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Tarvin welcomes Home the Heroes

9th November 2018 @ 6:06am – by Jo Richards
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Tarvin welcomes Home the Heroes and Commemorated the Fallen

The December 1918 issue of Tarvin St Andrews Parish Magazine wrote:


"Until the end of time November 11th 1918 will be remembered as the day on which hostilities closed in the Great War and will probably rank as the greatest day in history. The Armistice was signed at five in the morning and the last shot was fired at eleven. The fact that for the British army, the war closed where it began, viz. at Mons was a most satisfactory coincidence. The good news had been expected for some days and on the day before, notice given in all our three churches that as soon as the news arrived the church bells would be rung and a service of thanksgiving immediately held. Shortly before noon therefore the Tarvin bells chimed and a new flag – the Red Cross of St George on a white background given by our old friend Major Robinson and reserved for this long looked for time of rejoicing – was hoisted on the Tower.
Very soon a goodly congregation assembled and a short thanksgiving service began shortly before noon.

The breakdown of the central powers came much more suddenly than was expected. After the wonderfully rapid campaign in Palestine and Serbia which put Turkey and Bulgaria hors de combat, it was plain that the end could not be long delayed but still the most optimistic hardly dared to hope for it before Christmas. Fighting with all its horrors stopped before we expected: our men were spared the agony of another terrible campaign and the trials and suffering of our unfortunate men in German hands would soon be over. The war will not really be over until peace is signed but fighting is not likely to break out again. The whole of Europe is war weary; the problems of peace comfort us. The resettlement of the map of the world may be left to the Allies at the Peace Conference."

The war wasn't officially over until the signing of the Peace Treaty in June 1919 but by March of that year the village was already thinking about how to commemorate the servicemen who had lost their lives in the conflict.

The Parish Magazine reported:

"During the war we who perforce remained at home often looked forward to and spoke of the glorious day when war should be over and our boys home again. Well ...... if our boys are not all back, at any rate a good many are and more will soon be here.
There are some alas who will never return but must never be forgotten ....... How shall we commemorate these who have given their all and given it gladly? How shall we make sure that the priceless lesson of their self-sacrifice shall not be lost on succeeding generations? We have had a public meeting in Tarvin and a committee has been appointed representing all sections of the community. Several schemes have been considered but the one which finds most favour is the erection of a cross in front of the churchyard facing the Duddon Road. Three people have been asked to submit sketches – Mr Frank Shurrock, Mr Oakley and Mr Griffiths."

The Treaty of Versailles which marked the final end to the First World War was signed at 4:00 pm on Saturday June 28th 1919 and in the following month, Tarvin held its Peace Celebration which was recorded in the August edition of the Parish Magazine:

"Saturday 26th July was a red letter day in Tarvin. On that day we celebrated the signing of the peace treaty with Germany and extended a public welcome to out returned soldiers. The proceedings began with a procession through the village. The soldiers under the command of Sgt. Higgins led the way, then came the Over Silver Band and after the band two decorated lorries filled with members of the GFS (Girls Friendly Society) dressed to represent Britannia and her daughters and the allied countries. The children and the members of the BWTA formed the centre and the rear was brought up by the members of two friendly societies: the Recabites and Ancient Shepherds. When the procession arrived at the field kindly lent by Mr J Lloyd a short service of thanksgiving was conducted by the vicar. The hymns "All People That on Earth do Dwell", "Now Thank We All our God" and "O God our Help in Ages Past" were sung, the band accompanying. The lesson Colossians 3:1-5 was read by Rev Sutcliffe.

Tea was served to the children in the school and to the adults in a large tent. Mr Ratcliffe very kindly entertained our soldiers and Mr F Dodd, the relations of the fallen in another tent. The vicar and Mrs Wilcockson provided peace mugs for the children. Mr Gunnery catered for the tea and gave entire satisfaction. After tea, some hundreds of people enjoyed themselves to the top of their bent. A very good programme of sports had been arranged. Dancing went merrily until dark and the hobby horses and various side shows did great business. The committee and especially Mr Wright and the secretary Mr Bliss are to be congratulated on the success of their effort.

tarvin war memorial 2015

A final decision about the War Memorial was made in March 1920. It had been decided to place the cenotaph in the centre of the High Street (where the pump once stood) but after the committee received a letter from the highways authority forbidding the site, it was decided to erect it in its present position and on March 22nd, a committee was appointed to carry out the work. The cenotaph was unveiled in the following year and the Parish Magazine wrote:

On Sunday 12th December 1921 in the afternoon our War Memorial was dedicated and unveiled. The unveiling ceremony was performed by Dr Moreton and the service was conducted by the Vicar assisted by the Rev J W Gardner of Kelsall, Wesleyan Minister, who read the lesson. After a short service in church a procession was formed and proceeded to the Memorial. The choir and clergy led the way and following them came the relatives of the fallen, the comrades of the Great War and the general congregation. There was a very large attendance. Many being unable to obtain seats were obliged to stand throughout the service. At the close of the service, the National Anthem was sung and the last post and reveille were sounded from the top of the church tower. Before the congregation dispersed a Military Medal and bar to the same were formally presented to William Didsbury who had won them by two deeds of conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty.

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