Chichester Armistice commemoration: How the city came together to mark the occasion

Chichester came together yesterday (Sunday, November 11), to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Monday, 12th November 2018, 12:51 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th November 2018, 4:38 pm
Chichester Armistice commemoration. Picture by Kate Shemilt (ks180559-23)
Chichester Armistice commemoration. Picture by Kate Shemilt (ks180559-23)

To kick start the celebrations, Priory Park held a short service at 10am at the base of the poppies in Priory Park. Trudy Redfern exhibited a full size drift wood sculpture of a horse and Vincent Gray modelled his life-size in clay Maurice Patten.

Richard Plowman, who recently stepped down as chairman of Friends of Priory Park, said: "We had a wonderful short service in Priory Park.

"The weather was kind and the poppies made by the children gave one final show but it was special.

Chichester Armistice commemoration. Picture by Kate Shemilt (ks180559-23)

"Trudy Redfern’s horse reminded us of the role the war horse played in WWI. John Parham from Rotary read the eulogy followed by the two minute silence, whilst Vincent Gray’s magnificent sculpture of Maurice Patten solemnly kept guard on his plinth 'Lest we Forget'.

"It was fitting tribute to the end of Priory Park100 activities." Read more here.

Chichester City Council held an annual remembrance service and parade at 10.30am. A new sculpture was unveiled in the Garden of Reflection and Reconciliation and dedication of the memorial stone for Lt Col Elstob VC, DSO, MC at Litten Gardens.

The parade formed in East Street and marched down into Eastgate Square, St Pancras and mustered in Litten Gardens. The marching continued to the City Cross and turned inwards to face the Mayor and the Civic Procession as it passed along East Street into North Street.

Trudy Redfern's horse sculpture. Picture contributed

The service of remembrance at Litten gardens wasattended by service men and women, ex service representatives, cadet, youth and voluntary organisations, as well as many 100 individuals. In the adjacent new park road, the Garrison Artillery Volunteers manned a World War One 18 pdr gun in New Park Road and fired a barrage of ten rounds in the moments immediately preceding the Two Minutes Silence, to reflect the day the 'guns fell silent''.

The deputy mayor of Havant, Cllr Diana Patrick, attended a service held in the morning at Emsworth Memorial Garden, Horndean Road, Emsworth. During the afternoon, she attended the Youth and Community Church Service held at St James Church, Emsworth. The parade formed at 2.10pm in front of Lilywhites Garage, Queen Street, and arrived at St James Church at 2.45pm, ready for the service at 3pm.

Starting at 3pm,local residents and visitors commemorated the armistice at West Wittering Beach. Local sculptor Alexandra Beale led participants in creating a silhouette in the sand of Charles Henry Kewell, one of four brothers from the West Wittering Kewell family killed in the war. This was followed by the playing of the Last Post and the lighting of the East Head beacon.

Chichester Cathedral marked the centenarywith a special service of remembrance and reconciliation at 3:30pm.

Priory Park commemoration. Picture contributed

There were a series of special events by resident bell ringers, joined with villages, towns and cities to take part in the national 'ringing remembers' event.

The Cathedral brought together representatives of the Armed Forces, local civic dignitaries, and the people of Chichester, all recalling the great sacrifice made by millions of soldiers and civilians from 1914-18, including many of the Royal Sussex Regiment, whose names are recorded on the walls of St George’s Chapel in the cathedral.

The Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Reverend Dr Martin Warner, preached at this service, accompanied by readings, poetry and music by the Cathedral Choir.

The cathedral also hosted an Armistice Centenary Commemoration and Reconciliation Concert on Saturday evening.

Sculptor Vincent Grays Maurice Patten. Picture contributed

There was also no shortage of centenary celebrations at Quay Meadow. Bosham Parish Councilsponsored a major celebration on Quay Meadow and at the sailing club on Sunday evening. The Friends of Old Bridge Meadow offered their marquee which was situated on the Quay Meadow from 5.30pm with the Chi Jazz band playing. This was followed by the meadow's own choir, the Harbour Voices, who entertained for half an hour, until when the piper played traditional airs leading up to the Last Post at 7pm when a Celebratory Beacon was lit.

Tangmere Parish Council held a beacon lighting ceremony event at Tangmere Military Aviation Museum. Built for the Tangmere Parish Council, a large brazier enabled a beacon to be lit at 7 pm. The venue played fields adjacent to the Tangmere Village Hall and the ceremony included the unveiling of a ‘Silent Soldier’. WW1 poems were read and the religious content was conducted by Tangmere’s vicar. Inside the village hall from 5.30 pm the Museum showed part of last Easter’s exhibition on the opening of Tangmere aerodrome 100 years ago.

At 7pm, the Duke of Richmond lit the Chichester beacon at the top of Trundle Hill at Goodwood, as part of a nationwide chain of 1,000 beacons lit on Remembrance Day to honour those who died. A procession of torch bearers walked along the southern rampart of the trundle to represent the 563 lives lost from Chichester, Lavant, Westhampnett, Singleton, East and West Dean. The Chichester Beacon, which overlooked the city, was located just to the south of the Iron Age hill fort on the trundle. Read more here.

Chichester Air Cadets were joined by their Commander - Wing Commander Helene Gould RAFAC as well as other officers and staff from across Sussex. They joined the many contingencies and squadrons from across Chichester to remember the fallen. The parade was led by a mix of Air and Army Cadets who kept everyone in step through the streets of Chichester. Flying Officer Richard Foster of Chichester Air Cadets said the 'self taught musicians' were a 'credit to their respective units and didn’t miss a note'. He added: “This was my first parade in Chichester and it was wonderful to see so many members of the public supporting everyone today. This event was totally befitting Armistice Day centenary and I was immensely proud to have been part of it.”

The roles of women in the First World War was commemorated at Christ Church. The event, called 'Universal Upheaval of Womanhood', was prompted by members of the Pilgrim Players (directed by Doreen Field), Pauline Crispin and Elders of Christ Church, Chichester. Paul Devonshire, from the Pilgrim Players group, said the 'ecumenical effort' was a 'celebration of women's role in the First World War'. Read more here.

St. Peter's Church, Selsey: There were 57 crosses on display in the grounds ofthe church, with each one a very moving memorial to those from Selsey who gave their lives during the 1914-1918 conflict.

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