Parish History

Dedication of the War Memorial at The Ford

From the Herts and Essex Observer, Saturday 25th October 1919, page 5

"On Sunday last, befell the dedication of the Little Hadham War Memorial. Seldom can there have been a lovelier St Luke's summer day, surely never a more appropriate one. The monument stands on a small triangle of roadside waste formed by the forking of the way where it comes down from Bury Green and joins the road from Little to Much Hadham, hard by the hamlet of Ford.

Three hexagonal steps form the front, and from the centre of the upper step rises the base, also of six sides. The top of the base narrows in the shaft by mouldings, one of which is made important enough to carry a collar of six metal tablets, strongly bolted together, on which are engraved the names of the seventeen men who lost their lives in the war. Each tablet gives three names, except the front one, which has two only, the dates '1914-1918' taking the place of the third. In the front panel of the base is also a metal plaque recording the words 'These her sons who gave their lives in the Great War, Little Hadham commends to posterity'. The six sided shaft tapers to a similar cap on which stands a cross, the arms of which are treated in an original and creative way, for the four inside angles are cut somewhat deeply into the junction, and the arms have all their angles bevelled down to a 1 3/4 inch face.

The dedication ceremony, which took place at 3p.m. on Sunday, was simple, but stately and full of quiet dignity. Grouped around the cross stood the near relatives of the fallen and the school children; the rest of the people, some 300, gathered on the roadways. 'O God our help in ages past' was first sung. The Rev. J.J.Davies then read that wonderful passage from the Book of the Wisdom of Solomon (chap. III.,v.1-8) concluding with Ecclesiasticus (chap. XLIV, v.14). 'Their bodies are buried in peace, but their name liveth for evermore'.

The Chairman of the Parish Council, Mr J.S.Symons, then withdrew the flag which had veiled the base, thus uncovering the names. Turning to these he said: 'Dear lads! Accept this humble tribute as an emblem of our gratitude, and that those who come after us may honour your names.' He then read the names, pausing after each, to allow a child to come forward, and lay a victors crown of bay on the step under that name, until the whole base was wreathed. Of the wreath bearers thirteen were chosen among the relatives of those who were thus honoured, one a direct descendant, a little girl aged 4. The names are shown here. Although the dates of the deaths are not recorded on the monument they have been added for memory.

Mr Symons then proceeded:  "Friends, this is a day of great pride, and of deep humility: pride, that such men as these were bred in our midst: humility, as we bow before their heroism. They gave everything that we might be secure, and that right should be maintained on the earth. To you who are so closely bereaved I would express this thought. They have died in their youth. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body, and in their case that spiritual body is youth; for they are, and they still exist , and are with their youth in heaven. They will know not the anxieties of middle-age, nor the decay of the old. They are going to God in the raiment of youth, and they have something great to take to their Maker. Sorrow and loss is yours, but you have that which is very beautiful - a kinship with those who have an honoured place in Paradise".

Then was sung the hymn 'For all the Saints who from their labours rest'. After which the Rector of Little Hadham offered prayer and gave the Benediction, and a simple but inspiring ceremony closed with 'God Save the King'.

The cross stands finished and when the site is levelled down and the ground turfed, no better position can be imagined. Some twelve feet high itself, it stands on high ground, commanding the road, so that those who pass by on their daily avocations will have ever before them a record of the part played by one small village in the world drama, a drama destined for the destruction of England but from which, thanks to the sacrifice of such heroes, England emerged whole.

The stonework has been admirably executed by Messrs Robinson of Bishop's Stortford."

Find out more:

The Ford War memorial

Those who died in the Great War named on The Ford War Memorial

Other memorials

References used in preparing the history of memorials