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A War Memorial on the Clock Tower, 4th December 1916

Posted on: 1st December 2016 By: Sarah Keeling

On the 4th December 1916  the Bishop of St Albans dedicated a shrine and roll of honour on the Clock Tower. This was one of fifteen wooden shrines dedicated in the Abbey parish in 1916-17. As the Clock Tower shrine was made of wood it was only temporary and in 1920/1 nine stone street memorials were dedicated around the Parish including one on the High Street, next to Wax House Gate and facing the Clock Tower.

This painting by Henry Mitton Wilson shows the memorial with the seven flags of the Allies above and a vase of flowers on either side.


The Herts Advertiser reported on the dedication of the memorial on Saturday 9th December:

A large and reverent gathering assembled in the vicinity of the Clock Tower, among them were several bereaved parents. A procession left the Abbey and went by Holywell Hill and High Street which included the boys of the Abbey choir, Lieutenant A Williams, carrying the processional banner, Abbey clergy including the Dean, the Very Revd GW Blenkin and the Bishop of St Albans.

The Bishop, in dedicating the shrine, said: “To the Glory of God and in memory of the men from these streets who have fallen in the war and in honour of the men who are serving, I dedicate this shrine and roll of honour”. His lordship then read the Lord’s Prayer after which he said: “Oh God, bless our King and country, help our leaders, soldiers and sailors, relieve the wounded, comfort the prisoners and missing, grant rest and peace o the fallen, make brave the hearts of those who are at home, and grant us victory over our enemies, and to all mankind bring the blessings of peace.”

The Revd EH Evans then read the 45 names on the list, including four who have fallen in action:- Bertram Glossop, 19th Devons; Edwin Glossop, Somerset Light Infantry; Thomas Powell, Herts Regiment; and Arthur Holmes, Norfolk Regiment. The Bishop then followed with a few words of encouragement to the bereaved and then pronounced the blessing.

The shrine, like the others placed in different parts of the Abbey parish, has been made by the boys at St Albans Technical School under the supervision of Mr R. R. Bunn and his assistant instructors. The rolls themselves have been prepared by lady workers. Above the framework are the seven flags of the Allies, and on each side is a receptacle holding flowers. The results is a bright and very attractive memorial to those who have made and are making so great a sacrifice on behalf of their country.



 

Edited 5th December 2016 to add additional details about the numbers of wooden shrines and later stone memorials. Thank you to Jon Mein for the extra information. You can learn more about the memorials in the SAHAAS publication St Albans: Life on the Home Front, 1914-18.

It has also come to light that archive film exists which shows the memorial still in place in 1920. See this film "In Old St Albans" (1920) from the BFI Player, from 7:50 onwards: http://player.bfi.org.uk/film/watch-in-old-st-albans-1920/