Wolverton Express May 26th 1922
PARISH WAR MEMORIAL UNVEILED BY
SIR HEREWARD WAKE
The village Church of St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s, Cosgrove was crowded to its fullest holding capacity on Sunday afternoon last. The service was of historic importance to the village, the occasion being the unveiling and dedication of the memorial of the parishioners to the 24 men of the parish who gave their lives in the Great War. Not only were almost all the village inhabitants present, but there were also visitors from Stony Stratford, Wolverton and neighbouring villages who were present to pay their respects. As the congregation was assembling, Mr. J. D. Warren, the organist, played as a voluntary “O, rest in the Lord.” The service, of a simple brief and appropriate nature, was conducted by the Curate-in-charge, the Rev. R. Stanham. The opening hymn “Oft in danger, oft in woe,” was followed by a number of prayers and Psalm xv. was read. The Rev. H. H. E. Nelson-Ward, Rector of Wicken, read a helpful passage of scripture taken from St. John vix.
With the closing verses of the hymn, “Through the night of doubt and sorrow,” the Rev. R. Stanham, with the Rev. Nelson-Ward and Lt. Col. Sir Hereward Wake, Bt., C.M.G., D.S.O., of Courteenhall, Northants, proceeded to the memorial tablet, which had been placed on the west interior wall of the church on the left side of the porch doorway. Sir Hereward, a member of a soldier family, wore a khaki uniform of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Reaching the tablet with the Rev. Mr. Stanham to unveil the tablet. Stepping forward he pulled taut the fastening string which let fall the Union Jack previously shrouding the memorial. A handsome bronze tablets was revealed, bearing the following inscription: - “To the glorious memory of the men of Cosgrove Parish who laid down their lives in the Great War, 1914-18 Capt. St. L. Atkinson, Sgt. H. Tack, Cpl, E. Tack, L/Cpl. W. Brown, L/Cpl. W. Key, Bombdr. W. Moore, Trpr. R. Panter, Ptes. C. Austin, J. Brown, G. Bugby, H. Butcher, A. Childs, R. Childs, G. Cripps, A. Curtis, P. Frost, F. Green, H. Green, W. Grace, E. Munday, E. Mandeville, J. Ratcliffe and H. Swain.
With the fall of the Union Jack, Sir Hereward said “I unveil this memorial to the gallant men of Cosgrove who laid down their lives in the Great War, for their King and country, and in lasting and glorious memory of their service and their sacrifice."
Continuing, he said, he thought if those men could speak themselves that day they would add a tribute of sympathy to the wives and mothers who lost them and who so bravely suffered more than other people could understand. He felt the memorial had a meaning, the same as thousands of others in villages of England, that is expressed in the in the term “Devotion to Duty.” This devotion stands behind the quiet village life forgotten, untalked of, but ready in a moment to send the village men of England to fight and to German patriotism was expressed in the phraze (sic) “my country right or wrong,” and a great German general dedicated his book on the war to soldiers who died believing in Germany’s greatness. The cause for which England drew the sword was the cause of right and justice and mercy to the weak and helpless, and the cause of Christianity. It is there things for which England has for ever stood and English people will always be ready if necessary to fight and die for it. They who had come safe and sound out of the struggle owe it to the men whose names are recorded on the tablet to see they did not die in vain. They must keep what they must keep what they fought for and what they died for, the peace of the world, the liberty of England all over the world, law and order and straight living which alone makes happy homes possible. They must be true and may their sons learn from the names on the memorial to live and be faithful and if need be to die as bravely in the cause of our great country and what she stands for.
The Rev. Stanham called upon the Rev. Nelson-Ward to perform the dedication of their memorial. The latter, standing on the steps to the porch, said he felt it an honour to be asked to perform such a ceremony. He remarked it was very good that this service of theirs should be held in the weeks following Easter. It was a beautiful thought because that festival speaks of the living and not the dead. He said that festival told them that Christ Jesus had overcome death and had opened unto us the gates of everlasting life. That was the glorious message of Christ’s Easter victory. There was no gloom in that and no sorrow, only life, progress, brightness, advance and eternity. Those men in whose honour they had placed their tablet are not dead. They have awakened from our dreams of life, they have outwinged the darkness of our night here. That is what has happened to them and this memorial is a token of remembrance, of pride, and of gladness of them and of gratitude for what they did. These men when England called to them, answered, and gave themselves for her sake and for the sake of their countrymen, for King and for duty. It was to the glorious memory of their sacrifices that the memorial was raised and where else, he asked could they have found a better place for it but in the sanctuary of God, from Whom each one of them received life, and into Whose hands and keeping their lives have passed. They would notice above the memorial a cross which tells us all to remember always, that every life lived for others must be a life of sacrifice and there is no life so lived that has not a cross above it. Their memorial was not, however, only a token of remembrance, of pride and gratitude, but stands for something more. It should always remind them and those who follow to live true to England as they did. He concluded by saying “Lift up your hearts, believe to live and die for a faith. That alone is life and that alone is victory over death.”
The Rev. Nelson-Ward then proceeded to read a number of dedicatory prayers following which the clergy returned to the chancel and Sir Hereward Wake to his seat.
The hymn “O, God our Help in ages past” was reverently sung by the congregation and a number of short prayers were read by the Rev. Stanham. The organ pealed forth in impressive rendering of the Dead March in “Saul” and hardly had the last notes died away than the notes of bugles, sounding the “Last Post,” echoed through the building. The buglers were Mr. J. Tearle, of Wolverton, and Mr. J. Lovesey, of Cosgrove. The singing of the first verse of the National Anthem brought to a close an impressive and memorable service.
As the congregation was dispersing, the organist, Mr. J. D. Warren, played as a voluntary, the March Militaire.
Many remained in the church to view the tablet below which were arranged wreaths and floral tokens expressing the feelings of the relatives and friends of the fallen, the flowers forming a beautiful collection. Most prominently placed immediately below the memorial, was a large floral emblem a token of remembrance from ex-service men. Other tokens bore the inscriptions “I thank God upon every remembrance of you my beloved son, St. Leger Atkinson, 13th may 1915”: “From Misses Mary and Gune Atkinson”: “From Mrs. Knight and family, in remembrance: “In ever loving memory of Willie and Joe, killed in action from Annie and Doris”: “In loving remembrance of Pte. G. Bugby, killed in action, May 9th, 1917, from his loving mother and father”: “In loving memory of Pte. G. Bugby, from his loving sisters”: In loving memory of Pte. W. A. Whitehead, killed in action at Fricourt, Sept. ful [as written] remembrance from the Rev. R. Stanham”: “In remembrance from Mr. Robert Penson and Mrs. Penson."