Ridlington remembers its First World War dead

Lord Lieutenant Dr Laurence Howard and Stephen Stapleton of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission layng a wreath with High Sheriff Miles Williamson-Noble standing to attention. EMN-140109-113321001
Lord Lieutenant Dr Laurence Howard and Stephen Stapleton of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission layng a wreath with High Sheriff Miles Williamson-Noble standing to attention. EMN-140109-113321001
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At a moving ceremony on a bright morning, a Rutland village remembered eight of their men who went to war and did not come back.

When Great Britain entered the First World War, in August 1914, Ridlington waved off 33 of its men to the Front - just 25 of them returned.

On Saturday more than 80 people gathered in the playing fields for a ceremony to remember them, and the fallen servicemen of military conflicts over the years.

The service, conducted by the Rev John Taylor from Rutland Water Benefice, included a dedication ceremony of oak saplings from Delville Wood on the Somme. It was donated to villagers when they visited Arras in 2005 by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The saplings were nurtured along with two chestnut saplings grown in the bicentenary year of the Battle of Trafalgar from chestnuts that were gathered in Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk, where Lord Nelson grew up.

David Harvey, warden at St Mary Magdalene and St Andrew Church said: “Primarily we wanted to make people aware of the sacrifices of villagers and of the eight men who did not return.

“At the same time we wanted to make people aware that samplings from a wood that was totally devastated during the war are growing in our playing fields.

“Thousands of people died in and around that wood.”

During the service, the names of the fallen were read out individually, in some cases by those now living in the same houses, together with details of where they had lived, what they did and how they died.

Individual Remembrance Day crosses were laid and goodwill messages were sent by relatives of four of the deceased.

Air Commodore Miles Williamson-Noble said: “It’s important for small villages with close knit communities to remember those who sacrificed their lives.

“Ceremonies like this bring villagers together and it reinforces the sacrifices that people made.

“It was a very moving service.”

Lord Lieutenant Dr Laurence Howard and Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Stephen Stapleton and Rutland councillors Edward Baines and William Cross were among those who attended.

The ceremony concluded with the Last Post, followed by a two minutes silence and Reveille when the Royal British Legion Standard carried by Peter Baker from Empingham was lowered.