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Remembrance Act of Worship at Charlotteville

Published on: 14 Nov, 2021
Updated on: 15 Nov, 2021

Report and photos by Julie Howarth

In contrast to 2020’s lockdown-limited Remembrance Act of Worship and laying of poppy wreaths, about 40 local residents and others from further afield were able to gather at the Charlotteville war memorial in Addison Road for the annual Saturday service on November 13.

The Remembrance Act of Worship at Charlotteville.

The service was conducted by the Revd Rod Pierce of Holy Trinity Church and included the Last Post, two-minute silence and Reveille and the singing of a hymn and the national anthem  – without restriction!

Josh Goodwin lays a wreath.

Wreaths were laid by Surrey County Cllr Fiona Davidson, Guildford Borough Cllr Maddy Redpath, ex-serviceman Josh Goodwin and Ian Nicholls. The children of Charlotteville were represented by Dempsey and Hollybell, who laid a poppy wreath.

Val Crompton, and her husband Nigel, commemorated Val’s Newman relatives while David Bennett laid a wreath in memory of his uncle Ronald Durbridge who he never got to know. Ron served with the RAF as a pilot in 612 Squadron and died, aged 20, when his plane crashed in March 1941.

Val and Nigel Crompton lay their wreath.

Herbert Washington of Cline Road, a civilian who worked in the Alexandra Laundry also died 80 years ago when German bombs fell on Cline and Addison Roads during the early hours of May 12, 1941. Extensive damage to houses was caused and others were seriously injured. Both Ronald and Herbert are commemorated on the Charlotteville War Memorial.

Alf Watling, an ex-serviceman, recited the Ode of Remembrance and The Kohima Epitaph. Alf will be moving away in the coming months so this will be his last time laying a wreath on behalf of the Addison Court residents.

Alf Watling.

When Alf moved into Addison Court 30 years ago, he observed that each November a poppy wreath would appear by the memorial and then it stopped. This inspired him to re-instate the service that had lapsed. Alf was given a round of applause for his valued contribution to ensuring that the local remembrance tradition continues.

A moving reflection was given by Addison Road resident, Jonathan Mitchell who is the co-ordinator of the Pewley Downs Conservation volunteers.

Jonathan focused on the gifting of Pewley Down by Charles Hoskins Master and the directors of the Friary Brewery in 1920. Click here for previous story.

A stone pedestal was erected 100 years ago this month. This piece of land had already been proposed as a memorial to the fallen but cost was prohibitively high until the brewery stepped in. Without the sacrifice made by the local servicemen and their families it is highly probable the land would have been developed for housing.

Jonathan went on to say that the recent purchase of Pewley Meadows is also a gift to future generations. Click here for previous story.

The sights and sounds of Pewley and its flora and fauna would have been familiar to the men on the memorial. The battlefields of France share a common geology with the downs and song of the skylarks, so common on the downs, were mentioned by the men who fought in France.

The reflection ended with a recording of the song of the skylark.

At the end of the service, Julie Howarth and Ian Nicholls drew attention to a small outdoor poster display with a reminder that the stories of those who served and some history of the community of St Luke’s can be found of the Charlotteville War Memorial website.

The Charlotteville War Memorial.

The weather being dry and mild, many stayed on for about an hour to enjoy a catch-up in the fresh air.

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