From The Kent and Sussex Courier, Friday 19th August 1921
DEDICATION CEREMONY BY ARCHDEACON SCOTT AND COLONEL CORNWALLIS.
Unique, practical and worthy is the form that the War Memorial for the parish of Capel has taken-the erection of houses for war pensioners or war sufferers. The opening ceromony took place on Saturday afternoon. The two cottages are of one storey, and consist of living room and bedroom. scullery with copper and sink and South Kent water, and the usual offices. A feature of the houses are the oak doors and the use of Solignum for the Interior of the walls, etc. Messrs. Hoare and Wheeler of Portland Street, Portland Square, London, were the architects. Mr. Wheeler being personally responsible, while Mr. H. Lawrence, of Capel. was the contractor, and has carried out the building in careful and satisfactory style. The actual cost is about £1100, but the houses qualify for the Ministry of Health subsidy of £230. Colonel d'Avigdor Goldsmid kindly gave the site, which is situate near Capel Schools, and the farming community have contributed generously to the scheme.
Sunday was observed in Capel as the Hospital Parade, and the local Friendly Societies paraded with banners and regalia from Five Oak Green to Tudeley, collecting for local Hospitals, even holding up a group of Pressmen proceeding in a car to the War Memorial. There were slight showers during the afternoon, but not sufficient to interfere with the order of the ceremony.
The War Memorial Committee was composed as follows Colonel O. E. d'Avigdor Goldsmid (Chairman), Rev. T. Mason, Messrs. E. F. Looker, E. Wickens, A. Burton, W. Bridges, F. Coomber, W. Adams, F. Jenner, E. Tully, A. Buggs and W. Tolhurst, Hon. Secretary and Treasurer.
On the walls of the cottages facing the road is the inscription, "In memory of those who fell in the War 1914-1918." and beneath in two panels were the names of the 32 men as follows: E. Acott, W. Attwood, B. D. Avis, L. W. Avis, F. Buggs, E. Cooper, G. Crouch, R. Ellis, W. Flint, J. Funnell, H. Green. G. Harris, F. Hudson, W. Joy, P. Kee,. J. Keel, 0. J. Lachlan, G. Leach, F. McQueen, G. Pearson, P. Reid, F. Seabrook, A. E. Stevens, W. T. Stevens, W. Sturt, S. Towner, J. Towner, A. Tully, R. Tompsett, H. E. Wakeford, F. Wakeford.
The unveiling ceremony was performed by Colonel F. S. W. Cornwallis, Chairman of the Kent County Council, and the dedication by the Archdeacon of Tonbridge (the Ven. A. T. Scott). On the platform were the Vicar (the Rev T. Mason), the Rev. J. G. W. Farley (Assistant-Priest St. Augustine's, Stepney, the Rev. M. S. Le Grice, Mr. and Mrs. d'Avigdor Goldsmid, Mrs. Scott, Mrs. Rae, Mr. and Mrs. A. Padget Hedges, Mr. E. B. Hoare, Mr. E. F. Looker and Mr. W. Tolhurst. Among the assembly were Colonel and Mrs. Frank Harris, Miss Harris, Mr. G. Cawston and Miss Wallis, Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Waite, Mr. and Mrs. T. D. Harris, Mr. W. Burton, Mr. C. Pemble, Mr. F. Croraber, Mr. B. Lawrence and Mr. W. Hobbis.
The service commenced with the hymn "For all the Saints." The Rev. T. Mason read as the lesson 1 Thessalonians iv. to end. and the Rev. M S. Le Grice in prayer offered thanksgiving for the noble example of the fallen, pleaded for comfort for the bereaved, and blessing on the parish and the nation. The Archdeacon recited the dedicatory prayers and J. S. Arkwright's hymn, "The Supreme Sacrifice," was sung. The Rev. J. Q W. Farley read special Collects and the choir chanted Psalm xxiii.
BRAVE SONS OF CAPEL.
Colonel CORNWALLIS, before unveiling the memorial tablets on the cottages, addressed the assemblage. He said: We are met to-day to do all the honour in our power to the men who went from this village of Capel to fight for King and Country. We have in special remembrance those who fell and are gone from us. Memorials to the fallen have been erected in every parish and in every town, and it is the universal testimony that it is impossible to recall any ceremony which has brought together by so common an impulse every member of the community. What is the main cause? Is it not because we feel that we can never re-pay, never sufficiently honour them? Is it not because we feel that these men were put to strain, were tested as men were never tested before and were not found wanting? As a nation, as a village, we are justly proud of that fact. We are proud of them, and feel that however beautiful, however fortunate our form of memorial may take, nothing that we can do can exceed the honour due to them. The memory of their tenacity, their valour, their love of country, their sacrifice, can never fail. For in every village and every township, in some prominent place, where all can see, we have erected memorials to them, "Lest we forget." We of this generation shall not forget, but our desire is that day to day and year to year, future generations shall be reminded of the sacrifice made for them that they might remain citizens of a free, liberty-loving and unconquered country.
The men of Capel went out to fight at King and Country's call, some on one Continent, some on another. Some lay in well-kept graveyards in foreign lands, and it is a happy thought to know how well those cemeteries are cared for. Some, alas! in unknown graves. But those who returned to us found Capel as they left it, a smiling country village in our beautiful county. How different the fate of many villages in the countries of our Allies! How different the fate those villages and towns in France which the undamaged English towns are adopting, and whose restoration they are helping. Let us be ever grateful that the valour of the men we are here to honour to-day prevented the landing of a single enemy force on the shores of England.
HOMES FOR WARRIORS.
In that awful struggle, just as towns and villages were damaged, as orchards were ruined, so that they could no longer give their best, men were maimed and damaged, men to-day suffer in the daily struggle for life. You have determined that the form of your War Memorial shall take the provision of homes for them in the time of their decline. May these homes in the years to come give comfort and relief to those who have suffered, but deserve so well of us. We owe an unrepayable debt of gratitude and a duty to those who are still with us and we feel that those who are lost to us are looking to see that their sacrifice is repaid by all trying to do all in their power for their country, their county, their countrymen and countrywomen. One of our first thoughts to-day is one of sympathy with the bereaved. How few homes escaped entirely unscathed by the war. There is hardly a home but is mourning some dear one whose work here is finished, but whom we shall meet again after the brief space allotted to us on earth, where there will be no war or strife. The parting is but temporary; the reunion will be eternal. That is our belief and our comfort. While we honour to-day the men of Capel, we remember that they were soldiers of a great Army drawn from every part of the British Empire working with our Allies of France, Russia, Portugal, Italy, America, Japan and others; our kith and kin came from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Africa and wherever a British colony prospered under the British Flag, to fight for civilisation and freedom. Nothing but the strongest sense of the justice of the cause could have moved so deeply such masses of men. The victory was dearly and bravely won, and by an enormous sacrifice in many dark days. The whole world is still reeling from the effects. There is much to repair before we can say that the structure is sound again. We must all put our hands to the work of repair, collectively and individually, and having done so we may leave with confidence the issue in the hands of Him Who gave us the victory in the war. Under God the whole future of the world rests largely on the English-speaking race to-day. It is a great responsibility, a great heritage and a great trust. I have no fear but that they will be equal to it if they remember what their countrymen faced in the years 1914-18. And if they firmly and resolutely determine that no difficulty and no danger shall overcome them. I now have the honour to open these cottages built by the subscriptions of the parishioners of Capel devoted to the use of those aged citizens who have suffered bereavement in the war or who have themselves been disabled. As years roll on may they bring comfort in their old age those deserving people, and may it be said.
"How blest is he who crowns in shades like these
A youth of labour with an age of ease."
THE SPIRIT OF VICTORY.
The ARCHDEACON OF TONBRIDGE followed with a short address on the need for thanksgiving for the past and prayer for the future. As they looked on those fair fields in that beautiful garden of England they could not tell what might have been if their enemies had been successful. How could they ever be sufficiently thankful? They not only thanked God for that wonderful victory, but also for the causes which led to that victory. They believed the Almighty was on their side, and when they considered how the country was unprepared for the war and neither expected nor desired it, they thanked God for the wonderful way in which the people of England rose together as one man in their determination to defend their fatherland. If they were to be as successful in winning the peace they must have the same spirit of cooperation and brotherhood; seeking not what they could get for themselves, but what they could do for the good of the community. God give them power to help forward that great and difficult work. Then God would give His blessing.
Colonel CORNWALLIS then said: On behalf of the subscribers I now hand the conveyance of these cottages to the Chairman of the Parish Council, giving them to them as a sacred trust.
A SUITABLE MEMORIAL.
Colonel D'AVIGDOR GOLDSMID, who is Chairman of the Parish Council, and also Chairman of the War Memorial Committee, said: May I, as Chairman of the Parish Council, most gratefully accept these cottages on behalf the parish, and say that I am convinced the present Council and its successors will faithfully carry out the trust imposed upon them. I am satisfied that these cottages will be found to supply a real want, and will be much appreciated by the whole parish. Colonel Cornwallis has already spoken on the broader view of War Memorials and the debt we owe to the fallen, that I should like now only to say a few words as Chairman the Parish War Memorial Committee. I need not tell you that there were lengthy discussions as to the form our War Memorial should take, and several meetings of the parish were held. It was finally unanimously agreed that the War Memorial should take the form you see now and judging only from the expressions of opinion I have heard from people quite unconnected with the parish, I am convinced that a better form of War Memorial could not have been found. These cottages are primarily Intended for aged couples, widows or widowers who have lost a supporter in the war; failing these, for disabled ex-Service men, and when, in the course of time, these are no longer available, it is left to the Parish Council, as the elected representatives the parish, to select tenants, who must have had ten years' residence in the parish. A nominal rent will be charged to provide for rates if payable, and for repairs which may be required in due time. In this connection I would mention that the cost of the cottages has been relatively large, approximately £1200, but they have been built in such a way to call for a minimum sum for upkeep. I need only call your attention to the oak doors, concrete window frames and the fittings inside to make that clear. This sum includes the tablets and inscription in stone. Now that I am on the question of cost, I would like to mention that these houses have been recognised by the Ministry Health for grant purposes, and that the architects have received a cheque for £230 from that source, which will reach us on Tuesday. £430 has been subscribed by a few of the principal residents in the parish, but general appeal has yet been made to the parish as a whole to make up the deficiency. We want, therefore, something over £5OO, and I am perfectly certain we shall get this amount in the course of the next few months. I should like to take this opportunity of thanking the Tonbridge Rural District Council and Colonel Frank Harris for the very generous way they have met us over the question of water supply and drainage. This has been an immense help to us. I should also like, on behalf of the War Memorial Committee, to thank the builder (Mr. Lawrence) for the immense amount of work, time and care he has given to the cottages, and for the extremely generous way he has met the Committee over the question of cost. To all intents and purposes the parish are having the cottages at cost price. The members of the War Memorial Commutes have worked very hard to bring the War Memorial this stage, and I should specially like to thank Mr. Tolhurst, the Hon. Secretary and Treasurer, for his energy, his courage and his smiling face in all our difficulties. He is a fine type of the rising generation in this parish. I should also like to thank the Hospital Sunday Committee for allowing this ceremony to take place on their day, and for the services of the bands, which have helped so much to make this function a success. There are many others I should like to thank, but if I have not mentioned them it is not because I am not grateful, but it is a question of time. May I, on behalf of the parish, thank Archdeacon Scott for coming here to-day to consecrate our War Memorial and for giving up some portion of the day of rest to us here. He told me he had a warm corner in his heart for Capel, and he has proved it to-day. I should like to thank you, Colonel Cornwallis, for coming over to-day to open these cottages, and to tell you how fully we in this parish recognise your invaluable and unstinted services to the county, and how deeply feel for you in the irreparable loss you have sustained.* You have our real gratitude and slncerest sympathy.
Mr. E. F. LOOKER, who also made acknowledgment on behalf of the parish, said Colonel Goldsmid had given the ground on which the cottages were built. He thought Colonel Goldsmld would not be quite content until he knew that every penny was paid for and saw the tenants spending their last days in happiness in the houses.
*Fiennes, the eldest son of Colonel Cornwallis, had been killed just three months before fighting for the British Army in the Irish War of Independence.