Dedication of the Gas Works War memorial

From Co-partnership Journal 1926

War Memorial at East Greenwich.

Those who have occasion to along Ordnance Road may have noticed the recent improvements effected by the laying out of the land between Blakeley Buildings and Blakeley Cottages with ornamental grounds. At the end of the enclosure nearest to the Works entrance there is a flight of semi-circular steps, at the top of which has been placed a monolith of grey Aberdeen granite bearing the names of East Greenwich men who fell in the Great War. This memorial will be unveiled by the President in the afternoon of Saturday, September 18, and dedicated by the Lord Bishop of Southwark. It was a thought to associate the remembrance or “the glorious dead” with grounds in which those who are left can walk and learn lessons of hope from flowers and ??. The message of nature is always one of hope – the passing of autumn and winter to give place to the resurgent life of spring and the glory Of Summer.

————

On the afternoon of Saturday. September 18, there was a large gathering or co-partners and relatives of fallen co-partners to witness the ceremony of unveiling and dedicating the granite monolith which bears the names of those co-partners who went from the East Greenwich group of works and died in the service of King and Country.
The quadrangle outside the Cottage Entrance Gates has been laid out with great taste and forms a notable improvement to the neighbourhood. Flower beds relieve the gravelled enclosure and garden benches are provided for the rest of those who resort to this charming open space. The monolith stands on a base at the head of a semicircular flight of steps and is the prominent feature of the grounds. It is of polished Aberdeen granite. and the inscription over the list of names reads ‘TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND THE GRATEFUL MEMORY OF THOSE EMPLOYEES OF THE SOUTH METROPOLITAN GAS COMPANY ATTACHED TO EAST GREENWICH, PHOENIX WHARF AND ORDNANCE WHARF WORKS, WHO, IN RESPONSE TO THE CALL OF THEIR KING AND COUNTRY, SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES DURING THE GREAT WAR.”
The dedication was attended by the Mayor of Greenwich and the Mayoress, the Member of Parliament for the Division, Sir George Hume (Chairman of the London County Council) and Miss Madeleine Bell, J.P., L.C.C. as well as by Directors of the Company, the General Manager and chief officers, and a large number of officers and employees. Special seats were reserved for the relatives of the men to whom the memorial has been raised. A guard of honour was provided by the 802 Company, Anti Aircraft Battalion, R.X. (T.) under the command. of Lieut Lewis (??). The Company’s Military Band was in attendance, and the Choral Society led the singing.
At half past three o’clock the Lord Bishop of Southwark accompanied by the Rev. F. Challenor (??) (Vicar of St Andrew with St Michael), the Rev. H.P. Crabbe (??) (Vicar of St. Peter, Bromley, and Rural Dean), and the Rev. Duffill (??) (Vicar of Christ Church), and attended by his Domestic Chaplain, the Rev. G. S. Rooper, (??) ??? the Mayor of Greenwich to the dais, the Band playing ?? “Blest are the departed.”
The proceedings commenced with the singing of the hymn “God, our help in ages past,” after which the Rev. Challenor said the opening sentences and read the names out of 79 (??) fallen co-partners. After an interval of silence the Choral Society sang the anthem “Sleep thy last sleep,” and a commendatory prayer was said.
The President then unveiled the memorial stone by releasing the Union Jack which draped it, and the “Last Post” was sounded.
The Bishop or Southwark then dedicated the memorial, and afterwards there was sung the anthem, “Comes at times a ???? of even.”
The Bishop afterwards addressed the assembly. We are indebted to the Kentish Mercury for the following summary of his Lordship’s address: –
“He mentioned that it was barely eight years since the guns ceased firing and peace was proclaimed. Yet we had passed through thrilling times which had engaged the attention of the statesmen of the world and had affected the lives and happiness of millions. Memory was short and fleet, and there was a danger lest the interest, the experience and the excitement of the times should ?? us to regard the Great War as an event of long ago, simply occupying a place in the pages of history. It was, therefore, only right that from time to time we should solemnly call to memory those who laid down their lives for a great and noble cause. Although peace-loving citizens they were suddenly called forth to face the terrible ordeal of war. As we thought of them we thought of the cause for which they died. During the War we heard phrases like these ” The last war,” “The war which will end wars,” ‘ The war which will make a better world “-and as we looked back we felt that so far many of our hopes had been unfulfilled. We thought that was ?? due to the fact that we ?? when the War finished, that the fight had been won. We had failed to realise that that was but one great stage of theatre and it was necessary to shape and ?? the ?? of victory in order to attain our object – the creation of a better world. We did not appreciate how difficult it would be to allay the ?? raised by the tempest of war, and we did not see how each one of us had a definite part to play. Just as in 1914 men joined together and sank all minor sectional differences, so today all classes and all sections should unite in the great attempt to bring about a real and lasting fellowship. Hatred was a great danger which menaced the world; it expressed itself in suspicion, jealousy and strife, and it cut the nations asunder. Scientists continue to prepare poisonous and destructive gases, but against this spirit of discord we must unite and seek to raise a memorial more lasting and more enduring than even that mass of granite, a memorial which would show itself in a civilisation based not on force and hatred, but on fellowship and goodwill between man and man.”
At the close of the Bishop’s address “Reveille'” was sounded, and the hymn “Praise my soul the King of Heaven” was sung. Then followed the Lord’s Prayer, the Blessing, and the National Anthem.
The names inscribed on the Memorial are those of Alfred Ansell, ??? Edgar Baily, Frederick Edward Barkwith, George Beard, Evan Bennett, Samuel James Bodley, Frank Edward Bilton, Albert Edward Bradford, Edward William Carter, William Carpenter, Frederick Chapman, Henry Chetters, Walter James Coates, Frederick William Cock, Thomas Edwin Collett, Robert Hayes Collins, Alfred Cornell, William George Alfred Errington, Frederick Charles Campion French, Reginald Arthur Gliddon, Walter Joseph Golding, Walter Barton Goodyer, Arthur William Greenaway, John William Alfred Hankins, William Hart, Albert Edward Hart, John Hastings, Thomas Henry Hayes, Stanley Hedges, Frederick Hill, Ernest Hills, Robert Izzard, Albert Jessop, Frederick Kelly, Arthur Kington, William George Latarche, Henry George Lawrence, Alfred Edward Loveday, Terence Byrne McGrievy, Ernest John Linnington McNichol, David Henry Margetson, Walter Mayzes, Walter Edwin Manners, Charles Stewart Manes, Albert Meloy, Alfred Miller, Frederick Benjamin Millidge, John Minchin, William Henry MolIt, Charles William Moorhouse, Walter Thomas Nowlan, Albert Omans, John Robert Parrington, Edward Norman Powell, Rueben Ransley, Frederick Bazel Rawston, William Walter Rawston, Charles Henry Reed, Joseph Norman Riley, Henry Fergus Robertson, Edward Scanuel, William Seal, George Arthur Sharp, Henry Frederick Shearman, Charles Robert Smith, William Smith, Ernest Edward Snell, Arnold James ??????

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4 thoughts on “Dedication of the Gas Works War memorial”

  1. My wife is a descent of Frederick Charles Camfield French, whom you have incorrectly identified as Frederick Charles Campion French – we hope you will be able to correct this error. We have been to visit the memorial in its new location in his memory.

    1. I’m happy to leave your post alongside the report – but the report I quoted is a historic one from the time the memorial was erected on its original site and I can hardly correct it. Its a mistake made by whoever wrote it in 1926!

  2. My great Uncle William Turley is also on this memorial. He was at the Somme with his brother Edward (Ned) Turley who survived the war. As a child, I remember visiting ‘Uncle Ned’for holidays at his home in Northampton. William was killed on the day, late in the Somme battle, that Thiepval was retaken.

    Both sides of my parents families lived in Board Street or nearby and worked in various roles at the gas works.

    Further information about the soldiers commemorated on this memorial can be found here: http://www.roll-of-honour.com/London/GreenwichSouthMetGasWorkersWW2.html

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