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1945: Seat in churchyard to honour Canadian War sacrifice

Updated: Dec 28, 2022


Mid Sussex Times - Wednesday 27 June 1945


A SEAT FOR HAPPY MEMORIES. TO BE ERECTED AT CUCKFIELD.

Near Cuckfield’s War Memorial, which commemorates the sacrifices those who fell in the 1914-18 Great War, Cuckfield residents plan to erect a seat in memory of those who came to the assistance of the homeland in her hour of need during the conflict.


In the presence of members of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, Canadian nurses, representatives of other units, and leading members the Cuckfield Residents’ Hospitality Association, the Vicar (the Rev. H. F. C Kempe) presided at a homely little ceremony in Cuckfield Churchyard on Friday evening, when two choirboys unveiled a notice hoard which reads: “This seat was erected by the residents of Cuckfield as token of their esteem and friendship for members of H.M. Forces stationed here during the war in Europe 1939-45. I will lift up eyes unto the hills. My help cometh from the Lord.”


“MANY FRIENDSHIPS.”

The Vicar said that this ceremony was a little premature as the seat itself would not erected until about six months later, but it was desired to have this ceremony now while the men were still with them. During the past five or six years the residents of Cuckfield had been glad to welcome in their midst men from the R.C.A.M.C.. patients from the Canadian Hospital and men from various regiments who had been stationed “round and about Cuckfield.” Cuckfieldians had been glad to welcome many of them to their homes, and many friendships had been formed which they wished to remember, so it had been thought desirable to erect a seat which commanded a view of a lovely Sussex scene. In the years to come it would be a reminder of the friendships which had been forged in war, particularly between the peoples of Great Britain and Canada, and it was hoped that the seat would also used by Canadians who were able to return to this country in future years.


View of churchyard and Downs c 2020

“THIS MATCHLESS COUNTY OF SUSSEX.”

In acknowledging the gift. Lieut.- Colonel A. E. Parks. R.C.A.M.C.. said: “We are glad to go home, but sorry to depart from your midst. During the last five-and-a-half years we have made many friends among you and these ties are not easily broken. I feel certain we have come to understand the British people in a way never before possible; we hope that you have likewise come to understand us. To have been given an opportunity of living amongst you in this matchless county of Sussex, with its lovely countryside and beautiful villages, is a rare privilege that we shall for ever treasure in our thoughts. In particular. the memory of Cuckfield will always occupy a warm spot in our hearts. You have taught us much, and from you we have learned in some small measure the meaning of patience and fortitude under stress. I should like to pay tribute to the kind ladies and gentlemen who have been so faithful and unstinting of their time and services in supporting the auxiliary services of Cuckfield Canadian Hospital. Words cannot express adequately the


GRATITUDE

of the wounded and sick whose long weary hours in hospital were lightened by entertainment and many gifts. Lastly, I should be remiss if I did not refer to the other Canadian units that have been stationed in this vicinity during the war. They are the men who have done the fighting, bleeding and dying, and, alas, but too many will never return! Many of them were doubtless well known to you here, and had been counted among your many friends. Their sacrifice, together with your own and those of our Allies, made our deliverance possible, and we share a common sorrow in their loss. In conclusion, and on behalf the Canadian Forces that have been stationed this district. I should like to give you our deepest thanks for all your many kindnesses to us, and express the hope that in the years to come the friendships that have formed will deepen and ever continue to enrich our lives."


During the ceremony the hymns “O God, our help in ages past” and “The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended” were sung, the boys’ choir being conducted by Mr. G. Alfred Bailey. L.R.A.M..Director of Music at Cuckfield Parish Church.


Following the service, the members of the Forces were entertained at a social function held in the Parish Room.

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