Poignant silences were observed on Sunday as people paid tribute to those who lost their lives in conflict.
The day was especially resonant as it was the centenary of Armistice Day – the day the First World War ended – on 11 November 1918.
Processions in Shepherds Bush and Fulham were followed by memorial services, attended by guests and dignitaries including the Deputy Mayor and Mayor of H&F and borough councillors.
“It was an honour to be able to pay my respects to those who selflessly gave their lives in the service of their country,” said Cllr Alan De’Ath, H&F Member for the Armed Forces.
“On the centenary of the end of First World War, there are many stories of local people who performed heroics both on the frontline and here on home soil. We honour them, and those who’ve died since.”
Parade and services
In Fulham the procession left Parsons Green and wound its way to All Saints’ Church, Fulham, where H&F Mayor, Cllr Daryl Brown took the salute.
The service was led by Penny Seabrook, associate vicar of All Saints’ church.
In the north of the borough, the procession departed from Sulgrave Road and finished at the war memorial on Shepherds Bush Green where H&F Deputy Mayor, Cllr Mercy Umeh represented the council.
The service was conducted by Father Richard Nesbitt of Our Lady of Fatima church and Reverend Cameron Collington of St Simon’s church.
Town Hall’s ‘Tommies’
Earlier this month, a special display was created at Hammersmith Town Hall to mark Remembrance Day and the centenary of the Armistice.
Standing in the town hall entrance are two six-foot metal ‘Tommy’ sculptures, depicting a soldier with his rifle. The pair are a thought-provoking reminder of the human cost of the First World War.
The statues were created by the charity Remembered as part of its ‘There But Not There’ campaign. They are being displayed up and down the country to honour the more than 800,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers who fought and died in the war.
Local schoolchildren were asked to produce artwork to commemorate the Armistice Day centenary. A brilliant selection of emotive works, ranging from poems, to paintings to sculptures, was submitted from six different schools.
The winning entries were reproduced in the order of service for the two memorial ceremonies, while the original works are on display alongside the Tommies and are well worth a visit.
The final element of the display is a pair of pop-up banners, honouring two of the many individuals from our borough, who made a notable contribution during the First World War.
‘Flying ace’ Lt. Indra Lal Roy, from Hammersmith, was the first Indian to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. And Fulham-born Cpl. Edward Dwyer was, at 19, the youngest ever recipient of the Victoria Cross.
Pop in to Hammersmith Town Hall to see the display and read more about their remarkable acts of bravery.
Church ‘detective’ tracks down war dead
Households in Hammersmith had a poignant reminder of the carnage of two world wars on Remembrance Sunday as a member of a church congregation turned detective to locate the homes where the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice lived.
Barbara Torrance, a worshipper at the Church of the Holy Innocents, in Paddenswick Road, and a retired research librarian, spent five years tracing the stories of more than 300 war dead connected to the church.
“It has been a sad and painful journey, but I hope I have honoured these men, with whom I have walked very closely,” she said.
“Many have no known grave and are remembered only by their name on the large memorials abroad or in this country.”
To mark the centenary of the Armistice, the congregation made contact with the people who currently live at the addresses unearthed by Barbara, so that they could display, outside their homes, cards remembering the fallen.
The cards were collected ahead of the Remembrance Day service on Sunday 11 November – a poignant representation of lives lived and lost.
The Rev Paulette Mullings of Holy Innocents said: “This initiative is very important for community and church to acknowledge and share in the healing process relating to the grief suffered by those who have lost their loved ones in conflict.
“We can only imagine what it was like for those local streets, when the telegraph boy came knocking on doors telling families their loved one was lost, and the impact on that family and the local community.
“We, as a church, continue our prayerful resolve that the bloodshed of those years is not repeated.”
First hand account
Tony Page visits Fulham on Remembrance Sunday to honour his great uncle – Charles Edward Spackman VC.
Attending Sunday's Remembrance Sunday service at All Saints Church, Fulham, was always going to be an emotional experience, notwithstanding the fact that it was 100 years to the day that the guns fell silent in WW1. One of those guns was in the hands of my Great Uncle –Charles Edward Spackman VC.
Uncle Charlie was 26, a sergeant in the Border Regiment and on 20 November 1917 in Marcoing, France, was involved in the first day of the Battle of Cambrai.
His leading company was held up by heavy fire from a German machine gun mounted on a position which covered the approaches. Charlie, realising that it would be impossible for the troops to proceed, advanced single handed through heavy fire to the enemy gun, where he succeeded in killing all but one of the gun crew and then captured the gun.
For this selfless act of bravery, he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
As a very young kid, my brothers and I used to go up to visit Uncle Charlie by train from Leatherhead with my mum and dad. He never spoke to us kids about any of it of course and it was only at his funeral in 1969 that I found out he had been awarded the VC. Even at age 12 I knew what a Victoria Cross was...
On Thursday evening I caught a snippet on the news about the paving stone memorials to each WW1 VC recipient 'close to their place of birth'. Previously unaware of these memorial stones, I contacted Hammersmith & Fulham Council and asked if they could tell me the stone's location of my great uncle Charlie. Acting on information received, I went up to the church on Saturday to actually find it and returned the next day, Remembrance Sunday, to stand with others commemorating the end of WW1. And my Great Uncle.
Read more on the First World War
- ‘Tommies’ stand guard at town hall ahead of Remembrance Sunday
- Remembering H&F’s women workers of the ‘home front’
- Blog: From Stamford Bridge to the trenches – Chelsea and the First World War
- Fulham Camerata concert marks end of First World War
- Blog: First World War left its mark on Fulham
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