Cambridge War Memorial
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(Building Mar 1922:10)
A transcription of a contemporary newspaper article published after the unveiling ceremony:
CAMBRIDGE MEMORIAL TO ITS WAR HEROES
Delville Day, with all the memories it conjures forth of the heroic stand made by the South African Brigade in the action that formed part of the titanic Battle of the Somme, was celebrated at Cambridge in the most appropriate manner possible, and the unveiling of the town's war memorial was a ceremony that will not be readily forgotten by those who took part in the function. Simple, yet impressive and dignified in tone, were the rites which were carried out, and every section of the community participated in thus honouring and paying tribute to the noble dead. The eloquent words uttered by General Byron in unveiling the memorial were re-echoed in the hearts of all present, and in erecting this handsome monument Cambridge may well pride itself on having so fittingly commemorated the deeds of its gallant sons.
The memorial takes the form of a cenotaph of blue granite, and is situated in a central and commanding position on the open space between the Town Hall and the railway station. The names on the roll of honour are as follows:
The attendance at the ceremony was large and thoroughly representative, and included a number of ex-service men, some of whom were in uniform. Chairs were provided for relatives of the deceased warriors, and on the steps of the memorial were grouped, Brig.-General the Hon. J. J. Byron, C.M.G., D.S.O., M.L.A., who performed the unveiling ceremony, the Deputy Mayor (Councillor W. T. Davidson), the hon. secretary of the fund (Mr. H. E. Lynn), and the officiating clergy - the Revs. A. Leith Grant, A. H. Barnes, R. G. Jelley, and F. W. Lowe. Amongst those also present were Brig.-General the Hon. Sir Charles Crewe, K.C.M.G., C.B., and Lady Crewe, Councillors Scholl, Storey, Dutton, Meier and Buchholz, the Town Clerk (Mr. Hughes), Councillor J. Old and Mr. Barnes, Deputy Town Clerk (representing the East London City Council), Messrs. Boys (president) and A. W. Howitt (secretary), representing the Sons of England, Mr. Kelly (Amalinda Village Board), and Mr. R. A. Weare.
An address was given by the Rev. P. W. Lowe, who remarked: "That monument stood as the town's memorial to the British Empire's sense of honour and the price they were prepared to pay for it. He wanted them as day by day they passed that monument to see in it the devotion to ideals which those men showed. Britain's place in the world that day had been won by its high sense of honour and justice carried out through long centuries, and there were many of Dutch blood and name in that land that had helped to perpetuate it. The men whose names appeared on that memorial surrendered their hopes, their careers, and at last their lives, and South Africa was the poorer that day for the loss of men like that. They had fought the good fight, they had finished the course, they had kept the faith."
Addressing the assemblage General Byron said: "I unveil this memorial to the glory of God in loving and undying memory of our glorious dead, to the honour of South Africa, in sympathy and comfort to their relatives, and as a reminder to us of all who died."
It was six years ago that day that General Lukin read the order:
"Capture and hold at all costs Delville Wood on the right of the British line."
That was the beginning of the great Battle of the Somme, which would be recognised as the greatest in history. It was that battle that struck a blow at Germany's strength and prepared the way for her final downfall.
On the day the South African Brigade received the order to capture Delville Wood they numbered 121 officers and 3,032 of other units, and they all understood the full significance of the order. At the final muster after the battle only 750 could answer their names.
Copy of article kindly provided by Rob Grice of East London.
Ref: East London Daily Dispatch. Undated – probably published on Monday 17 July 1922.
[Submitted by William MARTINSON]
All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.