A very impressive ceremony marked the unveiling and dedication of the Springfield Council School War memorial at Ipswich on Friday morning.
The memorial itself took the shape of a wooden panel, bearing the names of no less than 46 old boys who laid down their lives for their country in the war. Above the tablet hung a symbolic painting on canvas, by Mr. G. Rushton, of figures representing Justice relieving the oppressed. A beautiful wreath of white chrysanthemums was placed at the base, and above the roll of honour were the words, “To the glory of God, and in honoured memory,” and at the base, “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
In the unavoidable absence of the Chairman of the Managers, (Mr. S.Brand), the Rev. S.W. Key presided over a very large attendance, the
schoolroom being filled with scholars, and relatives of old and present pupils. Just before 11 a.m. the Head Master (Mr. C.W. Offord) called the gathering to join in a perfect silence, after which all joined in the singing of hymns “O God, our Help.” A scripture reading and prayer by
the Rev. S.W. Key was followed by a very beautiful rendering of the hymn “The Supreme Sacrifice” by the boys’ choir, which reflected great credit on their teacher.
The Head Master then read the names upon the roll of honour, which were:- Sidney Garner Bennett, William Clive Attewell, William Blowers, Charles Caley, Stanley Caley, Alfred William Coleman, Arthur Robert Cracknell, Alfred Charles Crooks, Thomas Dibble, Arthur Charles Edwards, Harry Fellingham, Herbert Harward, Cyril Hicks, Arthur Hill, Sidney Hudson, Sidney Knevett Hudson, Alan Maurice Jackaman, Stanley Jackaman, William Jackaman, Harry Jowers, Ernest Keeler, Frank Lark, William Last, Ernest Laws, Stanley Laws, Albert Mann, James Meakings, Alfred Sidney Nicholls, William Powell, Charles Ratcliffe, Leslie Ratcliffe, George Harry Richardson, Fred Riches, James Roper, William Roxborough, Lewis Cooper Sawyer, Peter Scoffield, Fred William Self, Percy Self, Bertie Shemmings, Robert William Sizer, Edward Smith, Alfred Sparrow, Hansard Squirrell, Sidney Vincent, William Wisby and F.W. Mussett. (these names may have been recorded incorrectly. )
The memorial was then unveiled by Lieut. Colonel Frank Pretty, the dedication prayer being offered by the Rev. E.J. Gilchrist, and an
eloquent address on “Poppies and their meaning” was given by the Rev. H.Stevens, whose thoughts were not only beautiful in their simplicity, but admirably expressed to an audience young in years, but nevertheless obviously alive to the deep seriousness of the occasion.
The sounding of the “Last Post” and the “Reveille” and the singing of “Fight the good fight” and National Anthem concluded a most impressive and beautiful ceremony. Amongst those present were the Rev. H. Bennett, North Walsham and his daughter, Mrs. Aldridge, Father and sister of Lieut. S.G. Bennett, whose name headed the roll of honour, and who was formerly a master at Springfield Schools.
A letter from a regimental Chaplain to the mother:
All Saints Day Nov 1st 1915
Dear Mrs Shemming
We laid the earthly remains of your boy to rest in the beautiful little Cemetery close to the Old Norman Church belonging to this village.
The Union Jack covered the coffin as it was brought to the grave. There were flowers from the Sisters, and the French soldiers (some of them) who joined the guard gave some too. There were about 30 other soldiers present. We said a prayer among the other prayers for you who were not able to be present with us. The “last post” sounded on the Bugle concluded the service. So there remains the earthly body of your dear boy, till the Resurrection morning, but his spirit is in Paradise we hope, wherein we hope you will meet him later on. The bright spirit which peeped courageously from his eyes has now gone to be at rest.
The Sisters tell me that he recovered consciousness within a short time of his death to say “Goodbye, I am going”. Later on he said “Good Gracious”. I have wondered whether he said that in surprise because of his peep into the next world. You may like to know that I referred to your boy in a Sermon yesterday. I didn’t mention his name. I was speaking of the bright leaves on the trees in the Autumn of the dying year said that the short Autumn of you boy’s life – his suffering bravery born with courage and unselfishness were like those bright beautiful leaves.
But we can bear the Autumn and Winter because of the other Spring which will follow and so we hope for another Spring and God does give it – the joyful Resurrection. Meanwhile your boy’s spirit is not dead but is living and waiting and at peace
God bless and comfort you
Yours very truly