WWI Centenary Vigil at the Tonbridge Memorial Gardens

Tonbridge Memorial Gardens have recently received an incredible makeover. The undulating paving, sunken litter-filled pit and unsightly tree stumps have all gone and in their place now sits a peaceful haven with a very special atmosphere. It’s an area Tonbridge can truly be proud of and, at 7.30pm tonight, it will provide the perfect backdrop to a Centenary Vigil being hosted by the Royal British Legion.

Tonbridge Memorial Wall - Rachael Hale (The History Magpie)As well as commemorating the townsmen who fell during WW2, the memorial wall displays the names of the 346 local men who fell in WW1.  Over 3000 men left the town to fight and throughout the 30 minute vigil, poppy images will be projected onto the wall as a mark of respect. The events of WWI and the armistice will be at the heart of the service led by Rev. John Perkins, who is representing the chaplaincy of the RBL, and prayers for peace in areas still involved in conflict will be made.

New Centenary Statue which was designed by a local schoolgirl - Rachael Hale (The History Magpie)
‘The Torch’ – commemorative  statue designed by local schoolchildren. Image Rachael Hale (The History Magpie)

Pam Mills, the towns Royal British Legion Youth Officer, has been working hard to bring the town’s war history to life for our local school children and its wonderful to learn that, following the recent competition to design the new commemorative statue, local children will once again be involved with the memorial garden.  The 17th Tonbridge Area Scout and Guide Band will provide buglars and accompanying music for the Hillview school singers. Some of these children are only a few years younger than those who went to war and the song they will be singing was written by 15 year old Elizabeth Mills.

Elizabeth wrote the song following a school trip to Tynecot cemetry and “We will remember them (peace now)” personally gives me the shivers.  If you can’t make it to the service tonight you can still hear it, and help the work of the Royal British Legion and the Tonbridge Memorial Garden, by buying a copy through this link. –https://elizabethmills.bandcamp.com/releases

Thank you.

The  Centenary Vigil starts at 7.30pm on Tuesday 11 November 2015.

The Tonbridge Memorial Gardens can be found at River Walk – between the High St and the River Medway – Tonbridge KENT TN9 1ED

And you can learn all about it’s recent refurbishment, and those who made it happen, by visiting:  http://www.tonbridgememorialgardenstrust.net/

Personal dedications at Tonbridge Memorial Gardens – Image Rachael Hale (The History Magpie)

Published by

Rachael Hale (Homes and History Magpie)

Freelance home interiors and Kent history writer. Member of the Society of Authors. Find me via Twitter - @rachaelhale1 Read my home interiors and history blog - www.historymagpie.com

2 thoughts on “WWI Centenary Vigil at the Tonbridge Memorial Gardens

  1. You may like this poem by w.h. Davies , a local poet, which he wrote, about the death of his friend,another poet, in the war.

    Killed in action

    Happy the man whose home is still
    In Nature’s green and peaceful ways;
    To wake and hear the birds so loud,
    That scream for joy to see the sun
    Is shouldering past a sullen cloud.

    And we have known those days, when we
    Would wait to hear the cuckoo first;
    When you and I, with thoughtful mind,
    Would help a bird to hide her nest,
    For fear of other hands less kind.

    But thou, my friend, art lying dead:
    War, with its hell-born childishness,
    Has claimed thy life, with many more:
    The man that loved this England well,
    And never left it once before.

    As a poet, i suppose i need to start a blog too,something for my to do list.


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