Monday 8 June 2020

About the Memorial and Their Names Shall Be Carved In Stone

The Memorial is 14 feet high and it is made from stone quarried at Clipsham in Rutland. It has at its apex a quadrant, or Greek cross, bearing in the centre the sacred monogram, carved in relief and enclosed by a quatrefoil label. The cross rests upon a moulded capped shaft rising out of a pedestal, with plinth and weather moulding all in one. Two steps form the Memorial base. The upper step bears the wording "Their Names Liveth For Evermore". The plinth was used after World War II to bear the 12 names of village men killed in that war. The square form of the pedestal bears the names of the 34 men killed in the Great War and these are recorded in cut relief on the rear and both side panels. On the front panel is inscribed "In memory of the Parishioners of Eton Wick and Boveney whose names are recorded on this cross. They gave their lives for their country in the Great War 1914-1919, passing from the strife of the world into the peace of God". The men engaged in making the Memorial were all ex-servicemen working for Sargeant's (a local stonemason)

In the book the men are listed in the order they appear on the Memorial. All are in alphabetic order except for Peter Knight and Harry Quarterman. For reasons already stated, their names were added after completion of the Memorial and therefore appear at the foot of panels. It has not been possible to always establish as many facts about individuals as I would like, but as far as I can tell, the story of each has been accurately written. Some may be commemorated in other places not mentioned here, perhaps old schools, clubs, churches or places of work. However, this is a record of "Wickers" honoured on the "Wick" Memorial, situated in the front of the "Wick" church, and the last building most of the boys and men would have seen as they walked away to war, leaving their village and homes behind them. 

The first two lines written for each serviceman's biography is the village memorial inscription (V.M.I.) and this is followed by a fuller service description. Some details may be repetitive, but this could not be avoided as the intention throughout has been to present each man's story as complete as possible. They lived in Eton Wick, and in many instances members of their families still live in the village, many of the homes they lived in are still standing today and for this reason it has not been thought appropriate to limit the facts to where the men served and died. In his unveiling speech the Provost said "Pass by 80 years from now...", yes the village service survivors have all rejoined their comrades. In the section devoted to the Great War casualties, the figures given for the number of dead in respective cemeteries are the numbers for that war and do not include any additions that may have been made as a result of W.W.II. 

As we reach the beyond 80 years, later generations of villagers still attend an annual service in front of the Memorial on Armistice Sunday each November. A poppy wreath is laid, silence is observed, and finally the bugle sounding the haunting notes of the Last Post keeps the faith. 

Eton Wick, and Boveney with Boveney Newtown, had approximately equal populations, and the fatal casualties were equally divided with 17 from each of the two areas. Alma Road and Common Road each lost seven men. At least 10 of the 34 men left widows with young children. The homes of most of the men from the old Eton Wick have either been demolished or appreciably modernised, whereas those in Boveney and Boveney Newtown are all standing and show very little structural alteration. 

Note about the republication of Their Names Shall Be Carved In Stone on this website. The biographies of the 34 men from First World War whose names appear on the Village War Memorial were published mostly on the 100th anniversary of the day they died. Where new information had become available particularly from The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website this has been added to the original biography. The biographies of the 10 men who died between 1940 and the end of Second World War will be added to this website on the 80th anniversary of the day they died.

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