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Lest we forget. 1919, the dedication of Child Okeford’s wayside Cross.

Western Gazette, Friday, 14th November 1919


A handsome wayside cross has been erected at the junction of the cross-roads in the centre of this picturesque little old-world village as a war memorial. The cross, the cost of which has been defrayed by local subscription, stands on the site of the old village cross, the history of which is lost in antiquity. The design is distinctly Gothic, and in many ways it resembles the well-known Stalbridge cross. It stands on an octagonal base of four steps, the lowest of which is 16½ feet across. Into the block immediately under the cross portions of the sandstone in the old cross have been included. Round the first base the following inscription has been carved:

To the glory of God. In memory of the men of Childe Okeford and Hanford who served their King and country in the Great War, 1914-18, remembering especially before God those who gave their lives, whose names are inscribed below.

On each of the sides of the lower base appear the names of those who fell in the war as follows:

Capt NJC Livingstone-Learmonth, Lieut HRS Bower, Lieut MS Bower, Lieut PC Knight, Sergt CA Moore, Corpl GH Moore, Corpl C Wareham, Pte AE Cobbold, Pte CM Cluett, Pte GRF Davies, Pte AE Elsworth, Pte W Fudge, Pte CE Gillingham, Pte EE Hall, Pte TG Hatcher, R Holdway (HMS Prince of Wales), Pte F Kingsbury, W Lyons (HMS Bulwark), Pte CS Moore, Pte A Quick, Pte T Rawlings, Pte J Read, Pte HL Savory, Pte AW Sheppard and Pte H Smith.

The canopy of the cross is a beautiful piece of carving. On the western side is a crucifix, on the east the resurrection, on the north the diocesan arms and St Nicholas (patron saint of the church) on the south. At the base of the cross on the western side is a figure of St George. The memorial altogether is a fine piece of work and reflects much credit on the architect (Mr WD Caroe, of Westminster SW) and builder (Mr Merrick of Glastonbury).

The dedication of the cross took place on Thursday, afternoon, when the ceremony was performed by the Bishop of Salisbury, in the presence of a large gathering. Prior to the ceremony a service was performed in St Nicholas Church during the course of which a memorial window, placed in the western end of the church, was also dedicated. The church was filled to its utmost capacity before the commencement of the service and while the congregation assembled the organist (Mr TA Bevis) played appropriate music including ‘Lamentation’ (Lange-Muller) and ‘Farewell’ (Stanford). The processional hymn was ‘Praise my soul the King of Heaven’ and while it was being sung the choir and clergy proceeded to the chancel. The clergy present were:

Revd EWJ Hollins (Marnhull)

Revd RE Grundy (Shroton)

Revd E Chapel-Cure (Stour Provost)

Revd JH Cooke LLD (Shillingstone)

Revd CP Edmunds (Fontmell Magna)

Revd GF Matthews (Winterbourne Stickland)

Revd R Ryder (Iwerne Minster – who carried the pastoral staff) and

Revd CH Bower, Rector.

Psalm 121 was chanted to an appropriate setting and the succeeding prayers were read by the Rector. Stainer’s anthem ‘What are these?’ was then sung by the choir in an effective manner.

The Bishop followed with a short, appropriate, address which was followed by the hymn ‘The saints of God, their conflict past’.

A procession was then made to the western end of the Church, where the Bishop dedicated a new stained glass window which had been placed there by Captain HGS and Mrs Bower in memory of their eldest son. The window is of an ornate character. The four central panels represent St Oswald, St Michael, St Gabriel and St Edmund whilst the lower panels are representative of knightly chivalry. In the upper and lower lights are the emblems of faith and hope, the arms of St Nicholas, the arms of the Diocese of Salisbury, the Repton School crest, the crest of the 1st South Stafford Regiment and the family arms, whilst in the lower right light is the following inscription: ‘To the glory of God, in memory of Henry Raymond Syndercombe Bower, Lieutenant, 1st Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment, eldest son of Henry and Charlotte Bower.

The procession then went to the wayside cross there the Bishop gave the usual dedicatory prayers. The proceedings terminated with the singing of the National Anthem followed by a roll by the drummers and the sounding of the Last Post by buglers of the Dorsetshire Regiment. A large number of wreaths had been placed around the cross by relatives previous to the service.


A copy of the memorial service . 1919 Dedication of the Wayside Cross and Memorial window