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A blind ex service man was guided by his wife up the mound to lay a laurel wreath...

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 02 December 1924



Of your charity and for your soul's sake think of them

Here's Rosemary for Remembrance

Scenes deeply impressive were witnessed at the unveiling of the war memorial on Muster Green, Haywards Heath, on Sunday afternoon. Hundreds of people, many of them from neighbouring districts, were present, and one feel that the solemnity of the occasion was realised by all.

The memorial, which stands at the west corner of the green facing the Cuckfield road, is mainly due to the efforts of Major H. H. Blaker, J.P. (Chairman the Urban Council). The work was admirably carried out by Mr. C. F. Bridgman, of Lewes, who executed the memorial in St. Wilfrid's Church three years ago. It takes the form of a rough hewn granite boulder, quarried at Penrhyn, Cornwall. Its weight is between seven and eight tons, whilst it is 9 ft 6in. high. It stands on the pinnacle of a circular grass-covered mound 4 ft 6in, high. At the top of its face is a raised cross in black, and underneath, also inscribed is “1914-1919. In Memoriam” Below the stone is a bronze plate recording the names, rank, and units or ships of the 167 local men who fell in the war. Their names are as follows:

Edward Abram, Ernest Adams, F.S. Anscombe, Henry Attree, Ernest Austen, L.G. Austen, Edmond Awcock, John Awcock, B.B. Backshall, Reginald Backshall, F.R.Baker, A.C. Barnett, Sidney Berryman, E.P Bingle, Harold Birch, W.S. Bishop, A.G. Botting, C.V. Botting, G.E. Botting, H.W. Breading, Sidney Buckman, W.F. Burt, V.G. Burtenshaw, Harry Bushby, E.L. Button, Bertie Carey, William Carey, Harry Chapman, H.G. Chatfield, Ernest Cherriman, Bernard Comber, James Compton, A.G. Cook, Reginald Cossen, Frederick Cottingham, G.E. Cowdrey, Frederick Cowley, H.V. Cutting, Frank Downer, R.B. Edwards, J.H. Elmes, E.A. Everest, Nelson Fermor, F.W. Fieldwick, W.G. Figg, N.M. Finn, Herbert Flesher, H.H. Floate, D.C. Gambell, E.J. Gasson, Henry Gayler, J.H. Gearing, Robert Hamper, G.A. Harrison, James Haydon, H.R. Heldmann, R.G. Herbert, Frank Hilmann, R.G.Hind, Wilfred Hinsley, Albert Hoadley, Albert Henry Hole, David Hollands, S.J.Hunt, John Jeffrey, GMT Jennings, Harry Jones, Leonard C. Jones, Frank Kember, Horace D.M.Kemp, Harold Stanley Kempthorne, Arthur Kenward, Archibald Knight, Arthur George Knight, Percy C. Lavanchy, Ronald John Mortlock Lias, Frederick Henry Linford, Basil Andrew Long, Owen Miles, Alec Mills, Ernest James Manvell, J.A.C.Masters, Frederick James Mitchell, William Henry Mitchell, William G. Moss, Abner Marchant, Frank H. Nash, Edward Naylor, William A. Newnham, H.R.Newth, George Arthur Nicholas, J.Clifford Nicholas, William Norris, Ernest Henry Norris, Eric N. Norris, John Norwood, Albert Cecil Nye, Albert Nye, Charles William Norton, William Arthur Overton, Ernest Packham, George Thomas Pattenden, Robert Ernest Paxton, Albert Edward Paxton, Joseph William Pawsey, William Thomas Paxman, William Frank Payne, William Winter Peache, Henry Frederick Palmer, Herbert William Pickett, Willim Hylton Sandford Poole, Edward James Prevett, Robert Prevett, William Ernest Randall, Robert Rasell, Leslie Leonard Reeves, George Robert Rich, Frank Rickard, William Rist, John Lambert Roberts, Charles John Sadler, Frederick Sands, Herbert Harold Sawyers, Stewart Spearing Schneider, George Alfred Smith, Charles Edward Smith, Albert Smith, Archibald Smith, William Smithers, Boris Styles Sparge, Frank Spencer, Frederick John Ewart Stafford, Herbert Grant Staples, Albert Steer, Allen Stemp, Alfred Lovell Stone, John Stone, Cyril Ernest James Stoner, Thomas Stovold, George Strong, F.H. Suter, Howard Simpson Tindall, Claude Leonard Toye, Stephen Trill, Frederick Hugh Geoffrey Trumble, Charlie Tullett, Henry William Tulett, Edward John Umpleby, Benjamin Upton, William K. Veness, Charles Herbert Verrall, Thomas Edwin John Warnett, George Frederick Watts, Albert James Watts, Edward Whitney, Harry Walter White, Joseph White, Francis Willey, Clarence Frank Williams, Colin W. Wise, William Henry Wood, Alfred Wright, J.W.Wheeler, Frederick C. Yeates.

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Shortly after two o’clock people began to gather round the memorial, which was draped with the Union Jack and the Red Ensign. They came from all directions in ever-increasing numbers. Occasionally one or two broke away and entered the enclosure guarded by ex-service men. They were the relatives of the dead. Some carried wreaths and others sprays of flowers. One woman she stood alone wore medals on her right breast.

At the east end of the enclosure were the Haywards Heath troop and the Hillcrest troop of Boy Scouts under Scoutmaster J.G. Richardson, M.C. (District scoutmaster) with whom was scoutmaster S. G. Peters. They were faced by girl guides under Miss Dennis (District Captain), who had the St Wilfrid's company (Captain miss Walton), St Richards company (Captain Mrs Symes), and the fourth Haywards Heath Rangers (Lieutenant Miss Knowles).

Near by were the members of the local Lodge of Buffs in their regalia, with representatives of the Equitable Friendly Society and the Railwaymen’s Unions. A body of ex-Service men, with Mr. W. T. C. Rust. D.S.O. in charge, marched into the enclosure and took a position on the north side. Medals were worn by nearly all of them. Members of the urban council arrived at intervals. Major H. H. Blaker, in uniform assisted by Mr E. J. Waugh, (Clerk of the urban council) was busy directing operations. The councillors noticed were Messrs A. Anscombe, C. H. S. Ellis, H. Finch, G. Hilton, E. Muzzell, W. Sandford Poole and J. C.Peache. Prebendary Bell (Vicar of Haywards Heath) was followed by the Rev. A.G. Bridge, (Congregational Church) and Pastor Darbyshire (Wesleyan Church). Then came the choir of St Wilfrid's Church and, Accompanied by the Rev F.A.H. du Boulay and the Rev G. T. Cripps. Finally, the guard of honour, provided by ‘A’ company, fourth Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, under lieutenant A. Bridge, Took up a position in the roadway outside the west entrance to the enclosure. Officers of the battalion present were major J. R. Warren, M. C., Captain Cassels, M. C. (adjutant). Captain R. B. Mason, M. C. (commanding “A” Company) and Lieutenant J. H. Boyd.

Soon after the clock in the tower of St Wilfrid's church had struck three, a sharp military command broke the silence and Lord Leconfield was received with a general salute. His lordship inspected the guard of honour and the ex-service men, and as he stood in Front of the memorial the Haywards Heath Town Band is under the conductorship of Capt J. Walsh, struck up to hymn “Oh God, our help in ages past”. The great assembly joined in.

“these all died in faith…… they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one, wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for them a city.”

These words, from the selected passage from Hebrews, were read out by Pastor Darbyshire, and following the lesson in prayer of Thanksgiving and remembrance was feelingly offered by the Rev.. A.G. Bridge. Fervently all joined in the Lords prayer, and as the first shadows of the departing day appeared that beautiful evening hymn, “Abide with me”, was voiced by the multitude.

Major Blaker, at the close, stepped forward and asked Lord Leconfield to unveil the memorial “six years after the Great War,” said major Blaker, “we are assembled on Muster Green to witness the unveiling of a simple, fitting, but permanent, Memorial to the 167 gallant men of the district who sacrificed their lives for their King and country. We hope it will be an everlasting reminder to us and to future generations that it is the duty of an Englishman to consider his king and country before himself.”

The Lord Lieutenant pulled the great chord, and the flags fell from the green mound. The vicar stepped forward, and with raised head offered the dedicatory prayers. When he had concluded, the familiar notes of “the Last Post” where sounded by band Sgt G. Napper from the western extremity of the crowd, and Mr. L. Howell, a blind ex service man was guided by his wife up the mound to lay a laurel wreath against the memorial from the ex-servicemen of the town.

It was a pathetic scene, and many were moved to tears

Lord Leconfield's address was brief and to the point. His Lordship said he was very glad to come there that afternoon to unveil their memorial. It was quite true that six years have passed since the end of that titanic struggle, but he was quite certain no one who lived in these days had any need of an outward memorial such as that to remind them of those who died in the cause of King and country. Those memorials, and he had unveiled a number of them, would have their value chiefly in the years to come when our children and our children's children grew up. It would remind those who came after not only of those who fell but also of those who fought in the Great War and did their job as well as those who paid the supreme sacrifice. It would further remind them of those who lost that which was almost as precious as life itself, their health and physical fitness. The war was a very terrible ordeal, and he did not think people were ever likely to forget it. No doubt at the time it bound our great empire together, and to great extent that was still the case. He wished he could wholeheartedly say that it had bound in this country together as it should have done. We undoubtedly won the war, but he could not say we were making a good thing of winning the peace which followed. That was one thing which to him was a disappointment. Another thing that memorial reminded them of was the bounden duty of the young men of this country to take steps to make themselves efficient to defend their country. Since the war there had been newfangled ideas for permanent peace. The league of Nations was an excellent thing as far as it went, and he believed it would do a great deal of good. But it would not be of much use to send a representative to the League who did not talk without the strength of forces behind him. He needed something stronger than words to back him up. In conclusion Lord Leconfield said he hoped he might be allowed to take that opportunity to make a strong appeal to all young men to come forward to support the territorial forces within the boundaries of Sussex. He hoped he should be forgiven for making that appeal on such an occasion, but as head of the county association he felt in honour bound to do so.

The Hymn “Through the night of doubt and sorrow.” preceded the blessing by prebendary Bell, and band Sgt Napper, fourth Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, sounded the “Reveille”

. A verse of the national anthem brought the impressive ceremony to close.

The greater part of the mound was quickly covered with floral tributes,, N.C.O.s and men of “A” Company, the fourth Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, the town band , the railwaymen's unions, the local Lodge of Buffs, the equitable friendly society and the Thermogene Company.

The traffic arrangements were admirably controlled by force of police under superintendent Fairs and and Sgt Pilbeam.

Thanks to Charles Tucker for the postcard photograph.

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