A DAMAGED First World War memorial honouring the deaths of 72 Lancashire soldiers has been reconstructed and will be re-dedicated to mark the centenary of the start of the conflict this Sunday (August 3).
A special service is being held at Blackburn Cathedral at 4pm when the memorial will be rededicated by the Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev Julian Henderson.
A new inscription on the base of the memorial will record that the service is being held on the 100th anniversary and will remember all the fallen of Lancashire as well as the 72 from Blackburn for whom the memorial was originally installed.
The Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, the High Sheriff, mayors and civic dignitaries from the county, and clergy from the Blackburn Diocese are also being invited to attend the service.
Bishop Henderson said yesterday: “This is a solemn and important event for the Diocese of Blackburn and County of Lancashire as we remember the events of a hundred years ago which led to the tragedy of the First World War.
“Civic and religious leaders, and representatives of our parishes, will join me at the Cathedral as we think of those many, many servicemen and women who left our towns and villages with heads held high for the fields of France, so many of whom did not return.
“The occasion will also be marked in a variety of ways in parishes across the County, in towns and villages where the losses between 1914 and 1918 were felt so keenly. Many churches will conduct vigil services as they reflect on the darkness and suffering of war both a hundred years ago and today and pray for the peace of the world.”
During the service the Area Deans will collect candles which will be placed in each parish church throughout the diocese on Monday (August 4) where they will be lit until 11pm when war was declared, and remain unlit except on occasions of remembrance until Armistice Day 2018.
The cathedral’s Canon Sacrist Andrew Hindley, who has been in charge of the restoration of the memorial, explained its history.
It was placed in the then Blackburn Parish Church – now the Cathedral – in November 1920, just two years after the war ended and contained the names of 72 soldiers from the parish who had fallen.
Canon Hindley said: “Sadly it was dismantled in 1965 when the cathedral was undergoing massive internal changes. Much of the frame and carvings were lost at that time. Only the four bronze panels bearing the names of the fallen and five wood carvings of angels survived.
“But we did discover that photographs and newspaper cuttings from the Lancashire Telegraph (then the Northern Daily Telegraph) still existed in their files and, although no drawings or original plans survived in the archives, we then explored the possibility of remaking the memorial.”
Last year the Cathedral Chapter decided that the reconstruction of the memorial should be the centrepiece of re-dedication on the 100th anniversary and should be a county event.
The remaking of the memorial was put in the hands of a Blackburn firm of joiners, Cooper Bespoke Joinery.
Canon Hindley said: “Now what we really want is to find as many relatives of the men named on the memorial as possible in the hope that they can come and join us for this very special occasion.”
The Dean of Blackburn, the Very Rev Christopher Armstrong, said: “The loss of the war memorial in the 1960s should not have happened, and we felt that it would be very appropriate to have it reconstructed in time for the centenary of the start of the Great War.
“It has taken a lot of planning and research but the outcome is that we have a tangible reminder of the terrible price that was paid in that conflict 100 years ago.”
The original memorial was designed and made by the Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Arts whose most famous works on public display include the main gates of Buckingham Palace and Liverpool’s Liver Bird carvings.
HERE PLEASE FIND A SELECTION OF EVENTS BEING HELD TO MARK THE CENTENARY THROUGH THE DIOCESE
St Matthews Burnley has found the addresses of those listed on their war memorial. They left from these homes never to return. The PCC has invited those who now live at these addresses to a special service of commemoration in November 2014.
St Stephen’s Church, Little Harwood, Blackburn intend to hold a Vigil on 4th August in commemoration of the First World War.
At Lytham, St John the Divine, the congregation will be holding a Vigil on the evening of Monday August 4, the start of which will be signalled by the tenor bell being tolled 95 times – once for each member of St John’s Parish whose name is inscribed on the memorial to those who gave their lives during that war.
As part of Brindle’s commemoration of the start of WW1, St James’ Church will be holding a Non-Eucharistic service at 10.30am on August 3. Following this there will be light refreshments served at Brindle Community Hall, a WW1 Exhibition to peruse, arranged by the Historical Society and Brindle Band will be playing appropriate music for the occasion (in the community hall: 11.30am – 2.30pm).
St Paul’s in Warton has a number of events planned but the main one will be the dedication of a new flagpole in our village centre, with Rev Mike Hartley leading prayers, a lowering of the flag and playing of the Last Post. There is also an exhibition in the church to honour the fallen & the served of Warton with a booklet available about their background and families, with details of their regiments and resting places. On display will be several WW1 artefacts lent by residents and there will be information on life in the trenches & at home.
Poppy wreaths and candles will be available and the church plans to provide WW1 type refreshments. Local young people will do readings and there will be music, a service and a vigil to mark the exact moment when Britain joined the war.
At 11pm precisely, the Blackburn Cathedral candle will be extinguished and there will be silence in the dark.A number of relatives of the local men who fought will attend.