Sunday, August 10, 2014
Civic leaders, townspeople and visitors joined the Royal British Legion in Sidmouth on Monday to commemorate the centenary of the Great War, writes Kingsley Squire.
At a service around the war memorial, standards were raised, the Last Post was sounded and a wreath laid by branch president Kim Smith.
It said simply: “We will remember them.”
Prayers were led by the Rector, Dr Philip Bourne, who reflected on the ultimate sacrifice paid by those who had served, fought and suffered.
In many ways, he told the service, also attended by Legion members from Sidbury, the war changed the way we thought, not only about war but also about heroism, glory and honour on the battlefield.
“This war was brutal and mechanised,” he continued. “Both combatants and non-combatants suffered and died in unprecedented numbers.
“The after effects of what was called shell shock, post traumatic stress today, prolonged the suffering and death even after hostilities had long ceased.”
Yet as deep and painful as the effects of the Great War were, they threw men and women back to the affirmations of the Christian faith.
The service and RBL parade, organised by branch chairman Dave O’Connor and secretary Ralph Hickman, also said prayers for all nations still torn by war, for all who sought peace, for families grieving the loss of loved ones and for all whom war had left vulnerable, displaced or without hope.
“Let us bless the Lord for the service and sacrifice of all who fought in World War One, for all who laid down their lives, for their courage and their selflessness in the midst of so many and great dangers and for the example they have given us.”
Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘1914’ was read to the service by Nancy Bowstead and there was also a bible reading by David Powell.