BANBRIDGE

 AND

 DISTRICT

War Memorial

  UNVEILING

AND

 DEDICATION

 SATURDAY

 30th JUNE

 1923

 ORDER OF SERVICE AND

 ROLL OF HONOUR

ORDER  Of  SERVICE

 Mr. J. G. Coburn will move that the chair be taken by

The Right Hon. John M. Andrews, D. L. M. P.

Introductory Address by Chairman

Psalm X c.

(Tune-Irish)

                                   O God our help in ages past,

                          A thousand ages, in Thy sight,

                                   Our hope for years to come,

                          Are like an evening gone ;

                                   Our shelter from the stormy blast,

                          Short as the watch that ends the night,

                                   And our Eternal home!

                          Before the rising sun.

 

 

                                   Beneath the shadow of Thy throne,

                          Time, like an ever rolling stream,

                                   Thy saints have dwelt secure;

                          Bears all its sons away ;

                                   Sufficient is Thine arm alone,

                          They fly ,forgotten as a dream,

                                   And our defence is sure.

                          Dies at the opening day.

 

 

                                   Before the hills in order stood,

                          O God, our help in ages past,

                                   Or earth received her frame,

                          Our hope for years to come,

                                   From everlasting Thou art God,

                          Be Thou our guard while troubles last,

                                   To endless years the same.

                          And our eternal home.

   

 

Address and Unveiling of the Memorial

 By Colonel the Rt. Hon. R.D. Perceval-Maxwell, D. L.,D. S. O.

The Dead March Will be Played

Dedicatory Prayer

Colonel The Rev. D. H. Hanson, M.A.

The Names of the Fallen

Will be read by Mr. S. Fryar, Urban Council

The Last Post

Address by the Lord Bishop of Down

The Right Rev. C. T. P. Grierson, D. D.

Peace Thanksgiving

(Tune-Old Hundreth)

 

We thank, Thee O our God, for this

Safe in Thy love we leave our dead ;

Long fought -for, hoped-for,prayed -for peace

Heal all the wounds that war has made,

Thou dost cast down, and Thou upraise ;

And help us to uproot each wrong,

Thy hand doth order all our ways.

Which still among us waxeth strong.

 

Lift all our hearts to nobler life,

Break all the bars that hold apart

For ever freed from fear of strife ;

All men of nobler mind and heart ;

Let all me everywhere in Thee,

Let all men find alone in Thee

Possess their souls in liberty.

Their one and only sovereignty !

 

Reveille

Address to the Moderator of the General  Assembly

Right Rev. George Thompson, D. D.

Mrs. N.D. Ferguson will on behalf of the Committee, hand over the

Memorial and Roll of Honour to the custody of the Urban Council.

Acceptance of Memorial by Mr. S. Fryar, Chairman.

Recessional Hymn

(Tune-Berridge)

 

                    God of our fathers, known of old,

                        Far called, our navies melt away ;

                    Lord of our far-flung battle-line,

                        On dune and headland sinks the fire ;

                    Beneath whose awful hand we hold

                        Lo, all our pomp of yesterday

                    Dominion over palm and pine-

                        Is one with Nineveh and Tyre !

                    Lord God of Hosts,be with us yet,

                        Judge of the nations, spare us yet,

                    Lest we forget-lest we forget !

                        Lest we forget-lest we forget !

 

 

                    The tumult and the shouting dies ;

                        If, drunk with sight of power, we loose

                    The captains and the kings depart,

                        Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe ,

                    Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,

                        Such boastings as the Gentiles use,

                    An humble a contrite heart,

                        Or lesser breeds  without the law-

                    Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

                        Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

                    Lest we forget-lest we forget !

                        Lest we forget-lest we forget !

 

For heathern heart, that puts her trust

 In reeking tube and iron shard,

All valiant dust that builds on dust,

And guarding, calls not Thee to guard-

For frantic boast and foolish word-

Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord !

 

  National Anthem

 God save our gracious King ;

Long live our noble King ;

God save the King !

Send him victorious,

Happy and glorious ;

Long to reign over us,

God save the King

 

Placing Wreaths   “In Remembrance”

The first wreath will be laid by Colonel the Rt. Hon. R.D. Perceval-Maxwell,

Dl. D. S. O., on behalf of the ex servicemen, and by the Chairman on behalf

Of the Urban Council

Memoir

Between those fateful days, 4th August 1914 and 11th November, 1918, the world was in the melting pot and history was made at a pace and in a volume hitherto unprecedented. Those direful years covered the deepest and the greatest changes yet known in the painful evolution of the human race. That tragedy and those changes have left their mark in Banbridge and the Valley of the Bann-a mark deep scored and sombre, which the weathering of many generations may soften down but never wholly efface: gentle tendrils of a new growth of hopes and aspirations are already beginning, in the merciful providence of nature, to veil its outlines and will, as the years pass, clothe it in a foliage of new born sympathies, interests and joys; but the scar will still be there-potent, suggestive and unforgettable-for even its verdure will spring from roots struck deep in loss and sorrow of the past.
 

We desire in this Memorial pamphlet to add a spray to that renascent bloom; a tribute to the fine work of our people in the war-a work done, surely, well enough to justify abounding hope and insure in its future fruitfulness against any blighting chill of remorse. We desire also to lay a wreath of Letters on the Tomb of those brave men whom patriotism and duty called from their quiet homes in the Valley of the Bann to the field of their country's agony. The arts too , will help to perpetuate the memory of their sacrifice and suffering in the Memorial Statue soon to be unveiled in the dear home town to which their last thought turned; the most lasting record of all will be in the hearts and minds of those who knew and loved them, and of the children yet unborn who will learn from wise and brave Ulster mothers to lisp their names with reverence. The pen may record their service ; stone prolong the memory of it , but their real immortality lies in the respect and gratitude of the generations they adorned and of the generations yet to be they helped.
Prior to 1914 the Valley of the Bann had been wrapped in peace for centuries; its people pursued their quiet uneventful way far from the strife of the madding crowd;
 

The drums of war had never throbbed along its hillsides, nor wakened echoes in the windings of its river; save for some tribal fights in "old forgotten far off days" it had been a home of ancient peace. In it the conquests of Marlborough were but a legend;
the Peninsular War a bit of history; the Crimea caused a ripple; the Boer War was interesting ; but to us had been unknown the horror of war and, save in very slight degree, its pomp and circumstance; a soldier was a curiousity, a naval man something to wonder at, an airman never seen. The people were absorbed in agriculture, industry and commerce, unagressive, un military, wishing only to pursue their useful lives in their ancient quietude.
Who would have believed that anything short of a direct attack upon their homes could have roused to War a community so peaceful!. What student of his kind would have forecasted so startling a change or detected the deep rooted patriotism and love of justice that, when the call came, raised this quiet folk into the Warriors they showed themselves to be.
 

But when on the 4th. August, 1914, peace , despite all efforts, had to fold her drooping wings and Bellona's trumpet sounded through the land, our folk with the rest of the British peoples, felt instinctively the call was in a just cause, and answered it in a way that proved for evermore that it was their right and their pride to regard themselves as a worthy part of the great Empire which has now to put to the test its right to live in Justice, Peace and Honour.
The old warlike zeal of their ancestors rose from lethargy-the ancient fighting spirit of Angle or Saxon or Dane awoke in their descendants; like their Viking forefathers a thousand years earlier, our people moved to War in joyful strength and sterness and -as their memorial shows-in the majesty of achievement and self sacrifice.
 

They went to war believing their cause was just; mainly inspired, however not by altruistic ideas of ethical justice or the wrongs of Belgium, but by the real primeval patriotism which seeks only to know that one's country is attacked, that the Motherland is in danger and needs her sons; they went in the spirit of Paul Decatur's famous toast:-" Gentlemen, my Country may she be always right, but right or wrong, my Country!".
That is the purest patriotism; the man who loves his Country so, will always wish to see her causes and ideals as untarnished as her arms.
 

This spirit inspired our people-soldiers, workers, men and woman alike. Within a month hundreds of our men were under arms; almost at once our factories were producing war material; the different organisations for the help and comfort of the troops and in aid of war funds and charities were soon set going which during four and a half years brought untold encouragement and aid to the men on active service and their dependents at home, and reflected boundless credit on many willing workers and many willing givers. Any attempt at accurate enumeration here of the funds raised and the gifts of comforts and necessaries so generously provided by our people-any estimate on a commercial basis of the results of their endless self-sacrifice and kindness-would be a sordid desecration of the noble spirit of patriotic fervour, great heartness and self-lessness they showed; sufficient acknowledgment has, perhaps, not been given of the splendid work and fine courage of the people at home; at times they may have thought the labour and the sacrifice were partly vain; if so they erred, as a visit to the front and a real knowledge of how much their goodness meant to men on active service would have speedily convinced them; it was not the material benefit alone;

no soldier but was cheered by their kindness, nor uplifted and inspired by the certainty that his home folk were with him in spirit and behind him with aid and sympathy to the bitter end.
Yes the work of our people was splendid; there are many names of men and woman amongst us which deserve to be written in gold, and which, if the soldiers had their way, would gladly be given the places of their own on the Memorial.
That may not be , but none of those who served abroad will ever forget the many big hearted men and great souled and gentle natured woman who, for so many weary years, worked for and thought of them nor ever cease in thankfulness that his native place is the Valley of the Bann and that his lot was cast among so fine a people and in so fair a land.
 

The deeds of our men in War are part of history now; there is no need for us to praise them; that has been done generously by the highest British and French judges of martial valour, discipline and prowess.
We need only be proud of them. They went from all classes- from farm and factory and office; from humble cottage and from stately home; boys in life's spring time; young men in their early bloom ; men in the flower of life; men whose verdure the Autumn tints had touched- alike they went for Motherland and Ulster.
 

Freely as they went, they were as freely and as bravely given by those on whom the bitter loss would fall. Father, mother, wife and lover bade their men "God speed" sadly, but proudly too, for their cause was just and they were men. Our woman were magnificent! How they suffered! How they worked and endured and helped their men to deeds of high emprise! With aching hearts but eyes bright, how they cheered and encouraged them; how often and with what anguish in her soul many a Lady bright smiled upon some gallant Knight in that Valley of - the Bann; ( some simple soldier, perhaps, to whom love of her had given a Knightly soul ) and went home to the solitude and the waiting and the dread.
 

Woman won the franchise in the war, but, far more than that, they won also the enduring admiration and devotion of every true man.
To those who did not come back, to the men numbered among the great dead, we bow in silent reverence; with grief and pride commingled, with Gods ancient sacrifice, a humble and a contrite heart. They added lustre to their Country's honour and brought glory to their native place; they bought for us the right to live in quiet homes in the shade of peace and freedom, untrammelled by a conqueror. Well as they had fought, they died as well; bravely they trod their via dolorosa ; how could men die better; with their backs to England and their faces to her foes they died with the aureole of duty done upon their brows; with the guerdon of successful effort, of an unviolated shore, an unravaged countryside and an enduring memory as their heritage in this world, and an honoured place and welcome high among the spirits of their fathers in Valhalla.
 

Charon must have smiled as he ferried their gallant souls across the river and we may be sure, refused the proffered drachmas and doffed his hat in high salute with" Pass on Gentlemen of Ulster, pass to your reward"
Such men are not dead ; they live an ampler life elsewhere ; to them we shall not say farewell but humbly cherish the hope that we may
"Say not Good-night, but in some happier clime
Bid them Good-morning"
 

For those who lost them the measure of our pity and sympathy is full, we know the splendid boys and men they lost , the hopeless void their passing caused when time seemed to stand still and all thoughts and feelings melt in a wild swirl of numbing wretchedness and sense of desolation ; we know how many a mothers anxious schemes, how many rapturous thoughts of lovers, how many a cherished fathers dreams melted in chaos and black night in that fearful four years holocaust. Their sense of grief and loss can only be soothed by the healing touch of Times gentle fingers-when pride shall slowly vanquish grief, by the consciousness that their loved ones died, as brave men would always die, in the service of God and their Country , that now the peace that knows no breaking has enfolded them in soft and jealous wings, that their great souls have found a fitting home and their memory an everlasting fragrance.
 

With all who suffered , with all who mourn " for precious friends hid in death's dateless night" in this Valley of the Bann, its great hearted people have a warm enduring sympathy, a compassion equalled only by their pride in those that died.
And so the people of our Valley may thank God in all humility that they did their duty well ; that when the trial came they rose to a great occasion worthily, that the old ancestral warlike spirit woke again within them and proved that the war wings on the helmets of their Northmen forefathers were truly typical of the eagle spirit of their descendants a thousand years later. Their dead deserve, and they have earned the right to give them, a majestic Memorial ; they and their succeeding generations through the years to come may look upon it with thankfulness and pride without a blush,

for their ancestors, and, if Britain to herself prove true, without a fear for their posterity.
These Memorials scattered throughout the land and the massed multitudes of silent witnesses in the cemeteries of France to the horror and desolation of War are powerful advocates for peace. We can but trust that their existence will eventually serve to draw peoples together in sanity and self-control even as the relations between our Empire and the great French nation are already set on the deep rooted bases of a common heroism and common agony.
Results following on the war have not yet been in accordance with our hopes, the outlook at times, seems dark enough but we shall face it, as our men faced death, with head and heart high.

 

Say not the struggle naught availeth
The labour and the wounds are vain
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain

If hopes were dupes , fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke conceal'd,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When the daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly!
But westward, look, the land is bright.