me.  What I have learned was told to me by my mother and grandmother, including the fact that he’d hated being constantly ‘lousy’ while in the trenches.

    I will be burning a single candle at 10 pm this evening in his memory and that of his comrades, many of whom didn’t survive.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (04/08/2014)
  • Nina that’s a good memory you have of a brave grandfather, so many did not return at all. My own grandfather, George Haines was an eighteen year old fireman on the London Brighton and South Coast Railway running out of Victoria Station. A terrifically busy job starting in 1914, handling thousands of troop movements through to the end of WW1. One memory he told me about was a young soldier handing him a coin, thanking him for a safe ride down to the troop ships, lets hope he made it home again.

    By Richard Haines (04/08/2014)
  • To say that Rupert Brooke was a casualty of the war is somewhat misleading. According to history, until his death Brooke had few other subjects than his youth to write about. The rest was sentiment and he never was a soldier-hero because he died from complications following an insect bite before he saw active service. However I have an original copy of ‘The complete works of Rupert Brooke’ containing a superb photograph of him taken in 1913. His works are divided 1905-1908/1908-1911 and 1911-1914, the poem quoted by Alan Davis being his best and most well known. Indeed a fabulous poem learnt by LHR students under Mr Rosen.

    By Richard Haines (04/08/2014)
  • To me nothing evokes the self sacrifice and courage of those young men of yesteryear more than Rupert Brooke’s poem “The Soldier” published in 1914. Brooke was a casualty of the war and died in 1915.

    If I should die, think only this of me:

    That there’s some corner of a foreign field

    That is forever England. There shall be

    In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;

    A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,

    Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,

    A body of England’s, breathing English air,

    Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.


    And think, this heart, all evil shed away,

    A pulse in the eternal mind no less

    Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;

    Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;

    And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,

    In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

    I imagine that at some of the many such commemorations throughout the land, this poem will be read.

    By Alan Davies (22/07/2014)

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