Many of you may not be able to attend the very shortened act of Worship and Remembrance to be held on Sunday 8th November at 10.50am at the Clock Tower, because of Covid -19 restrictions. Please consider having two minutes silence at 11:00am at your door or gate to remember those who died or were wounded in war, and pray for peace in our world.
Below is the “Lights Out” service compiled by our Chairman Effie Gale-Sides, and held at Atworth Clock Tower in 2014 to commemorate the centenary of the beginning of the Great War. Sixty-five villagers took part, and it was considered to be very moving, reflective and informative.
Occasion to mark the start of the Great War Held at Atworth Clock Tower, 4th August 2014
Effie Gale-Sides Chairman Atworth Parish Council
Welcome to Lights Out
The inspiration for this event is the remark made by Sir Edward Grey, foreign secretary, on August 3rd 1914. Knowing that war was imminent, he gazed out at gas lamps being lit in St James’s Park and said: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” While the Lights Out hour is designed to be a sombre time of reflection for lives lost and the irreparable damage caused by World War, it is also, a reminder of a country’s solid nerve and determination through the first major war waged on land, sea, and air, around the world.
1914-1918 saw more than 9 million military killed, 6 million civilians killed, 20 million wounded. 40 countries involved, political borders re-drawn, and the fermenting of other conflicts which continue to this day. On the first day of war, 19,240 died. Around 5 million men recruited from UK for the Great War Almost one million British troops were killed with two million wounded.
Invitation to light candles /torches
Rodney Price Atworth Independent Church
‘It is hard to understand British society at the time of World War One if you subtract the Bible from it.’
The Bible was a defining influence on British culture across class divides. From the public school to the Sunday school, from art and music to political debate, the Bible was in the blood of British people
When war broke out in 1914, every member of the British Armed Forces was given a Bible as an essential part of their kit.
‘It was hugely consoling for individual soldiers, ‘There are poignant stories of bodies being recovered of men who had died with a New Testament in their hands. ‘What else could you do if you were alone, badly wounded and going to meet your maker
This is a reading from our Lord’s “Sermon on the Mount” ” found in Matthew 5:14-16 followed by what Jesus said about Himself.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
And conclude with Jesus words about Himself in John 8 v12
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am thelightoftheworld. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
‘Till the Boys Come Home by Ivor Novello with words by Lena Gilbert Ford published on 8 October 1914 we will join together with very well known song.
Keep the Home Fires Burning
They were summoned from the hillside They were called in from the glen, And the country found them ready At the stirring call for men. Let no tears add to their hardships As the soldiers pass along, And although your heart is breaking Make it sing this cheery song:
Keep the Home Fires Burning, While your hearts are yearning, Though your lads are far away They dream of home. There’s a silver lining Through the dark clouds shining, Turn the dark cloud inside out ‘Til the boys come home.
Overseas there came a pleading, “Help a nation in distress.” And we gave our glorious laddies Honour bade us do no less, For no gallant son of freedom To a tyrant’s yoke should bend, And a noble heart must answer To the sacred call of “Friend.”
Keep the Home Fires Burning, While your hearts are yearning, Though your lads are far away They dream of home. There’s a silver lining Through the dark clouds shining, Turn the dark cloud inside out ‘Til the boys come home
Over in Europe, indeed our soldiers were thinking of home. Astonishingly, it only took two days for a letter from Britain to reach the front in France Up to 12 million letters were delivered to the front every week. there were thousands of letters between family, friends and sweethearts. Here is what Private Fred Key from Staffordshire wrote to his fiancée at the beginning of his service, full of optimism and hope.
Phineas Gale-Sides Resident:
‘At 3 o’clock the Germans started to shell us, and hit the trench that I was in about 15 times.
‘So you bet that when they were doing that I began to fancy that I should never write this at all.
‘The trenches around here are on ground that is full of dead, and when there is any digging on – it stinks something dreadfully.
‘You are not to worry about anything, it is sure to turn out well in the end and then God willing, we must have some good times together.’
: ‘What a happy day that will be when we have a home of our own, I suppose that you would live with me in a state of bread and cheese and kisses, but not until I can afford to keep you.
‘No I won’t say that, when we can live together in a style that at least you are used to, but I shall if I can manage it live in the country, it is much cheaper as regards rent etc. and a nice motor cycle & sidecar for us to take some enjoyable runs together and which I can go to business on.
‘How does that strike you, with a nice front garden and a big one at the back, with a lawn where could take tea in the Summer.
Much later, his mood was one of resignation and realism, when he writes in a further letter.
‘Yes it is very nice to know – that now I have met you, you will never be parted from me, except perhaps for a few short years.
‘The parting would no doubt be long for you but very short to me, and you will find me waiting for you in spirit.
Still I hope that we shall live together on this earth many years yet, and that when the parting does come, it will be very short;
I love you my own sweet darling, with every fibre of my being, I just love you.’
Private Key died as his regiment led the first charges of the Somme on July 1st, 1916.
The Great War is strongly linked by the symbol of the red poppy. The sight of these delicate, vibrant red flowers growing on the shattered ground caught the attention of a Canadian soldier by the name of John McCrae. He noticed how they had sprung up in the disturbed ground of the burials around the artillery position he was in.
A young friend of his Lieut. Alexis Helmer had been killed by a shell burst on May 1915. He was buried later that day and McCrae had performed the funeral ceremony in the absence of the chaplain. Later he was inspired to write this well known poem.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie, In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.
In November 1918, this reply to that particular poem was written, and it was entitled We Shall Keep the Faith
Lynne Spencer St Michaels Church Atworth:
Oh! You who sleep in Flanders Fields, Sleep sweet – to rise anew! We caught the torch you threw And holding high, we keep the Faith With All who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red That grows on fields where valor led; It seems to signal to the skies That blood of heroes never dies, But lends a lustre to the red Of the flower that blooms above the dead In Flanders Fields.
And now the Torch, – and Poppy Red We wear in honor of our dead. Fear not that ye have died for naught; We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought In Flanders Fields
This reply was written by American academic, Moina Michael to promote the making of handmade red silk poppies. These were then brought to England by a French lady, Anna Guerin. The (Royal) British Legion, formed in 1921, ordered 9 million of the poppies which they sold on 11 November that year. The poppies sold out almost immediately and that first ever “Poppy Appeal” raised over £106,000, a huge amount of money at the time
. The following year, Major George Howson, who had received the Military Cross for his role in the First World War, set up a factory off the Old Kent Road in London where five disabled ex-Servicemen began making poppies.
Three years later the Poppy Factory moved to its current site in Richmond, Surrey and today produces millions of poppies each year.
Such was the demand for poppies in England in 1922 that few were reaching Scotland. Earl Haig’s wife established the “Lady Haig Poppy Factory” in Edinburgh to produce poppies exclusively for Scotland. Over 5 million Scottish poppies (which have four petals and no leaf unlike poppies in the rest of the UK) are still made by hand by disabled ex-Service men at Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory each year.
Official government policy was that you had to be 18 to sign up and 19 to fight overseas.250,ooo underage soldiers fought in the Great War In the early twentieth century most people didn’t have birth certificates, so it was easy to lie about your age. It didn’t help that recruitment officers were paid two shillings and sixpence (about £6 in today’s money) for each new recruit, and would often turn a blind eye to any concern they had about age. At the same time, though, some officers thought the fresh air and good food of the army would do some of the more under-nourished boys a bit of good.
In fact the first British soldier who died after war was declared, was Private John Parr who gave his age as 17 years but was actually 14. He died on August 21st when as a reconnaissance cyclist, he went out to look for missing platoons.
When World War 1 broke out, Thomas Winter knew he had to be there,
The trouble was that he was 59, so too old for active service. The upper age limit was 51years. Instead he joined the YMCA, In 1914 to set up in France and then Italy YMCA huts where he ran the social centres, that soldiers away from the front line could use. It was a remarkable action for a teacher-cum-farmer from a quiet village in the depths of Buckinghamshire’s countryside. He was able to help and support those in need and soon got to know that a 1lb jar of Bovril made 48 cups of drink,
Edith Cavell, a British nurse executed by the Germans during World War One, is now to be featured on a new commemorative £5 coin.
In 1914, aged 48, she headed for German-occupied Belgium. Here, she and her nursing team treated soldiers from all sides.
She also helped some 200 Allied soldiers escape from Belgium. It was for this that she was captured.
During her trial she read her Bible and prayer book .
On the night before her execution on October 12 1915, the local chaplain, the Rev Horace Gahan, visited her.
She said the words that are now chiselled into her statue in Trafalgar Square, ‘I realise that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness toward anyone.’
She took communion, said the Lord’s Prayer and then recited the words of her favourite hymn, Abide with Me.
The next morning she was taken at 5am to her execution. The last entry in her diary reads, ‘Died at 7am on Oct 12 1915. With love to my mother, E Cavell.’
Let us all join in together with this prayer shown in your handouts.
“Lord Jesus, you have taught us that we can only be forgiven as we ourselves learn how to forgive: help us to bear continually in mind our own shortcomings and our many failings. If we remember the injuries we suffer and never deserved, help us to remember the kindnesses we received and never earned, and the punishments we did deserve and never suffered. Help us to be thankful for your unfailing mercies and those of other people; for the glory of your holy name.” Amen
Now we will sing Edith Cavell’s favourite hymn together. Abide With Me by Henry Francis Lyte
Abide with me: fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide: when other helpers fail and comforts flee, help of the helpless, O abide with me.
I need thy presence every passing hour; what but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power? Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be? Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless; ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness. Where is death’s dark sting? where, grave, thy victory? I triumph still, if thou abide with me.
Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes; shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies; heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee; in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
“Ode of Remembrance” is an ode taken from Laurence Binyon‘s poem, “For the Fallen“, which was first published September 1914
They went with songs to the battle, they were young, Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted, They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again; They sit no more at familiar tables of home; They have no lot in our labour of the day-time; They sleep beyond England’s foam.
From the front row, starting at the left, one by one, please blow out your candle, or switch off your torch
Eternal Father, the darkness is no darkness to you, and the night is as clear as the day. Accompany and protect us as we enter the night; give us eyes which watch for the dawn and hearts to learn again the lessons of love, that reconciled to one another and to you we may walk through this world’s perils and sorrows as children of light. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Effie, Rodney and other readers switch off their lights
Clock tower light is switched off
Clock tower chimes at 11.00pm then the Last Post is played.