Newtownards Road Methodist Church, Belfast.
Unveiling and Dedication Ceremony.
The morning service of Newtownards Road Methodist Church, Belfast, on Sunday will long be cherished in remembrance as the occasion of the unveiling of the chaste memorial tablet erected by the congregation in commemoration of the patriotic sacrifices of the members of their church and schools who rallied to the national call and served in the King’s forces in the great European war.
The tablet, on which is engraved the names not only of those who laid down their lives but of those who, happily, were preserved through the fiery ordeal, sets forth a record whose mere enumeration forms a just title to congregational pride. It contains no fewer than 115 names, of whom so large a proportion as 34 are numbered with the fallen. The memorial, of which a description is given below, finds a fittingly-prominent setting in the centre of the vestibule, were it will remain an object of reverence to successive generations of worshippers when all who were participants in Sunday’s ceremony will themselves have passed within the veil.
The entire day was special in church. The Rev. Hugh M’Keag (ex-vice-president) officiated at both services, his choice and thoughtful expositions being in keeping with the spirit of the solemn occasion. The same spirit breathed throughout the morning hymns and anthems. The former found appropriate place for the lines of the historian Symonds when he sang of the coming days, “when nation with nation, land with land, unarmed shall live as comrades free,” and for Bishop How’s ever-beautiful “for all the saints.” The anthems were: – “Holy Be the Place of Their Sleeping” (Hart),
and “Oh, Blessed are They” (Tchaikovsky). Before the sermon the pastor of the church, Rev T.J. Allen, read the long list of names composing the congregational Roll of Honour. Mr M’Keag preached from Isaiah xxxii., 2, exalting the prominence of Christian character and signed of sounding a clarion call for men, the example of whose personality would, in these days of feverish unrest, be to their fellows as “the shadow of the great rock and weary land.”
The unveiling ceremony took place at the close. The tablet was concealed by the folds of the Union Jack, and at the appointed moment was uncovered by Mrs D Anderson.
A PERPETUAL REMINDER.
This lady, in a few appropriate words, expressed her gratitude for the honour conferred on her in being asked to unveiled the beautiful tablet to the memory of the sailors and soldiers connected with their church and Sabbath-school who had given their lives in defence of their country, and also commemorating the service of all the other brave fellows who had enlisted, and from whom such a price was not demanded.
Many of them had been known to her before they went away, some of them those who would never return. That tablet would perpetuate the memory, and would speak to them all of the devotion of those men to what they felt to be their duty. The early deaths of those who had fallen should be an incentive to them all to truer and more intelligent surrender to Him Who also give Himself for them, so that by their lives they and others might be victorious over the forces of evil. They were glad to welcome amongst them again the men who had returned, and their names engraved there would be a precious memory to their children and to those who would succeed them, telling of their willing offering of themselves in the day of the country’s great need. The impressive silence was then broken by the sounding of the “Last Post” by buglers of the Norfolk’s. The Rev Mr M’Keag offered prayer and pronounced the benediction, and the solemn service and ceremony closed.
The tablet is of artistic design well proportioned. Seven feet eight inches high, and six feet three inches width, it is made of Sicilian marble, from Carrara, in Italy, with a background of polished French dove marble. It has four oblong, sunken panels, resting on a projecting base, supported by three moulded corbels. On the first panel are the names of the men who laid down their lives, to the number 34. On the other three are the names of those who also served with the Colours of engraved, including Army, Navy, and Air Force, together with two V.A.D. nurses, to the number of 116. Immediately above the panels is the in entablature, the centre of which is raised panel, and on this panel is the dedication. At the ends of the raised panel is engraved 1914-18. The top of the tablet is semi-circular, and covers two thirds of the entablature, with a cornice moulding going round the top, and returning over the entablature at both ends. On the semi-circular top is a beautifully carved panel in high relief, representing all branches of the services, having the Allied flags, crossed rifles, and lances, and in the centre water bottle is entwined. At the corners are engraved an anchor and Artillery gun, and on the top is the British Crown. The tablet has a striking appearance, and this beautiful and complete piece of workmanship. It was designed and executed by the capable firm of Messrs. Thomas Thompson & Sons, sculptures, Limestone Road, Belfast.
The following are the names of the men who made the supreme sacrifice:
Belfast Telegraph, February 9, 1920.
The Names of the FALLEN
Bourke, A. W.
Everall, E. H.
Galloway, R. H.
Irvine, R. A.
Jesse, W. G.
Lemon, J. F.
Patterson, W. J.
Pyper, A. P.
Stewart, T. J.
Thompson, W. A.
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