BESSBROOK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. Co. Armagh.
The Names of the FALLEN.
Rev Alexander Stuart, C.E.
R. S. Flood
William John Roy
These also SERVED
James Brady, sen
James Brady, jun
William J Brady
W. J. Cunningham
W. J. Hare
William J. Nelson
John H. Pike
Jas H. Simpson
William J. Taylor
R. J. White
WAR MEMORIAL TABLET UNVEILED BY MRS. HUNTER MOORE.
DEDICATED BY CAPTAIN THE REV. ANDREW GIBSON, B.A., B.D., C.F.
On Sunday afternoon [January 22, 1922], at 4.30 o’clock, at a special service in the Bessbrook Presbyterian Church of which the Rev. Henry Dinsmore, B.A., is the worthy pastor, a war memorial tablet was unveiled and dedicated in the presence of a large and representative congregation.
“As many as eighty-four members of the congregation responded to the call of King and Country in the Great War, and of that number sixteen including the former minister, the Rev. Alexander Stuart, C.F., made the supreme sacrifice. In grateful remembrance of the men who laid down their lives and in honour of those who were spared to return, the congregation installed in the church, immediately behind the pulpit, a splendid pipe organ which was dedicated on 11th December last by the Right Rev. W. J. Lowe, M.A., D.D., Moderator of the General Assembly of the Irish Presbyterian Church.
A handsome brass tablet, which forms the centre panel of the pulpit, has now being provided, recording the object of the erection of the organ and containing the names all members of the congregation who served, because of the fallen appearing above the text, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” within an artistically engraved representation of a laurel wreath.
The unveiling and dedication of this tablet took place on Sunday afternoon and the seating accommodation of the sacred edifice was fully taxed. The attendance included a large gathering of ex-servicemen, for whom pews was specially reserved. District Inspector McFarland, the honorary organist of the church, ably presided at the organ throughout the service, and the choir was under the efficient conductorship of Mr. James A. Downey, the precentor of the congregation. The unveiling ceremony was fittingly performed by a lady whose indefatigable Red Cross activities throughout the Great War merited the appreciation bestowed on them, Mrs. Hunter Moore, of Moore Lodge, Newry, who was accompanied by a husband, Mr. Hunter Moore, and the tablet was dedicated by the special preacher at the service, Captain the Rev. Andrew Gibson, B.A., B.D., C.F., Lurgan, who was dressed in khaki and wore the distinctions conferred upon him for service in the Great War-the Military Cross, the 1915 Star, the Victory Medal, and the Allied Medal.
The service was opened with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Gibson, after which the 100th Psalm, “All people that on earth to dwell,” was heartily sung. The Scripture lessons, which were taken from the 25th Chapter of Hebrews, were read by the Rev. W. J. Kerr, B.A., B.D., Kingsmills. The 124th Psalm, second version, “Now Israel may say,” and the hymn, “The son of God goes forth to war,” was excellently rendered. After the Lord’s prayer the hymn, “O God our help in ages past”, was sung by the choir, the congregation joining in the first, third and sixth verses. The offertory followed and a sum of close on £14 was realised, the collectors are being Messrs. Hunter Moore, Noel Harland, Edward Moles, David Haire, Samuel Pink, Andrew Dales and Rufus McClelland.
Captain the Right Rev. A. Gibson, B.A., B.D., C.F., then preached an able, eloquent and appropriate sermon from the text; – “Seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses” -Hebrews XII. I.
Passage of Scripture, he said, processed a charm all its own. It made its own appeal to what was high and holy in men. It was the challenge of God to the earnest minded men and women of every generation that had seen God flame forth in judgement across the path of nations. But what did they understand it to teach? How did they interpret it? If they regarded it as only referring to mysterious and mystic heaven that lay beyond, whose inhabitants were watching them, keenly interested in their progress, that was but a partial interpretation. To come under its spell the needed to stand off from the text and to let the whole Book, come under their view up to that point. When they asked themselves what was the writer’s aim when and he sat down to pen that epistle they would discover that he was writing to Jews, to prove that all the symbols of their faith had found expression in Jesus Christ. Their ritual, their ceremonies, their temple worship were but shadows of which he was the reality. The writer was not limited to the Jewish nation only, but was embracing the whole world by linking these men and women of the first century with all the great heroes and heroines of the Faith in all ages. He was unfolding the great purpose of God that had been manifested from the beginning of history to establish his kingdom of Righteousness, Truth and Love in the world. And God called Abraham revealed his purpose in the words of that call- “in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” These men and women of the Jewish Roll of Honour had not received the promise though they died in that faith. He committed their trust to the succeeding generation to complete, if they could, the task they had striven to achieve. Thus the sacred task confronted them in their own day. They were the heirs of all the ages and they also had their cloud of witnesses in the men who are died to secure the freedom of the world, and whom they met that day to commemorate. The men who had died ever first in the pride and affection of their hearts. Standing in that pulpit he was humbled when he remembered that the former pastor had been doing his work in France when he was killed.” One shall be taken and another left.” Surely for all who survived God had still some work, and at such a service he prayed he would clearly see what that work was, and anew dedicate themselves to it. These men were the appointed ministers of their deliverance. They held back a cruel and relentless for, until this snapped his confidence and broke his strength. While he hoped they were not so arrogant as to say that their own nation won the war, he believed it could be affirmed without being again said that if had not been for the help and resources of the British Empire the world’s freedom could not have been saved by all the other efforts of mankind. In a day when many were succumbing to the fatal paralysis that somehow the war was not worthwhile, that was something to remember with humility and gratitude. Only by remembrance, by thinking of them one by one, by such memorial tablets, with the community keep their ideals high and tread the clean, white path of duty and need be, of sacrifice.
There’s but one gift at all our dead desire,
One gift that all may give-and that’s a dream.
Unless we too can burn with the same fire of sacrifice;
Die to the things that seem;
Die to the little hatreds; die to greed;
Die to the old ignoble selves we knew;
Die to the base contempt of sect and greed;
And arise with them with souls so true,
And that’s not done by sword, or tongue,
There’s but one way-God made us better men.”
These men had their dreams. They had but to read “A Student in Arms” to see how the best and bravest of them had their visions of a better world. This saw a world redeemed from the horrors of all future wars. This saw a higher standard of justice between man and man. This saw the fair brotherhood of mankind at last appear on the earth. It was for the living to realise that dream-the dream, if the liked, of the Lord’s Prayer. When the students, a generation ago, eager for the conversion of the world to Christ, founded their organisation with its splendid watchword, “The Evangelization of the world in this Generation,” the pessimist and cynic good sneer and say that dream had not been realised. But surely it was a far, far nobler thing to believe that such a thing was possible, and work for it, and is set in the seat of the scornful. In his “Science of Power,” Benjamin Kidd had declared “that within the lifetime of a single generation the world can be made to undergo changes so permanent, that it would almost appear as if human nature had changed in the interval.” Within the lifetime of two generations Japan had changed from feudalism to modern conditions. Thus the science is on the side the student and has declared again “everything is possible” to moral forces, provided they are united and organised, have a definite aim and use “right methods.” Theirs was not a day for vain regrets but for devising remedies. Nowhere would they receive such inspiration from a human source as when they contemplated the price they had paid in the presence of their heroic dead. To him it was but a step from that to the greater sacrifice and had been made for the lives at Calvary, and such a service could not end without the greatest of all challenges thrown down to them. Jesus Christ was the great leader of the movement to lead men back to God and the things that are holy. He was the Captain of their soul’s salvation and let the response of all their hearts be- “Lord Jesus count on me in this great adventure. I am on Thy side.”
“Trumpeter! sound for the splendid of God
Bid the anarchs of night withdraw.
Too long the destroyers have worked their will;
Sound for the lost, the loss of the wars;
Sound for the heights our comrades trod,
Whose faith was faith, and love was love,
With a hell beneath and a heaven above,
Trumpeter! rally boss, rally us, trolley wheels,
And on to the City of God.”
Immediately after the sermon the hymn, “Now the labourers’ task is over” was feelingly sung, after which the Rev Henry Dinsmore, B.A., in the name of the Bessbrook Presbyterian Church, asked Mrs. Hunter Moore, to unveil the memorial tablet, which bears the following inscription: –
“The organ in this church was erected by the congregation to the glory of God, in honour of those members who faithfully served, and in grateful remembrance of those who laid down their lives in the Great War-1914-1918.
These laid down their lives:
Rev Alexander Stuart, C.E., Joseph Baird, James Beattie, Alex Beattie, James Blakely, William Black, Andrew Brady, James Brown, J. Dunwoody, R. S. Flood, Edward Gray, Thomas Hamilton, Samuel Hanna, Johnston McCullough, William John Roy, Samuel Roy, Hugh Sterritt, John White.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
These Serve and Returned.
Archibald Alderdice, Thomas Alderdice, James Black, Samuel Black, George Bradley, James Bradley, Joshua Bradley, Samuel Bradley, James Brady, (sen), James Brady, (jun), William J Brady, Andrew Brady, Archibald Brown, Thomas Brown, William Burke, David Clarke, George Clarke, William Cromwell, W. J. Cunningham, J. Cunningham, George Cully, James Davidson, Robert Davidson, George Faulkner, William Gray, Rennie Gray, Thomas Gray, Alex Hamilton, Thomas Halliday, William Halliday, Edmund Hanna, Thomas Hare, W. J. Hare, Thomas Johnston, Robert Humphreys, Jas. Humphreys, Samuel Livingstone, William Logan, Henry Magennis, Thomas Magowan, John Mitchell, Abraham Moses, James Morrow, John Morrow, George Morrow, William Moffit, William McCullough, William McCune, Jos. McGuffin, David McKee, David Nelson, William J. Nelson, John H. Pike, John Priestly, Andrew Priestly, Jas H. Simpson, William Stewart, Jas. Stevenson, William J. Taylor, Robert White, R. J. White, Thomas Williamson, James Wilson.
Mrs. Hunter Moore advanced to the front of the pulpit, having removed the Union Jack with which the memorial was covered, said: “I unveil this tablet in ever grateful memory of those who laid down their lives and in honour of those who served in the Great War.” She then read the names of those who laid down their lives and at the conclusion thereof, the congregation standing, the Dead March in Saul was sympathetically paid on the organ by Mr. McFarland. Mrs. Hunter Moore next read the names of the members of the congregation who also served and through the mercy of God were granted a safe return.
The Rev. Andrew Gibson, B.A., B.D., C.F., then dedicated the tablet and in the course of his dedicatory prayer he said; “Almighty God, we think of those men from this congregation who went forth in the Great War to fight for the freedom of the world. We think of those who laid down their lives and commend to Thee their relatives and friends praying that Thou will, comfort them with the great comfort and consolation of Thine own truth. Almighty God, in order that succeeding generations may know what the men suffered we have erected these memorials within this place and we pray that as they looked upon from time to time something of that inspiration may be return; and that they may prove to those who come after as a voice calling to higher and holier service from this world. In that spirit, that they may bring Thy glory near to us, that his light may shine upon our path from day to day, and that we may be enabled to walk therein, we dedicated them to Thy glory, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, one God blessed for ever. Amen.
The choir and congregation then joined in singing “How bright those glorious spirits shine,” and after the Benediction had been pronounced by the Rev. Mr. Gibson the service was brought to a close by the singing of God save the King.
Mr. and Mrs. Hunter Moore, and other visitors, was subsequently entertained to tea at the Manse by the Rev. Henry and Mrs. Dinsmore.
The Newry Reporter, January 24, 1922.
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