POOLE’S St James Church was packed out yesterday afternoon as residents, serviceman, ex-servicemen and civic dignitaries gathered to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War.

The Rev Lucy Holt led the poignant service, which was just one of a series of events taking place in the area to commemorate the centenary of the start of the conflict.

Others speaking included the Rt Revd Dr Graham Kings, Bishop of Sherborne, and the Revd Canon Antony MacRow-Wood.

The service, which featured the Last Post and two minutes of silence, also included the reading of a letter sent from a young soldier to his mother from the Battle of the Somme.

In the letter, the young Tommy wrote how he had watched his comrades getting cut down by German machine gun fire and shells.

A prayer of commemoration, led by Revd Holt, included the words: “On this day we especially ask that you would hold forever all scarred by warfare, those who waited anxiously at home and those who returned wounded and disillusioned.

“Those who mourned and those communities that were diminished and suffered loss.”

Following the service and sermon, servicemen, ex-servicemen and uniform groups – including crew from HMS Medusa, which was moored in Poole Harbour for the weekend – paraded along Thames Street to The Guildhall.

Poole Mayor Cllr Peter Adams, who delivered a reading at the service, said: “The First World War changed the world, so it is absolutely right that a hundred years on we put remembrance at the heart of our centenary commemorations.

“We are proud to remember and honour the Poole men and women who played such a vital role during the war.”

Floral tribute to poet Brooke and gardeners

TO commemorate the beginning of WW1, two flower beds in Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens will pay tribute to the poet Rupert Brooke, whose work was heavily influenced by his frequent visits to the town in the 1900s and 1910s.

The beds will be planted in memory of all gardeners who lost their lives in both world wars.

Its wild flowers are indigenous to Greece, where Brooke, left, is buried.

The memorial garden will be named after the famous soldier to remind people of a talented man who had many links to Bournemouth.

On the outside wall of an unremarkable house in Richmond Park, a plaque is inscribed with the words ‘Here Rupert Brooke (1888-1915) Discovered Poetry’. He paid many visits to two of his aunts who lived here.

The impact of the town on his writing is evident in the poem ‘Seaside’, where Brooke evokes imagery of ‘the old unquiet ocean’ and ‘curves and glimmers outward to the unknown’.

Brooke was best known for his idealistic war sonnets, in which he effectively advocated a peace, such as ‘The Soldier’ and ‘The Dead’.

Legion stages two-minutes’ silence

MEMBERS of Winton & Moordown Royal British Legion Institute and Club marked the commemoration with a respectful service at their clubhouse yesterday.

They marked the occasion with a moving two minutes of silence, before the Ode of Remembrance and the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ were read out by club officials.

Club president Bruce Harley said: “We are attached to the Royal British Legion and this is an important event to commemorate.

“For some time now this history hasn't really been taught, although over the past two or three years it seems to be that schools have started to pick up on it. This history is very important. To paraphrase a famous quote, ‘people who forget their history are condemned to repeat it’.”

The ceremony at the club's Wimborne Road headquarters included readings by club chairman Robert Lowery and branch secretary Esme Scott.

The Winton & Moordown RBL club was founded in 1919 by Great War veterans. At the time it was an ex-servicemen’s club and only became affiliated to the Royal British Legion in the 1920s.

New members are always welcome – visit wintonlegion.co.uk for more details


Bournemouth Echo: Woodland Trust