A brief ceremony was held last Wednesday August 6) marking the centenary of the start of the First World War, at the recently cleaned war memorial in Ashdon.
A bouquet of roses had been left at the memorial, dedicated to Private Arthur Chapman who had been killed in action at Gallipoli 99 years ago to the day.
Paying their respects were residents who directly descended from those who died in both world wars.
Attending on behalf of Uttlesford District Council were council leader Cllr Howard Rolfe and Chief Executive John Mitchell. Council member for Ashdon Cllr Andrew Ketteridge and Director of Corporate Services Adrian Webb were also present.
Adrian’s great-grandfather, Walter Webb of the Essex Regiment, is commemorated on the Ashdon memorial.
The bronze plaque on the front of the stone lists the 24 Ashdon men who died in the Great War, including Walter Williams, remembered on the day by his great-nephew Keith Williams.
Also three Bartram brothers, whose niece and nephew Kath and John Bartram attended, and Luke Furze, whose 94-year-old sister Pat, her husband George, and their daughter Sarah marked his memory.
Following the Second World War a further four names were added – two RAF pilots, one soldier, and Elizabeth Everitt who died rescuing American airmen from a crashed Havoc bomber at Puddlewharf, Ashdon for which she was posthumously awarded the Albert Medal.
At that time it was the highest honour awarded for gallantry for saving life. Mrs Everitt’s daughter-in-law, Norma Everitt, was also present and proudly displayed the medal itself.
Local pastor Gavin Walter gave a reading, while Cllr Rolfe also made a brief presentation on the history of the monument.
Speaking after the event, Cllr Rolfe said: “I am proud to have been here today with so many people connected to the fallen, and to see the sterling work that has been carried out on the memorial.
“The debt that we owe the men and women who have died in service of this country is immeasurable, but by keeping their names alive for future generations to witness, they will never be forgotten.”
Ashdon War Memorial was erected in 1921 following an appeal in the village, the necessary funds having been raised by public subscription. Major-General Sir SW Hare, himself a veteran of the Western Front, unveiled the monument on Sunday, October 23, 1921.
Funding for the cleaning and restoration of the memorial in this centenary year was provided in part by Uttlesford District Council, and the project was overseen by Parish Clerk David Green on behalf of the parish council.
Villages and parishes across the district are invited to apply for similar grants to help them undertake any work that may be required on their own war memorials.