Edith Cavell: 12 October

Edith Cavell is commemorated in the Church of England on this day – the date of her execution in 1915. She was born on 4 December 1865 in Swardeston, the village near Norwich, where her father was vicar. She had worked as a governess, but returned home to look after her father when he became seriously ill. After his recovery she resolved to become a nurse.

In 1906 she took a temporary post as matron of the Manchester and Salford Sick and Poor and Private Nursing Institution, and while there she worshipped at Sacred Trinity Church on Chapel Street, Salford. Before her father’s illness, she had worked as a governess at Avenue Louise, Brussels 1890-1895 and in 1907 she was recruited back to Brussels to be the matron of a nursing school in Ixelles (a district of Brussels). After the outbreak of WW1, she began sheltering British soldiers and funnelling them out of occupied Belgium to the neutral Netherlands. She was arrested on 3 August 1915 and charged with harbouring Allied soldiers. She was convicted and condemned to death by firing squad for treason. The evening before her execution she recited the hymn Abide with me with an English chaplain. This is one reason for the hymn’s enduring popularity in Britain.

Postscript: A hundred years after Edith Cavell’s first stay in Brussels, I was working at an office on Avenue Louise, Brussels from 1990-1995, and was living in Ixelles.
Dave Williams.

The Gresford disaster: 22 September 1934

The Gresford memorial – Attribution Bob Shires / Gresford Heath / CC BY-SA 2.0

At eight minutes past two in the morning a huge explosion ripped through one of the sections of the Gresford coal mine near Wrexham. In one of Britain’s worst coal mining disasters, 266 men were killed. only eleven bodies were ever recovered from the mine (eight miners and three of the attempted rescuers). The damaged sections of the mine were sealed with most of the bodies inside.

The rest of the mine was re-opened in 1936 and operated until 1973. The old winding wheel was preserved as a memorial after the pit closed.

Robert Saint (1905-1950), a miner from Hebburn, South Tyneside was inspired to compose a brass band tune Gresford, also known as the “Miners’ Hymn”. It was deliberately composed as a hymn tune without words. It is popular with many colliery brass bands and recordings can be found on YouTube. Here is a synthesised version.

Gresford

In recent times some words have been written to go with the tune, based on Psalm 130 De profundis “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.”

Centenary of the Armistice 1918

Various commemorative events will be arranged to mark the centenary of the signature of the Armistice on 11 November 1918. But there is one commemoration that you can view right now in Bollington – at least, during office hours Monday to Friday.

The Rolls of Honour for the Adelphi and Clarence Mills for both WW1 and WW2 were probably originally to be found in the Clarence Mill, but we think that they were relocated to a position under the tower of St John’s church when the Mill ceased production. When the former parish church was closed, the Rolls were put into storage for safe keeping while an alternative location could be found for them.

The rolls have now been installed in the Adelphi Mill, near the lift entrance on the ground floor and can be viewed by the public free of charge during normal office hours. Enter the Mill building by the main entrance – the stairs will be on your left and the lift entrance will be on your right. However, it is normally difficult to find a parking space unless you are visiting the gym or one of the other businesses in the Adelphi that has reserved parking.

The Rolls of Honour list employees of the Adelphi and Clarence Mills who served in the two world wars (not only those who lost their lives in the conflicts). They show their ranks and regiments, whether they received gallantry medals, and whether they were wounded or killed. Note that many soldiers did not remain in the regiments with which they initially enlisted, so in some cases the regiment shown on the Roll of Honour my not be the one in which a man spent most of his service.

Most of the surnames on the lists are still represented in Bollington today, so why not go and see if any of your family members are listed?
These Rolls of Honour are part of Bollington’s heritage and we are grateful that the management of the Adelphi Group have put them on public view in co-operation with Bollington Town Council.

You can read more about Bollington men who served in World War 1 on the Bollington Online War Memorial, which can be found on our parish website – look under Family History on the Home page.

Poppy Appeal Launch 2018

Lyric by Joe Riley:

We all know about the traumas of the war,
But do we know about the things that happened after or before;
The people who’d seen horror,
Lived hell upon the earth;
But I can see in you and me that the aftermath was not to be heard;

Poor James, Poor John,
Can you show a bit more sympathy for the people who’d be rather dead than living;
I’m shocked, appalled,
At them all for sending home,
Broken lives and empty minds;
How did their families survive;

Who knew that time,
Would pass you by so quickly;
Think we’ve seen bad things,
But have we, have we really?
That’s why we’re here,
To think of all those people,
How did they carry on, how did they carry on?

Some say that it was such a horrid time,
But we know, that they’re wrong ‘cause there are simply no words left to describe;
The kind of pain and fear that they saw,
Would scar them ‘til the day that they would lie inside their morgue, oh

Poor James, Poor John,
Can you show a bit more sympathy for the people who’d be rather dead than living;
I’m shocked, appalled,
At them all for sending home,
Broken lives and empty minds;
How did their families survive;

Who knew that time,
Would pass you by so quickly;
Think we’ve seen bad things,
But have we, have we really?
That’s why we’re here,
To think of all those people,
How did they carry on, how did they carry on?

How did they carry on?

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh

How did they carry on?

Poppy Appeal 2018 – Launch in Bollington

This year, the annual Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal  has a particular resonance as we reach the Centenary of the Armistice to end WW1.

The Poppy Appeal in Bollington and district will be officially launched in Bollington at 10.30am on Saturday 27 November at St Oswald’s Church at Bollington Cross.

After a brief introduction by the Poppy Appeal Organiser Debra Nixon, Canon Veronica Hydon will offer a prayer and read some verses of WW1 poetry. There will be a song by Joe Riley, followed by a short period of silence for reflection. A prayer will be said by Veronica commissioning the Poppy Collection volunteers and blessing them in their task. We will then all sing a new hymn which has been specially composed for this Armistice Day.

Tea and coffee will be available after this brief ceremony.

Please come and attend this Launch to support and encourage the volunteers, but also to remind ourselves of the value of the Peace that most of those of us in this country are able to enjoy.

You can read about the men from Bollington who served in WW1 here.