Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page
The Rushden Echo, 19th October 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins
A Memorial Service at St. Mary's

Rushden’s Fallen Heroes

Impressive Discourse by the Rector

Touching Tribute to Lieut. S. T. Fox - 'He Died-At His Post' — 'Service-Vision'

An impressive memorial service for men and lads from St. Mary’s Parish, Rushden, who have fallen in action, since the last public memorial service on April 30th, 1916, was held at St. Mary’s Church, Rushden, o Sunday evening, and was conducted by the Rector (the Rev. P. E. Robson), the hallowed edifice being crowded to its utmost capacity. As the congregation assembled, Guilmant’s Funeral Mcrh in C Minor was played by the organist (Mr. J. Enos Smith). The congregation included representatives of the Rushden Lodge of Freemasons, who attended out of respect to the memory of the late Second-Lieut. S. T Fox, a member of the Order, and there were also present the Rushden Corps of the Church Lads’ Brigade, under Lieut. S. Bailey.

The service commenced with a procession up the aisle, headed by Mr. W. Ginns, senior, the oldest member of the choir, carrying a laurel wreath subscribed to by members of the choir and the organist in remembrance of those members of the choir who have given their lives in the service of their country. The wreath was received at the altar steps by the Rector, and placed at the foot of the altar, the choir meanwhile standing at the steps of the altar singing the burial sentences to an impressive setting by T. Helmore. Subsequently the choir returned to their places, and Psalms xxiii. And xlvi. Were sung. The lesson, which followed was taken from the opening verses of Revelations xxii., and the hymn "Jesu, Lover of my sould" was then sung.

The Rector, standing at the chancel steps, then read out the list of names of those fallen in action. Mentioning first those members of St. Mary’s choir, who had thus nobly died. The list of names was a sfollows:-

Members of the Choir
Alec Scott
Frank Sheffield
Horace Sheffield
Frank Smith
Cyril Wills
George Wigglesworth
Nelson Lynn
Percy Crane
Frank Charles
Leonard Sayers
Harry Hensman
St Mary's Parish
Harry Millard
Alec Harbour
George Clarke
Arthur Odell
Albert Busby
Edward Harrison
Charles Tew
Archie Mepham
Frederick Wooding
Percy Taylor
William Parker
Frank Cowley
Enos Shouler
Albert Cave
Leonard Cockings
Arthur Hooton
Horace Green
Cyril Jackson
Thomas Yorke
Arthur Underwood
Thomas Willis
John Bamford
Thomas Dickens
Harry Ekins
Sidney Matthews
Raymond Percival
Frederick Clayton
Arthur Bettles
Albert Clarke
Harry Tew
Jack Snowden
Charles Brown
Harold Taylor
Percy Ball
Lewis Craxton
Arthur Richardson
Harry Witney
Thomas Litchfield
Arthur Atkins
Victor Moon
Sidney Mackness
Charles Dilley
Thomas Harley
Jim Prestage
James Murden
Frank Chambers
John Underwood
Arthur Smith
William Okey
George Britchford
Jack Palmer
Frank Swingler
Bert Sherwood
Bert Taylor
Matthew Packwood
Ernest Hill
Fred Pollard
Sydney Perkins
Fred Archer
Albert Lawrence
Harry Wagstaff
Fay Line
Horace Clarke
Charles Onions
Horace Gilbert
Fred Leach
Roland Archer
Herbert Burton
Jack Throssell
Herbert Glidle
Alwyne Chubb
Dennis Denton
Eli Payne
Lionel Marlow
Walter Wooding
Herbert Houghton
Sonny Knight
Tom Dickens
William Smith
Bertie Robinson
Horace Field
William Desborough
Harry Clayton
Sidney Fox
Harry Field
Oswald Knight
Frank Bell

Whilst the congregation remained standing, Spohr’s beautiful setting of "Blest are the departed" was sung, the quartette being taken by Messrs. L. Hanger, Miss G. Robinson, Mr. A. Packwood, and Mr. H. Geary. Some special prayers followed, and the sermon was preceded by the hymn "Now the labourer’s task is o’er".

"A Solemn and Sacred Purpose"

The Rector, who based his address upon the words "His servants shall serve Him, and they shall see His face" (Revelations xxii. 3 and 4), said:-

We are met together this evening for a solemn and sacred purpose. Here, in this Parish Church, this congregation have assembled to pay their last tribute of respect to the honoured dead—to those lads and men who, "counting not their lives dear unto themselves", have laid them down on the field of battle for the sake of their home and motherland. We, in this parish, have been called to take our full share of the supreme sacrifice, a sacrifice from which no parish has been spared. It was a long list which I read—87 names— of those who have fallen during the past 18 months, whose homes were here in this parish, and to many of whom this church was their spiritual home, where they were baptised, received the sacrament, and worshipped. Some of these, whose names were read together, and to whose memory a wreath has been placed at the foot of the altar, a wreath which was borne up the aisle by the oldest member of the choir, were those who Sunday by Sunday as boys or men led the singing from their places in the choir. It is pathetic that we hear their voices no more, but it is good to know that they "sing a new song", a song they could never sing here, the song of the Redeemed in Paradise.

I hope I shall not be misunderstood if from the long list which has been read out I single out for special mention one name. I would not wish to suggest that to any should be given a special distinction in the place of honour, where all have made the supreme sacrifice, but there is one whose name has been freshly added, whose loss has touched very closely this church and congregation, and whose loss is felt by the town and you brother Freemasons who are here tonight. I refer to Sidney Fox. For eight years he was master of the National School and was superintendent of that Sunday school in the mornings. He won the respect and love both of the teachers and children. He was strict, for he knew the value of discipline, but he was always kind and just, ever ready with his sympathy and help. He worked hard for the Church, for he loved it, and his high sense of duty as a Churchman made him respond unselfishly and with readiness to all the claims which the Church made upon his time and ability. A high sense of duty ruled his life. It was this that sent him to the Colours in the early days of the war, this which in the hour of parting from his wife and child kept him calm and brave. It was his duty, his due to his God and his country—he must do it. He died—as I have heard from the commanding officer—"at his post". He was always "at his post". Blessed is the man whom the Lord, when He cometh, shall find ready—"at his post". We mourn him, as we mourn all who have died in their country’s cause. We grieve at their loss, we grieve that we shall never see them again in our midst. We shall miss their service, their friendship, and all that endeared them to our hearts, and we pray God, of His tender compassion, to bring comfort to the homes and hearts that are desolate. May He help them to bear the pain of parting from those they love, and when time, with its gentle hand, has softened the blow, may they be able to look, not on the darkness but on the light; not on the life cut off, but on the sacrifice offered; not on the death as a final parting, but on to the day when, through the Mercy of God, through the triumph of Christ over death, they shall see them once more, never again to be parted.

Perhaps it will help us all on an occasion such as this if we try to think not of our loss, but of their gain. It was for this reason that I chose the text, for in a single sentence it gives a picture of the life after death which awaits the soul. How often in these days, when the Angel of Death has seemed to hover over us have we been forced to think of what comes after death.

Note: a long transcript of the whole address is printed, and concludes:

So let us think of them, let us think often. We do wrong to put them from our thoughts. They are nearer than we know. The Church Militant and the Church Expectant are in one communion and fellowship. So may God help us ever to strive to live worthily here so that when our life’s work is done we may join them.

"Where loyal hearts and true
Stand ever in the light,
All raptured through and through
In God’s most holy sight".

The sermon was followed by the hymn "O Paradise, O Paradise", during which the offertory, which amounted to nearly £5, was taken on behalf of the Rushden Red Cross Fund. After the blessing, the "Dead March in Saul" was played by the organist (Mr. J. E. Smith), this being accompanied by Drummers Moore and C. Packwood, of the C.L.B. The organist contributed Beethoven’s Funeral March as the congregation dispersed.

Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the Churches & Chapels index
Click here to e-mail us