The Village War Memorials






Chaffcombe has the happy distinction of being the first place in a wide area – as far as is known in the whole county, and beyond – to complete its memorial to the fallen men; and, further, to have carried it through unmarred by any bickering or dissatisfaction.  The foundation stone of the village memorial cross was, it will be remembered, laid by Miss Betty Hartley a couple of months back, and the completed structure was unveiled and dedicated on Friday evening of last week.

A handsome stained glass window, to the memory of 2nd-Lt W H Hartley, was previously dedicated in the Parish Church by the Lord Bishop of Taunton, (Right Rev Dr C F de Salis).  The window bears the appropriate figures of S S George and Martin and the crests of the late soldier’s regiment and school (Harrow), and the inscription: ”In beloved memory of W H Hartley, MC, 2nd Lieut 8th Hussars, killed in battle near Hervilly, France, 22nd March, 1918, aged 21. ‘Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori’ ”

The Hartley Window

The Hartley Window : St Michael’s Church Chaffcombe



The dedication and memorial service was a striking and impressive one, and the Bishop’s sermon, based on 11 Samuel x, 12: ”Let us play the men for our people and for the cities of our God,” was marked by deep feeling and was warmly appreciated.

Having solemnly dedicated the window, what a glorious, terse account they had, he said, in these ninth  to thirteenth chapters of the second book of Samuel of generalship, pluck, and courage,and above all of comradeship, and of manliness and salvation.  It was remarkable that in the Bible they found such wonderful instances of all they had admired in the war.  Notwithstanding all the horrors of it, what splendid characters and great doings had come out of the great war!  Yet, through the League of Nations – which they prayed God to prosper – it was greatly to be hoped that wars might be stayed.  In the meantime, looking back at the past, they had no need to be ashamed.  They might well and rightly glory both in the part played and in those who had indeed ”played the men for our people and for the cities of our God.”

They were thinking of such to-day in connection with their village, and to those they had raised a cross that betokened the greatest sacrifice of all.  After a few appropriate words on the window and its subject, the Bishop said in both these memorials they had expressed their admiration for these men.  How truly his text had been emphasized by ”the best spirit” of their soldiers, living as well as dead!  There was, perhaps,some dangerous job on hand, and the cry went up, ”Who will go?”  Not one or two, but many came forward.  It was the true outcome and sample of English life gloriously set forth in the war.

Let them note how Joab too worked with and helped his brother in these chapters, and compare it with the action of their men.  There  was the very finest spirit of manhood, following close on the heels of the Perfect Man.  What nobility belonged to those whom they commemorated that day!  What a glorious spirit was theirs!  Might they follow in the steps of these men; and as they commemorated these heroes that day, thank God for them, and be themselves inspired  to go on in their path.  Thus would he have them think of those who had laid down their lives for their friends in this war.  Thus would he have them remember and gratefully honour, those who said to one another,  ”Be of good courage and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the Lord do that which seemeth Him good.”

At the conclusion of the service the clergy and choir proceeded to the cross at the cross roads in the centre of the village.  After a verse of the National Anthem, the cross was unveiled by General Sir Reginald Pinney, of Racedown, Crewkerne, and dedicated by the Bishop, who read out the names of the fallen inscribed thereon.

Sir Reginald, addressing the assembly of villagers, officers and others, from the steps of the cross, said he came most willingly to play his part in doing honour to the memory of the brave dead.  He had been privileged in going through the war in close touch with the men from all parts of the country, and he could tell them that day that whether in the excitement of battle, or in the dreary waiting in the trenches, or even hut of the fighting in the rest camps every soldier, and especially all the best soldiers, always had the memory of their home uppermost.  The best soldiers never once forgot their homes, and their greatest consolation, if they could see  how what was going on, was especially in the fact that their memory was kept green: not only by that beautiful cross, but in the hearts of the people.  Their memory was kept fresh in the hearts of their relations and friends; and there could be no more fitting memorial of the sacrifice of these men for future generations that the cross they had erected.

After the Benediction, the Last Post was sounded by a bugler of the S L I sent from the depot at Taunton.  A laurel wreath made by the children of the village as the tribute of the rising generation, was placed on the shaft of the cross: others were laid at the foot.  During the ceremony and the preceding service the flag on the church tower was flown at half-mast.  The choir performed their duties admirably, led at the organ by Mr R G B Mansfield Haysom, of Chard.

Among the distinguished and well-known people present, besides those who actually participated in the ceremony – the Bishop, Sir Reginald Pinney, and the Rector (Rev W E Remfrey) – were Lady Pinney, Lady Mary de Salis, Mr and Mrs Holliday Hartley, Mr H H Bagnall and Mrs Hill, Col and Mrs Noblett, Major Welldon, of the 8th Hussars, Major Bennett, Capt Stock, Mr John Madge (the architect of the cross), Mr J W and Miss Madge, Mr H Bishop (the builder of the memorial), etc.  Arrangements were largely in the hands of Mr E C Sargent, to whom a word of commendation is due.

The cross is a handsome and striking erection entirely of Ham Hill stone, standing on a triangular patch of ground at the meeting point of the cross roads in the centre of the village.  Standing, as a whole,

18ft 6ins high, it is situated so as to be viewed favourably from all points of approach.  An octagonal calvary of three steps is surmounted by a square base bearing on two sides the names of the fallen, and suitable inscriptions on the remaining two.  The slender octagonal shaft is surmounted by a cross measuring roughly 2ft in height and breadth, and carved as an exact replica of the Military Cross.

The sides of the base are inscribed in order as follows:  ”To the glory of God and in memory of the men of this village who fell in the Great War, 1914 – 1918.”

” ‘Their name liveth for evermore.’ ”  Sec-Lieut W H Hartley, MC,8th Hussars, Pte E J Barber, W Som Yeomanry, Pte F Board, Canadian Expdy Force, Pte S E Bodger, Devon Regt, Pte A G Bowditch, Canadian Expdy Force,  Pte E W Clarke, Royal Fusiliers.”

” ‘At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them.’ –  the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord”

” ‘Faithful unto death’ ‘Pte A Cook, Som L I, Pte J Hallett, Som L I, Pte A Harris, Coldsteam Guards.

Pte T Harris, Devon Regt, Pte R Knight, Som L I, Pte A Russell, Som L I, Pte R Trott, Som L I.”

The committee, the architect, the builder, and the whole of the parishioners are heartily to be congratulated on the beautiful erection they have raised to the memory of their loved ones, and the success with which the whole scheme has been carried through.


(copied as original copy)

September 27 1919 Chard and Ilminster

(Friday 19th September)