The Unveiling of the War Memorial

On Sunday 27th July 1919, a memorial service was held in St Andrew’s church to commemorate the men who had died in the service of their country and to dedicate the private family memorial tablets around the church. Once again, the service was described in the local newspaper:

Memorial Service at Melton A memorial service was held on Sunday last in St Andrew’s Church, Melton, for those who have fallen in the war, and the occasion was taken for the dedication of memorial tablets which have been placed in the church by their relatives. On the tablets appear the particulars of each man. The leaflets showing the order of service also contained the names of the 40 dead (and one missing) with the heading “Greater love hath no man than this, to lay down his life for his friends.”

The hymns (332, 264, 537, and 266: Ancient and Modern; Psalms (23, 46 and 130); lessons (Wisdom of Solomon iii 1-6 and Revelations xxi 1-5) were all of the highest appropriateness, and the large congregation was deeply impressed by the spiritual intensity of the service.

A collection was taken for St Dunstan’s Hostel for blinded soldiers. The list of the above 41 men read by the Rector (who took the service throughout) and the Nunc Dimittis gave the solemn service a fitting end.

After several parish meetings held to discuss a permanent memorial to the fallen of the village, a committee was convened to oversee the project. Members of the committee were: 

Chairman: Arthur Turnour Murray of Red Towers, Barrister.
Secretary &Treasurer: Richard Bentham, Schoolmaster.
Revd. J H Orpen, Rector.
Colonel Charles & Mrs Theresa Gall of Oak Cottage.
Captain Bateman Hope.
Mrs Enid Sulivan of Fernhill House.
Mr William and Mrs Maud Bradley of Foundry House: agricultural implement maker and church warden.
Joseph Bilby of Park View: builder.
Henry Gaffney of The Beeches, head steward at St Audry's.
Arthur Hayward of Mill House: mill owner.
George Lloyd of Alma Cottage: domestic gardener.
Philip Pratt of Lodge Farm: farmer.
Isaac Read of Holly Cottage: gardener at Melton Lodge.  

The members of the committee represented a broad spectrum of life in the village. Messrs Lloyd, Read and Turnour Murray had all lost family members on active service.

The unveiling and dedication of the war memorial took place in bright sunshine on the afternoon of Sunday 1 February 1920. The proceedings began with a service in the church, included an address given by The Rev Canon C D'Aguilar Lawrence, retired Archdeacon of Suffolk. Clergy, choir and members of the congregation then assembled around the memorial to hear prayers of dedication and witness the unveiling of the cross by Major John Bowring. Once more the Woodbridge Reporter and Wickham Market Gazette recorded the proceedings: 

Over eighty men who had served during the war attended the unveiling of the War Memorial at St Andrew’s Church on 1st February 1920.

In Memory of Melton Heroes

 Impressive Service

“Something attempted, something done Has earned a night’s response” So sang Longfellow in his splendid pen picture of the dignity of labour and the correlation of rest, duty and reward.


And if these words are not actually on the war cross that was unveiled in Melton churchyard on Sunday last they seemed to become part and parcel of the service from the fact that their strain ran right through Cannon Lawrence’s inspiring sermon.


The Melton War Memorial is now an accomplished fact, and the unveiling and dedication on Sunday last concluded the labours of a committee which has striven hard to interpret faithfully the wishes of the parish as expressed at parish meetings. Two committees have been in existence. The first was appointed to carry matters up to a certain stage, and then another smaller one (consisting of the members of the original body) to complete the work. The committee was made up of Mr A Turnour Murray (Chairman), Rev H J Orpen, and Messrs J T Bilby, H Gaffney, and P P Pratt, with Mr R Bentham as hon. Secretary and treasurer.


Many meetings have been held by the committee, and very serious thought has been paid to all details, and it must be a great satisfaction to its members to learn that, at the opening ceremony, the design and arrangement of the memorial met with general approval.


It might be stated here that the parish decided to place all the surplus money to the credit of the County War Memorial Fund, and that £110 will be sent to the Treasurer of that Fund.


Designs and estimates for the cross were obtained from several firms, and ultimately the order was given to Messrs. Alec MacDonald and Co London and Aberdeen, for the following – Cross 6ft 6in long by 2ft 2in across the arms, shaft 12 in tapering to 9in thick; pedestal 3ft 3in square by 2ft 8in high; base 4ft quare and 10in high; total height10ft, in light grey hard Cornish granite, finish all rustic (or rough hewn) except 4 fine-axed sunk panels for the inscription; the letters to be engraved and inlaid with lead (the actual metal) and subsequently painted black, the lead being slightly raised beyond the surface of the granite. As a matter of fact the original order was for three panels, but it was found, that with the dedication inscription on the front panel a fourth became necessary to carry the names of the 41 men to whom homage was done on Sunday. It is a matter for congratulation that unanimity prevailed in the parish in the choice of site, the grass plot in front of St Andrew’s Church making an ideal position. The fact that the monument is within the precincts of the church will tend to perpetuate the present reverential feeling towards it; the proximity to the church door will enforce a weekly homage from all who attend the parish church; and the nearness to the road makes it conspicuous to passers-by. The fixing of the cross was completed on January 23rd, and the Committee then met and placed final arrangements in the hands of the Rector (the Rev. J H Orpen) and Mr Murray. 

A copy of the programme for the unveiling of the War Memorial at
St Andrew’s Church Melton.


The interest in the dedication ceremony was so great, and the weather so beautiful on Sunday afternoon, that the accommodation in the church was not sufficient, although extra seats were found. Ex-Servicemen, to the number of about 80, paraded in front of the church and then marched inside to places specially reserved for them. A detachment of Girl Guides was also present, and similar accommodation was provided for them. 


The service was most impressive. It could hardly be otherwise, for the words of the prayers which are found suitable on ordinary occasions seemed to be accompanied by a much deeper significance on great occasions. In this case the atmosphere was naturally filled with thoughts of our dead, and words and phrases became endowed with a living meaning. “There is a green hill far away”, “Brief life is here our portion”, “Jesu, lover of my soul”, and “O God, our Help in ages past” were part of the framework of a service that will be long remembered.


The Canon C D Lawrence gave an address based on Amos viii 8, “Shall not the land tremble for this – and everyone that mourneth therein?” [I think this should be: “Shall not the land tremble for this, and everyone mourn who dwelleth therein?] He recalled the magnificent response of our young men to the call of duty, the hurried training, and often the quick death. 


Facts rebutted the idea that we were a decadent race. If victory could not restore the dead it was only right to remember that the sacrifices had not been in vain. The dedication service was due to a desire to keep memory green, and for those who came after. He referred to the fact that Melton’s proportion of the dead was unusually high, but there had been left behind the in-estimable advantage of example.


Awaiting the conclusion of the service in the church was a big crowd, and the sight from near the cross when all had been formed into one whole was a very inspiring one. Major J F E Bowring (The Cedars, Melton) unveiled the Cross over which the Union Jack had been placed. Addressing the gathering and speaking on behalf of the returned servicemen, Major Bowring said that it was not on active service that one felt most acutely the pangs of death and severance from friends. It was when one came home and realised the gaps that would never again be filled that the bitterness was keenly felt. He urged the men to remember that they had been spared to carry on their duty, and if this were done those whose memories they were there to honour would not have died in vain. The “Last Post” concluded an impressive ceremony.


Many beautiful floral tributes were placed by relatives on the base of the Cross. The dedication inscription is as follows – To the Glory of God, and the undying memory of the men of this parish who gave their lives for King and country in the Great War, 1914-1919 “lest we forget”. 



The names inscribed on the panels are alphabetically arranged. They are –


Alfred Adams, Ernest Adams, William Ambrose, Arthur Athroll, Gordon Branton, Rupert Bartlett, Charles Buxton, Claude Cale, Percy Chandler, Charles Cone, Samuel Froment, Noel Garrod, Thomas Garrod, Basil Garrod, Alfred Holmes, William Holton, Frederick King, Charles Lloyd, Frank Lloyd, Henry Lloyd, Major Major, James Markham, Patrick Murray, Alfred Paddy, Edward Rapley, Stanley Read, Charles Richardson, Samuel Sawyer, George Scogings, Arthur Seaborn, Edward Shemmings, Cecil Skoulding, Thomas Smith, Frederick Sutton, George Walford, Alexander Walford, William Wiffen, Lewis Iron Side Wood, Charles Woodrow, Thomas Woolley and William Woolnough.


Sir Archibald Garrod K.C.M.G. and Lady Garrod were unavoidably prevented from attending the ceremony.”


The names of Richard, Geoffrey and Robert Wood were added to the War Memorial at a later date.