The Royal British Legion Wootton Bassett Field of Remembrance, in Lydiard Park, is dedicated to those who have died in Afghanistan.
With so many service personnel based in the Diocese of Bristol and the areas covered by the Circuits and Synods and Districts it is our duty to continue to remember, to pause and reflect.
This year the field in the walled garden, right, at Lydiard Park will be open from until 18 November, 9am to 4pm.
At 2pm from 10th to 17th in the field we will pause and reflect in silence and remember. On Sunday 18 November, 3.30pm, St Mary’s will hold a service to close the garden.
Everyone is welcome to attend the times of reflection, the service, or to visit the garden in their own time.
More Details at: www.britishlegion.org.uk
Pictured above, 11-11-11 in front Lydiard House by David Feather on 8 November 2012
Below, poppies on the lawn in front of the house. Photo: Richard Wintle www.calyxpix.com
What’s it all about? asks Rev Deverell
The Royal British Legion Wootton Bassett Field of Remembrance, in Lydiard Park, Swindon is dedicated to those who have died in Afghanistan and what always haunts me is that we have moved from the unknown to the known.
With so many service personnel based in the Diocese of Bristol and the areas covered by the Circuits and Synods and Districts it is our duty is to continue to remember, to pause and reflect.
Many countries have a special day to remember those that fell in their wars. In France this is Armistice Day, and in America, Veterans Day. In Britain we commemorate those who fought, and are still fighting, in wars for their country on Remembrance Day which is always held on 11 November.
It was on this day that World War One ended in 1918, when the armistice was signed in Compiègne, Northern France, at 5am. Six hours later, the fighting stopped, Most of the war was fought in dug-out trenches across Belgium and France. The soldiers in their dug-outs could see red poppies growing in the fields of Flanders, the name for an area that covers parts of Belgium, the Netherlands and France. Perhaps as many as 9 million soldiers died, there were about 27 million were wounded – many permanently disabled. and in commemoration this there is a two minute silence in the UK at 11am, every 11 November.
The period of silence was first proposed by a Melbourne journalist, Edward George Honey, in a letter published in the London Evening News on 8 May 1919, which subsequently came to the attention of King George V, who on 7 November, 1919, the King issued a proclamation which called for a two-minute silence: ‘All locomotion should cease, so that, in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.’
In our increasingly busy lives it is important too that we pause and remember those who have died in the cause of freedom, and pause and remember too He who died to give eternal life so that we all could be truly free.
It was two years later that the body of an unknown British soldier, from one of those desperate battlefields, was placed in a coffin and brought to England. In 1920 the coffin of the unknown soldier was taken in procession to Westminster Abbey, past thousands of people lining the streets. During the service, the coffin was laid to rest with some soil from France in the floor of the central aisle of Westminster Abbey. The tomb commemorates all British casualties, especially those who have no known grave, and all who suffered during that war and since. Lying there amongst the tombs of kings and queens and many famous people, this “Tomb of the Unknown Warrior” bears the inscription,
“Beneath this stone rests the body of a British warrior, unknown by name or rank, brought from France to be among the most illustrious of the land.”
It is not from a Flanders Field that our loved one’s return home from during this campaign in their Union Jack draped coffins, but from Helmand and other provinces of Afghanistan.
Lydiard Park, the home of St Mary’s Lydiard Tregoze hosts one of the Royal British Legion Field’s of Remembrance, from its opening on the 9th till its closure on the 18th it will be open from 9.00am till 4.00pm.
This specific Field is dedicated to those who have died in Afghanistan and what always haunts me is that we have moved from the unknown to the known, on the ever increasing number of crosses of those who have died in this conflict are faces.
Their names are there of course, but each cross has a photograph, we have moved from unknown to known, each individual’s photograph has been in the newspapers, the internet and on television.
Each day at 2.00pm from the 10th to the 17th in the Field we will pause, and reflect. We will have a silence and remember. Last year people came from all over the country friends, family, lovers and former service personnel from another generation.
Paul Gardner of St Mary’s attended the two minute reflection each day last year. He said: "I find the Field of Remembrance deeply moving. Where the public at large in quiet sense of reflection can pay their respects to the fallen in this current conflict and demonstrate their continual support to the Armed Services.
"Remembrance of the fallen and the ones who survived in the 20th & 21th Century conflicts remain constant in our thoughts throughout the years to come.”
As a Church we are (as the Chaplains do with each regiment, base or ship) to walk alongside those in need, to be a listening ear and to pray with those who request it. To feel and hold for this period of time and longer, the frustration, the anger with the bereaved at the seemingly futile loss of life in a conflict most of us still find hard to understand. Within all that lack of understanding, and frustration we are called to pray for our service personnel, the Chaplains who serve them especially those on frontline duty, to be aware and endeavour to understand the service personnel within our own communities.
I was brought up in a town with a Royal Corp of Signals base just outside and I have to say I regret the effort I made when I was younger to understand or engage and I know I took part in a prevalent them and us culture, a lot of it of course was fear of the unknown. Hindsight is a great thing and throughout this remembrance tide I will be encouraging those I know including my own children not to make the errors I did, to build relationships with those serving our country in the bases, within our local communities.
On Sunday 18th at 3.30pm we will hold a service to close the Garden. After which the crosses and the poppies will be removed but the faces remain etched in my mind and all those who visit and they place a demand on each one of us to pray and remember.