Sunday, November 12, 2023

Remembrance Sunday at All Saints West Ham (and visit to the bells)


This morning I attended the historic All Saints Church in West Ham for the Remembrance Sunday service. Our MP, Lyn Brown was there, as was soldiers from our local Territorial Army unit, 7 Rifles, Police, Veterans, church members, other Councillors and a senior Council manager.  

It was as always a moving service. We were reminded of the plaques on the walls of the church that remember the 700 named dead from West Ham parish who died in World War One. An incredibly high number. 

Also, the banner of the West Ham "Old Contemptibles", who were survivors of the First British Expeditionary Force, formed from the regular army, which served in France and Flanders between August and November 1914. 

"Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, who was famously dismissive of the BEF, allegedly issued an order on 19 August 1914 to "exterminate ... the treacherous English and walk over General French's contemptible little army". Hence, in later years, the survivors of the regular army dubbed themselves "The Old Contemptibles". No evidence of any such order being issued by the Kaiser has ever been found".

During the service prayers were said for peace in Gaza and thoughts for the innocent victims of the violence, Israeli and Palestinians. 

Afterwards my Councillor colleague John Whitworth and myself were able to climb the narrow church tower stairs to see the bell ringing room and then the bells. An amazing site. The "ringers" will welcome anyone interested in finding out more about being a West Hammer bell "ringer". 

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