Outside St Peter's Church Inside St Peter's Church

The Northbourne War Memorial

Refurbishing

 

Memories . . - Reg Good and Fred Pittman examine the memorial

Picture: ED NIX

The HERALD (thisisoxfordshire.co.uk) dated 1st February 2001 reported:

"Memorial to get facelift

By Michael Hambleton

ONE of Didcot's three war memorials is on the move again - but only a few inches.

The Cornish granite cross behind St Peter's Church is tilting because of subsidence and Mr Reg Good, of the Royal British Legion, said it needs cleaning and minor cracks repairing. The weather-worn inscriptions of ten servicemen who gave their lives in the Great War of 1914-18 also need to be refurbished. Mr Good, the secretary of a committee organising the refurbishment, said: "To correct the backward tilt, the memorial has to be dismantled and the concrete base levelled." It is an opportunity for the memorial to be moved forward from the church wall to allow a paved path, edged with granite chippings to be laid to add to the convenience of visitors.

The memorial commemorates servicemen from the former parish of Northbourne, and the committee with the assistance of the British Legion is appealing for funds towards the £3,436 cost of the project.

It will be exactly 80 years after the memorial was unveiled and dedicated.

Didcot has three war memorials because when the Northbourne Memorial was erected in 1921, Northbourne - or North Hagbourne - was part of East Hagbourne.

The cross was originally erected in the grounds of the former St Peter's in Church Street before being later moved to the present site, the new St Peter's Church, off Newlands Avenue, when the old church was closed.

The one-time tiny parish of Didcot - Old Didcot - had its own First World War Memorial, a plaque above the lych gate at All Saints' Church.

Retired Didcot librarian and local historian Mr Brian Lingham said it was not until 1935, that Northbourne was formally merged with Old Didcot to become modern-day Didcot.

The town's annual civic Remembrance Day parade and open-air service now takes place at the civic memorial, a sundial in Smallbone Recreation Ground on which the names of the dead of the First and Second World Wars are inscribed.

Mr Good wants to contact relatives of the men on the Northbourne Memorial to invite them to a rededication service following the refurbishment, at St Peter's on May 21.

The names inscribed on the memorial are: Privates Robert C Bosher and William Bosley, both of the 2nd Bn Royal Berkshire Regt; Cpl Ernest Brind, Royal Garrison Artillery; Private Hugh Dixon, 2nd Bn Royal Berkshire Regt; Private James Forrest, 5t Bn Royal Berkshire Regt; Pt Stanley Hillier, 2nd Bn Royal Berkshire Regt; Cpl Albert Keats 1st Bn Royal Fusiliers; Pt Arthur Keep, 1st Bn Royal Berk shire Regt; Pte Walter Stroud, 1st Wiltshire Regt, and Able Seaman William Wallace, Royal Navy. "


Northbourne War Memorial Refurbishment Committee

Chairman:
The Vicar St Peter's Church
Secretary / Treasurer:
Reg Good, The Royal British Legion
Members:
Clifford Brind; Philip C Bosley; Reg Warr

The Didcot and District Branch of The Royal British Legion have set up the above committee to raise money for the moving and refurbishment of the Northbourne War Memorial. On behalf of this committee I am appealing for donations towards the cost of this project.

The names of 10 men from the village of Northbourne who died during the Great War 1914 - 1918, are recorded on the Roll of Honour. The village of Northbourne is now an electoral ward within the town of Didcot. The memorial was originally situated in the churchyard of St. Peter's Church, Northbourne, however this church became unserviceable through damp and a new church was built in Newlands Avenue, Didcot and was dedicated in 1977. On completion of the new church the memorial and ashes from the old churchyard were moved into the garden of remembrance of the new church.


As can be seen from the enclosed photograph (copy) the memorial needs refurbishing, during which it will be moved forward enabling a paved path, edged with granite chipping's to be laid along the two sides and back.(see sketch enclosed). At the same time the base will be levelled so that the memorial will stand perpendicular in proud memory of the men of Northbourne who paid the supreme sacrifice.

"Let your thoughts dwell today
on your country's greatness
and when you realise her grandeur
remember it is a heritage
won for you by dauntless
men who knew their duty and did it. "

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM,

Thank you in anticipation. Yours sincerely. Reg. Good.

As can be seen from the photograph the Memorial is in poor condition, near the wall of the church and tilting backwards.


Two members of the refurbishment committee are related to the families of two men Commemorated on the Roll of Honour


The Didcot Herald dated 17th May 2001 reported:

 

Marking time - 80 years

EX-SERVICE groups and the relatives of soldiers who died in the First World War attended the re-dedication of a war memorial.

It was 80 years ago that the nine-foot-high Celtic stone cross was sited at the former St Peter's Church, in Church Street, when Northbourne was still a separate village from Didcot.

In 1977, the war memorial was relocated to the Garden of Rest at the new St Peter's Church, in Newlands Avenue. But while Didcot now commemorates the dead of the two World Wars at the town memorial at Smallbone Recreation Ground, the Royal
British Legion has continued to lay a poppy wreath on Remembrance Sunday at the Northbourne Memorial.

In January, a committee chaired by Legion member, Mr Reg Good, launched a £3,500 appeal to refurbish the memorial in time for its 80th anniversary.

A wreath was laid by the new Mayor of Didcot, Mr Jeremy Goff, and the ceremony was attended by the Royal British Legion, the Royal Naval Association and the United Services Association.

Picture caption: Silent salute ... the colours are lowered at the re-dedication of the Northbourne War Memorial at St Peter's, Didcot. Picture: KEVIN HARVEY


St Peter's Church Parish Magazine - June 2011

Extract from the Vicar's letter, The Revd Nicholas Gandy, OGS

"Those of you who were able to be with us on the evening of the 15th May witnessed the re-dedication of our recently refurbished Northbourne War Memorial. I would like to pay tribute here to Mr Reg Good for all his efforts in organising the refurbishment. For your interest, I reproduce below the short address I gave at that service:

Introduction

We welcome you all to the re-dedication of our newly refurbished Northbourne War Memorial today - especially to the nephew of William Bosley and the great nephew of Ernest Brind.

It is a particular pleasure to welcome standards representing members of the United Services, the Royal Navy and the British Legion and to welcome Brigadier Elderton and our new town Mayor, Councillor Gerry Goff.

It is also good to have Mr Vaughan Lawfull with us to represent the wider Christian community here in Didcot.

Address

It was exactly 80 years ago today when this Memorial was first unveiled and dedicated.

The 15th May in 1921 was Whitsunday and in the afternoon a short service was held in the old St Peter's conducted by the Revd B. A. Duke.

According to a report in the North Berkshire Herald, the massive cross had been erected in the churchyard and an immense crowd of people gathered to attend the unveiling ceremony which was performed by the then Vicar of East Hagbourne. the Revd H.A. Smith-Masters.

'He gave just the right sort of address in just the proper, forceful, yet reverent spirit' reported the Herald, and 'He knew what he was talking about, as the medals he wore upon his chaplain's scarf plainly testified.'

I have no medals on my scarf and cannot, therefore, in the same sense, be said to know what I'm talking about. But on holiday two years ago I was greatly moved by the experience of visiting a number of beautifully kept War Graves and Memorials in northern France.

I believe that these symbols in stone are immensely important reminders to us of the price that others have paid in order that we might enjoy that most highly prized gift of all: Freedom.

Freedom is so precious and easily taken for granted that we need regularly to remember what it cost others and to honour those who paid that cost because they gave us all they could.

This Memorial takes the form of a Celtic cross reminding us that God too gave all that he could in the person of his son. Jesus Christ.

We believe that Christ bore the pain of all our wrongdoing and folly in his own body on the cross. But this was not the end of him for he rose again and undefeated by evil to offer us forgiveness and the hope of eternal life.

So this cross is a symbol of hope — both for those who died for others and for us too.

Today, we are able to re-dedicate our handsomely refurbished Memorial to the honour of the men of Northbourne thanks to the generous support of our Town Council and other organisations and personal donations.

I would like especially to thank Mr Reg Good for the hard work and dedication that he has put into making this possible today."


Letters to the Editor. Herald 24th May 2001:

War memorial

Sir, The Northbourne War Memorial Refurbishment Committee would like to thank all businesses, organisations and those who made personal donations to our appeal for funds to refurbish the Memorial.

A special thank-you must go to Didcot Town Council for their very generous financial support, in paying for the dismantling and rebuilding of the Memorial, which was necessary to correct a backward tilt prior to the refurbishment work being carried out.

Other substantial donations were made by the Town Council Grants Aids Committee, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, Great Western Railway Retirement Section, the Marlborough Club and the Didcot Branches of the Royal Naval Association, United Services Association and the Royal British Legion.

I personally add my thanks to all donors for helping me to achieve the target date I set for the re-dedication, May 15 2001, the 80th anniversary of the original unveiling and dedication.

Reg Good. Committee Secretary

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St Peter's Church, Newlands Avenue, Didcot, Oxfordshire. OX11 8PY
Tel:01235 812114

© 2013 Keith Mintern