Middlesex Regiment and St Paul's, Mill Hill, in north
London, goes back to 1905, when the regiment moved
into new barracks that had been built on farmland in the parish.
Sunday-morning church parades with soldiers in uniform and the
regimental band soon became a regular and valued event, and the
people of Mill Hill welcomed what became known as the "Garden
Barracks" with gifts of plants and trees. The baptisms and
marriages of soldiers began to appear in the registers, and,
St Paul's itself has the distinction of having been built by
William Wilberforce, and among its stained-glass windows are two of
modern design by John Reyntiens, who famously designed the Diamond
Jubilee window in Westminster Hall. One of the windows, installed
in 2012, is known as the "Proclaiming Liberty" window, and
commemorates Wilberforce and the abolition of slavery by featuring
chains, linked and broken, to symbolise slavery and freedom.
The other "Celebration" window, also installed in 2012, is a
bright and simple depiction of the biblical jubilee represented by
symbols of nurture and growth.
Now there is a third window by John Reyntiens to commemorate the
long relationship with the Middlesex Regiment, which has since been
amalgamated with other regiments. It has been commissioned and
given by the Middlesex Regimental Association, which still keeps up
its relationship with the church. The window represents troops,
pain, suffering, death, an angel, the ascension, and
"My immediate idea for this window was to think about just how
many people were involved in the Regiment," Mr Reyntiens says.
"Whether killed in action or not, there is always a huge number of
servicemen involved. I wanted to create a mass of soldiers by
having them receding into the background. . . The sharp red areas
towards the top of the window signify pain, fire, and destruction.
. . There are also tombs. . .
"I wanted us to be reminded of war cemeteries, and the reality
that people will suffer . . . as in the bottom of the window, where
we find our greatest emblem of suffering and redemption, Jesus
It was appropriate that the window was dedicated during the
commemorations of the suffering of the First World War.