The Flint Memorial Researcher is Peter Redfern Metcalfe
Remembered Again : Recalling Flint’s Fallen Heroes of the First World War
Peter has researched and told the stories behind the names on Flint’s War Memorials
FLINT WAR MEMORIAL
UNVEILING CEREMONY BY COL. T. H. PARRY, D.S.O.
(County Herald 8th October 1926)
An impressive ceremony marked the unveiling of the Cenotaph at Trelawny Square, Flint, on Sunday afternoon,which was witnessed by thousands of townspeople. The ceremony was of a semi-military character, and the unveiling was performed by Lieutenant Colonel T H Parry, D.S.O., of Mold, who served with distinction with the Flintshire Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers during the Great War.
The committee, of which the Mayor (Councillor I Newton Hughes) is chairman, decided that a Cenotaph – taken with its literal and generally accepted meaning, viz., “the tomb of a person buried elsewhere” – was the most suitable form of memorial to commemorate the 115 gallant men of the borough of Flint and Oakenholt who gave their lives in the Great War. The sacredness of its purpose has been the chief object taken into consideration in the design. It is simple, classic in character and form, and depending on its delicacy and refinement for its beauty. The Cenotaph, which is of Portland stone, stands on a podium, which has been arranged to receive wreaths. The base resembles an altar, and immediately above the base on the north side is the inscription, in both the English and Welsh language:-
“In memory of the men of Flint and Oakenholt who gave their lives for their country in the Great War.”
“Er cof am y meibion a roddodd eu bywyd dros yn Gwlad yn y Rhyfel Mawr.”
On the east and west sides the panels containing the names of the fallen are placed. Over the name panel on the west elevation the words “Mewn angof ni chant fod” have been placed; and “Their name liveth for ever more” is over the panel on the east side. On the north, or main elevation, at the top of the shaft a carved wreath encloses the borough arms, which is also carved in the stone. Flanking the wreath on either side are the dates “1914 – 1918,” and immediately above, the words “The Glorious Dead.”
The crowning feature takes the form of a sarcophagus, or stone casket, which from the time of the Greeks has been an emblem of the dead. The memorial was designed by Mr W B Edwards, B. Arch., A.R.I.B.A., of Flint and Liverpool.
The committee which carried out the arrangements and provided the memorial was constituted as follows:- His Worship the mayor (Councillor Newton Hughes), chairman; Alderman Robert Jones, Councillors H R Thomas, R W Barber, J H Nuttall, S T Edwards, Robert Davies, and Joseph Davies, representing the Town Council; Rev J Herbert Davies (Rector), Rev Father McGrath, Rev H C Lewis, Messrs R J Williams, J T Leighton, J Owen Jones, jun., and C W Lloyd, representing the general public; Messrs E Idwal Williams, J J Owen, Thomas Owen, Ans, W Edwards, Gomer Owen, and Thomas Flynn, representing the British Legion; Messrs R P Bellis and J J Owen, hon treasurers; and Messrs J Bibby Denny (Town Clerk), H Pritchard and Albert Bithell, hon secretaries.
The Union Jack was flying from the Town Hall and the Oddfellows’ Hall. Large crowds assembled in the precincts of the monument, and every place of vantage was taken up by the residents to witness the proceedings. Over 200 members of the local ex-servicemen, in charge of Captain Idwal Williams, formed up around the cenotaph, and inside the quadrangle were relatives of the fallen, members of the Girl Guides (in charge of Miss Boyce), the Boy Scouts (in charge of Assistant Scoutmaster G Henderson and Fred Gee), and representatives of the various Societies in the town. A detachment of the local Territorials, under the command of Lieutenant Haslam and Major Claridge, T.D., occupied a position immediately in front of the cenotaph, at each corner of which stood a Territorial with arms reversed. The Mayor, wearing his robes and chain of office, walked from the Town Hall to the service. He was accompanied by the Town Clerk (Mr J Bibby Denny), and aldermen and members of the Town Council and Borough officials. The procession was preceded by Sergeant Major W M Jones, the Corporation macebearer, carrying the mace. Next came the members of the Magisterial Bench. They were followed by members of the various Societies. The Oddfellows were represented by P.P.G.M. John Hughes and P.G. W J Griffiths; the Ancient Order of Foresters by Chief Ranger J Foulkes and Bro William J Jones, steward; Engineers’ Union by Mr T M Wass; the Flint Castle Lodge R.A.O.B. by Primos William Hughes and Albert Frimston; Working Men’s Society by Messrs J P Hogan and John Bennett; representatives of the Liberal and Conservative Clubs; Rechabites by Bro T Wynne (Past Chief Ranger) and Bro J Coulter (Deputy Chief Ranger). A special platform had been erected adjoining the monument, on which the Mayor, the Clergy, Rev J H Davies (Rector) and Rev H C Lewis, and Captain E H Goodman Roberts, M.P., took up their positions.
The impressive service opened with the singing of the hymn “O God, our Help in ages past,” to the accompaniment of the Flint Town Silver Band. Portions of the Scriptures, both in English and Welsh, were read by the rev H C Lewis, B.A., B.D., after which Colonel Parry proceeded to unveil the monument.
Colonel Parry said it was a real and sincere privilege to be asked to and to be allowed to unveil that memorial in the ancient borough of Flint. That memorial represented in as permanent form as was humanly possible the high esteem, regard and affection in which those whose names were inscribed upon it were held in Flint. He was quite sure that if those who were no longer with them – and it might be that in some way they were cognisant of what was taking place there that day – they would like to think that they were remembered in the town where they were brought up, educated, and lived. Their feelings that day were very mixed ones. Feelings of pride and sorrow were equally intermingled. Feelings of pride that so many men of Flint gave their all for king and country in the hour of need, and feelings of sorrow that so many were no longer with them. Their hearts beat in the deepest sympathy that day with those who were once again most poignantly reminded of their bereavement, and they hoped and trusted that He who is the only consoler of mankind would sustain them in the years that lay before them. It as his privilege to serve during the war with the men of Flint and Flintshire, and his friend Captain Goodman Roberts would agree with him that no one served more valiantly and courageously than the men of Flintshire. The point that was ever present in his mind was how cheerful and bright everyone was; the greater the discomfort and the danger, the greater the courage and cheerfulness. Might he in his own way put into Welsh the words of the poet Laurence Binyon:
Ni thyfant yn hen fel nyni a adawyd.
Ni flinir hwy gan henaint ac ni chondemnir hwy gan amser.
Yn yr hwyr ac yn y boreu ni ai cofiwn.
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
A literal translation of the Welsh words you quoted would be:-
They shall not grow old as we that are left,
They shall not wearied by age and they shall not be condemned by time,
In the evening and in the morning we shall remember them.
They revered their memory as the memory of those who hesitated not to give their lives for their king and country in the hour of danger. A wall of fire, they were between us night and day. May they rest in peace until the great day dawned when sorrow, suffering and parting should be no more. The memorial was a sacred one. It had been so dedicated that day. Let everyone see to it that it was so regarded, and that the memory of those whose names were inscribed upon it will not be allowed to grow dim. The memorial served two purposes – it was a record of patriotic and gallant service, and a reminder of what they owed to those who did so much for them. The historian would write a history of the war. He would do two things – criticise tactics and military operations. He would give praise here and blame there. He would also criticise them as to what they did for those who did everything for them. Let them see to it in time that the verdict of the historian and posterity would not find them wanting. Comradeship – that great, great word that came out of the war. Their comrades died for civilisation and peace. What they died for, let them live for. There was a memorial to Nurse Edith Cavell in London on which were the words “Humanity, Sacrifice, Fortitude, Devotion.” Those words were applicable to those whom they commemorated that day. May they endeavour to be worthy of them, and live up to the ideals for which they died.
And as they trusted, we the task inherit.
The unfinished task for which their lives were spent;
But leaving us a portion of their spirit;
They gave their witness and they died content.
Full well they knew they could not build without us
That better country, faint and far descried,
But they did not doubt us, and in that faith they died.
After the dedication by the Rector (Rev J H Davies), Captain Goodman Roberts handed over the monument to the custody of the Corporation. He said it was his proud duty and privilege that afternoon to hand over to the Mayor and Corporation and the burgesses of Flint that cenotaph to their safekeeping as a trust for future generations. It would be revered by them in their native town. They looked upon it as a memorial, but he agreed with Colonel Parry when he said that those who had passed over the border and made the great sacrifice would require no memorial, because they would always live in their hearts. That cenotaph could be more than a memorial; it could serve as an inspiration to service, duty, and love. It was not given to every man to die for a cause, and that, he felt, was the inspiration which the cenotaph would give to the men and women of Flint. The task which those men who had done their duty had handed down to them was to make impossible again what had occurred in the past. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” That memorial was not a memorial of bitterness and strife, but of love, service, and duty.
The Mayor said that on behalf of the Corporation of Flint he accepted the monument, and the Corporation undertook the charge of and would take care for the preservation of that cenotaph in a manner worthy of the ancient and loyal borough, and worthy of the glorious dead whose names were commemorated thereon.
The Welsh hymn “Cawn es gyn o’r dyrys anialwch” was sung, and the Rector offered a prayer.
PLACING OF WREATHS
The placing of wreaths round the base of the cenotaph then took place, the Territorials standing to attention with fixed bayonets, and during the solemn proceedings the Band played “Silver Wings.” The Mayor placed the first wreath, a massive one of laurels, white carnations and lilies, bearing the inscription “From the Flint Corporation to the Glorious Dead.” Then followed one from the British Legion. Another, “In memory of the members of Flint Conservative Club who gave their lives for God, for King, and Country.” The Flint Castle Lodge R.A.O.B. followed with a wreath “In remembrance of the fallen heroes of Flint who paid the supreme sacrifice during the Great War, 1914-1918.” Flint Working Men’s Club, “In memory of our fallen heroes. Rest in the Lord.” From the members of Flint Town Band, “In memory of Pte Peter Burke, 240509, 1st 5th R.W.F.” Then followed the relatives, who placed tributes to the departed heroes. “The Last Post” was sounded by Bugler Holder, of the R.W.F. Depot, Wrexham, and the singing of the Welsh and English National Anthems concluded the proceedings.
On the obelisk erected to the memory of the men who fell in the South African War was placed a wreath in memory of Pte Thomas Lloyd and Comrades, and one “In loving remembrance of Pte N Commins, jun., from his wife and children.”
LIST OF WREATHS
The relatives of the departed placed wreaths on the cenotaph as follows:-
In loving memory of our dear father, Pte T J Williams, 4013 16 R.R., (sic) from his ten children.
In loving memory of Lance-corporal 5011 Charles V Williams, also of other heroes who fell in the war. From his loving wife and child.
In ever loving memory of our dear son, D G Roberts. From father and mother, brothers and sisters, at Sion Villa.
In dear remembrance of John Hughes. From his sister and daughter, 74, Earl Street.
In loving memory of Pte John Phillips.
In memory of our loving father, John Campbell, Flint Mountain.
In ever loving memory of Sergt Evan Jones, 464420. From his wife and children.
In loving memory of my dear nephew, Pte Amos Broadstock, 1st South Staffs.
In loving memory of my dear dad, Pte Rd Williams. Never forgotten by his wife and children, 10, Queen Street.
In remembrance of my dear brother, Pte S M Parry, 10th R.W.F. Fondly remembered by his brother and sisters.
In loving remembrance of my dear brother, Pte Ben Davies, No 15183, 10th Batt R.W.F.
In loving remembrance of Uncle Harry, 39944 Corpl Harold Jones, R.W.F. From Elsie, Edgar, and Charlie, Oakenholt.
In loving memory of our dear brother, Lance-corporal Peter Wynne, Pte Ed George Roberts, Pte Wm E Roberts.
In loving remembrance of Corporal Thomas Roberts, from his wife and children.
In loving memory of our dear son and brother. From Mr and Mrs R Wynne and family, 1, Bryn Houses, Flint.
On loving memory of Pte James Henry Jones, 10th Batt R.W.F. From his father, mother, brothers and sisters, 58, Feathers Street, Flint.
In ever loving memory of Arthur Leslie Evans, from all at his old home where he was so greatly loved and so sadly missed.
In loving memory of my dear son, Richard James. From his mother.
In ever abiding memory of Pte Wm E Roberts and Pte Ed George Roberts, both 9th Batt R.W.F. From father, mother, brother and sisters, 8, Coleshill Street, Flint.
In ever loving memory of our dear son (sic) Ben. From Goronwy and Islwyn Hughes, Rock Cottage, Flint Mountain.
From Nellie and little Joan, 8, Feathers Street, in dearest memory of Harry Roberts, Lance-corporal Charles V Williams, 33, Rose Cottage. Sadly missed by his loving wife and child. Also other heroes who fell in the war.
From Mr and Mrs Bennett, in loving memory of our dear soldiers.
In loving memory of Willie Hughes. From Tom.
In remembrance of Pte R T Edwards, 5th R.W.F. Halkyn Road.
In loving memory of Pte John E Hughes, 3, Queen Street, Flint. From his father.
In loving memory of T C Roberts. From his widow and children, 66, Swan Street.
In loving memory of George Martin. From his mother, brother and sisters.
In affectionate remembrance of Gunner Thomas Hughes, R.F.A. From his father, mother, brothers and sisters, 55, Sydney Street.
In loving memory of William and George Roberts. From Mrs Griffiths and family, 6, Coleshill Street.
In loving memory of John and Willie Parry. From mother, father and sisters, Chester. Heroes all.
In loving memory of Joseph Clews, R.W.F. From George and Stephie.
In loving remembrance of Alfred Davies. From his mother, brothers and sisters, 23, Swan Street, Flint.
In loving memory of Trooper Robert Bevan. From his loving mother and family.
In loving memory of J A Hulley. Will ever be remembered by his wife and children. “Peace, perfect peace.”
In loving memory of Henry Roberts. From Auntie and all at Feathers Street.
Tribute to the Fallen. Mrs Hughes, Bryn Garreg, Flint.
In loving memory of 2nd Lieut B G N Watkin. From mother, brother and sisters.
In loving and affectionate remembrance of my dear husband, John James Bramfield.
In ever loving memory of Harold Bithell. From mother, brother and sisters.
From the wife and family of the late Sergt W Davies, 1-5th R.W.F., 9, Salisbury Street, Flint.
In loving memory of Pte J Carroll. From his wife and child.
In loving memory of Edward. From father, brother and sister. D Jones, Bryn.
In loving remembrance of Joseph Beard and all his comrades.
With love and remembrance to James Conway. From his loving wife.
In memory of Lance-corporal Edward Hughes, 1st Batt Cheshire Regiment, who was killed in action at Mons, 1914. Fondly remembered by his father, sisters and brothers. Roger Henry Bellis, Oakdene, Chester Road, Flint.
With love and remembrance to James and Henry Conway. From mother and sister.
In affectionate remembrance of my dear husband, Co Sergt-Major George Carr, R.W.F. From his loving wife and children.
In affectionate remembrance of Richard Owen Roberts, Flint Mountain.
In loving remembrance of dear brother, Archie Gunther, also of Robert Gunther, torpedoed February 26th, 1918. From loving sister and brother, 29, Castle Street, Flint.
In loving and affectionate remembrance of Jim and Henry Conway. From Mrs Hughes Conway and family.
In loving memory of our dear brother, Geoffrey George. From all at Woodleigh.
In loving remembrance of Sergeant George Robert Denton and his comrades. From his nephew Ronnie, Oakenholt.
In loving memory of Robert Cartwright. From his loving father, mother and sisters, 87, Swan Street, Flint.
In ever loving memory of Sergeant Evan Jones, 4644 (sic). From his wife and children.
In loving memory of J W Eccles. From Auntie Maggie, 66, Swan Street, Flint. “At Rest.”
In loving and affectionate remembrance of my dear husband William Hunt.
With deepest sympathy from his little nephew, Robert Elwyn Jones, to uncle Archie.
In loving memory of Pte John W Eccles. Never forgotten by his mother, 5, Queen Street, and grandma, Mrs Eccles.
In ever loving memory of our dear boys. From a loving mother, E Hughes, 76, Mount Street, Flint.
In loving remembrance of our dear son, Sergt William Thomas Jones, D.C.M. From father, mother, brothers and sisters, 10, Holywell Road, Flint.
In loving memory of my dear husband, Pte Hugh James, R.W.F., who fell in Italy. “Rest in Peace.”
In loving memory of Pte J W Eccles. From Florrie, 1, Gardener’s Row, Oakenholt.
With deepest sympathy from Hewyan and Nell to their old friend Wm Thomas.
In loving memory of our dear brothers, Pte P Costello, 1-5th R.W.F., and Pte W Costello, 1-5th R.W.F. “Lest we forget.” From brother and sisters.
With fond remembrance of Pte W Roberts, 1387, 1-5th R.W.F. From father, mother, brothers and sisters.
With deepest sympathy from Llew Thomas to my dad.
In loving memory of Charlie, 9th R.W.F., who died July 13th, 1918.
In affectionate remembrance of Pte C Bennett. From sister, Oakenholt Villa.
In affectionate remembrance of 39944 Corporal Harold Jones, R.W.F. From his loving father, sisters and brothers, 4, Mount Street, Flint.
In loving memory of our dear dad, Pte T Jutson. From his wife and children, 8, Queen Street, Flint.