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War memorials and class

by
11 November 2016

November 10th, 1916

THE question of war memorials is exercising the minds of several bishops, and a commendable control is likely to be exercised in several cases. At the moment a wide publicity might well be given to some words of the Bishop of Chelmsford on the subject in his Diocesan Magazine. Generally speaking, he discountenances individual memorials, his strongest reason being their manifest unfairness:—

If the relatives of a lad dying can afford it, a memorial tablet is erected, but in this war the “Jack Cornwells” are by no means rare, and one striking feature of the war is the union between “duke’s son and cook’s son”. They fight together and they die together. Are they to be separated in the parish church? Is the one to be commemorated and the other not? The heart says “No,” and the heart is right. The Bishop therefore strongly urges that, instead of the individual tablets, there should be preparations made for the erection in each parish church, at the end of the war and not before, of one roll of honour, on which shall be inscribed the names of the men from the parish. This will then serve for a lasting memorial to the part which the particular parish took in the world-wide war. The Bishop is certain that such a course is more in accord with the spirit of the age, and, more important still, with the spirit of the Church, which should know no class distinctions. This, however, will not by any means exclude the pious offerings of windows, choir stalls, prayer desks, etc., as commemorative gifts for the adornment of the House of God.

 

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