Stockbridge Scouts Group lead project which honours nine Commonwealth Airmen killed while training neat Stockbridge in World War 1. The Bishop of Southampton will dedicate a Memorial Plaque at Stockbridge’s 12th Century Church in the presence of representatives of the countries and descendants of the Airmen.
At 11am on Saturday 28th April, in the presence of the Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire, the Right Reverend Jonathan Frost, Bishop of Southampton will officiate at a dedication ceremony outside Old St Peter’s Church in Stockbridge of the memorial plaque honouring the memory of nine airmen, killed far from home whilst training to join what would become the Royal Air Force in 1918.
Representatives of the Armed Forces from Australia, Canada and South Africa, together with members of the family of one of the Canadian airmen and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission will attend the dedication. Music will be provided by a quintet from the Army Medical Services. The Scout Group, who have undertaken this initiative, will be on parade, together with the Royal British Legion Standard. The Scouts will give a presentation following the ceremony on their project. It includes the link they have now established with a school in Ardmona, Australia which one of the airmen attended.
No 93 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, was formed at Croydon and provided the training at Chattis Hill and Lopcome Corner Aerodromes in 1917 and 1918.
In this year, marks the centenary of the end of the First World War in 1918. This vibrant Scout Group (14th Andover (Stockbridge)), under the talented leadership of Frances Waghorn, Morwenna Collins and Jim Smith are to be congratulated for having researched the graves of these nine Commonwealth airmen (from Australia, Canada and South Africa) buried in the old graveyard opposite Old St Peter’s Church in Stockbridge. They decided, on their own initiative, to commission a simple memorial plaque in Welsh slate and to raise the money for its fabrication.
The plaque was fixed to the outside north wall of Old St Peter’s Church in December, appropriately close to the graves of the airmen on the other side of the Romsey Road. Its simple inscription – “In grateful memory of those from other lands who now rest in Stockbridge” chosen by the Scouts, names and commemorates these nine airmen (see picture below). They have located and been in touch with some of the descendants of these airmen in Australia and Canada and were delighted when a great nephew of one of the Canadians decided to come over for the dedication. Following the service, wreaths will be laid at the graves in the cemetery.
The dedication will be open for all to attend. For further information, please contact Morwenna Collins, firstname.lastname@example.org
The 14th Andover (Stockbridge) Scout Group is open to boys and girls aged 5 ½ – 14 ½ years old.
Main Photo: Picture of Old St Peter’s Church where the event is due to take place.