The East Kennett memorial can be found on the north wall inside Christ Church, East Kennett. Research on the nine names listed on the plaque below was published in 2014 in an Upper Kennet Benefice booklet by John Hutchings and Geoffrey Gibson-Piggott. A copy of the booklet is held in Christ Church and also in the Merchant’s House archives in Marlborough. Further information on the background of the East Kennett memorial can be found under West Overton.
East Kennett: WWI War Memorial
The Marlborough Times, Friday 7th May 1920
The East Kennett War Memorial dedicated by the Archdeacon of Wiltshire
The little church of East Kennett was crowded on Tuesday evening last, on the occasion of the dedication of the memorial to the men of the parish who gave their lives in the Great War. The memorial, the work of Messrs. Turvey and Perrin, of Bath, is in the form of a tablet on the north wall of the church. It was surrounded by a large laurel wreath, made by Miss Mary Smith. On the tablet is inscribed in letters of gold: “To the glory of God and the honoured memory of the following men who gave their lives in the Great War, 1914-1918: Henry Brindle, Percy Culley, Robert Culley, William Culley, Albert Franklin, Edward Gove, Harry Gove, Richard North, and Geoffrey Redman. “Valiant in fight!” “
Before the service, the organist (Mrs Arnold) played Mendelssohn’s Funeral March, after which the hymn “Soldiers who are Christ’s below” was sung as a processional. In addition to the Venerable Archdeacon Bodington there were present: the Vicar (the Rev. J.W.C. Smyth) and the Rev.T.G. Morres, Vicar of Overton, while the choir was supplemented by members of Overton choir. The Archdeacon opened the service with prayers for the fallen and then Psalm xxiii was said. The lesson from the third chapter of the Book of Wisdom was read by the the Rev. T.G. Morres. Then the clergy and choir proceeded to the tablet, where the Archdeacon dedicated it with these words: “I dedicate this tablet to the glory of God, in loving and grateful memory of those who gave their lives in the Great War.” While all were still standing the organist played the Dead March in Saul most impressively, after which the hymn “The son of God goes forth to war” was sung.
The Archdeacon took as his text Wisdom, iii, 9. They had gathered together, he said, and filled that church, as he found they always did on those occasions, to honour their loved ones who had given their lives to win the war. He considered there were two things that won the war; one was the unity of spirit, which made all as one, and so enabled them to win through the difficulties that beset their path. It was the same spirit that at the beginning of the war united all classes, all opinions, and all interests. The other thing was the spirit of the men, which, after all, was much the same thing as the spirit of the people at home. It could all be summed up as the national spirit. The sprit of those men – the contemptible little army – was superb. They faced these terrible dangers without flinching because they knew they were fighting for the principles of right against the powers of darkness. When ordered to retreat they retreated, but they did not acknowledge defeat, and when told to advance against overwhelming odds they cheerfully and obediently obeyed. The Archdeacon said he did not know the men whose death they in that parish were mourning, but he supposed they were very like other men. They were not perfect, those men who died, and some of them no doubt had their faults, but they all had a spark of goodness in them, and that prompted them to go out and fight for their country and the principles of right. And now they were wondering where their dear ones were after death. There was a thick curtain between this world and the place they were, and he did not think God meant them to see what was on the other side, although people professed to know by means of spiritualism. In the Bible was the passage, “They that are faithful in life shall abide in Christ.” Therefore they might have comfort and assurance, for those who gave their lives were certainly faithful in life. They preferred their country and their comrades to themselves, and by their sacrifice they were lifted up with Christ on Calvary and to the Cross of their Saviour. The speaker always liked to think of the dead as having gone to Christ’s school – a place of preparation for the next world. There they would learn to know the goodness and greatness of God and they would feel a little ashamed of their own unworthiness. They would have been sorry they had not seen the errors of their ways on earth, but nevertheless God in his mercy would teach them His righteousness and truth. Gathered there that day they should think of what their loved ones who had died would have them to do while yet on earth. Surely those departed would wish them give up any bad habits and learn more about God. That would wish them to give up such sins as desire of riches, inordinate excitement and pleasure. He did not meant to say they had too much pleasure; in many places he was sure they did not have enough, but what he meant was putting pleasure before all other things. That was one of the commonest sins of the present day. He urged them to try and make their village and neighbourhood a little brighter and more attractive by their presence and when they joined those they were mourning they would know that they had carried out their wishes to the full.
After the address, hymn 499, “On the Resurrection Morning” was sung. Then rang out the impressive notes of the “Last Post”, sounded by Bugler Frank Peck. The Archdeacon pronounced the Blessing, and as a concluding voluntary the organist played “ The March of the Israelites” (Costa).
A guard of honour was formed by the Lockeridge Scouts, under Miss Giffard. The singing during the service was well rendered and hearty, and the whole service was appropriate and impressive.