Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Remembrance wreathes

We are all finding Remembrance better attended and better observed. At one time observations had shifted exclusively to the Sunday, and it might have been assumed that even this would fade as those with direct memories of the two World Wars died off. Now silence is being observed mid-week again, and things such as the repatriation of those killed in places such as Afghanistan is persistent in our consciousnesses.

At Great Coates we had a service at the village War Memorial for the first time in a number of years. I’d asked about this when I arrived twelve years ago and was told that those involved in the British Legion and in other ways joined in the larger commemorations in the centre of Grimsby so there was no call for a service in the village. Twelve years on and a particular request for this observation comes in, St Nicolas’ shifts its service an hour earlier to make way, and we find local radio wanting to do an interview, quite a number extra people attending what became the 9.30 a.m. service, and perhaps as many as a hundred people of all ages at the War Memorial at 11.00 a.m.

This week the wreathes laid then were moved from the private land by the War Memorial into the churchyard. The position was chosen because it is close to a number of graves associated with the World Wars - one of two standard Commonwealth War Grave Commission stones, commemorating Ernest Reeve who died as a result of the Second World War, can be seen at the back centre of the picture. The large memorial at the front is also a First World War war grave and I’ve just discovered (prompted by Rod Collins website) that the Herbert Lewis buried there died in the Lawn mental institution in Lincoln which makes me wonder whether he was a victim of shell shock.

I’d actually put together some basic information about all those named on the War Memorial or buried in the churchyard. The village magazine reproduced this and an updated copy of it is left out in church. I am gradually amending this as fresh information, such as that about Herbert Lewis, comes in.

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