THE CENTENARY of Rugby’s War Memorial Gates will be marked by civic leaders at a ceremony tomorrow (Saturday March 12).
The ceremony, which will include the laying of a wreath in Ukraine’s national colours, will mark 100 years to the day since the gates were dedicated – and will be attended by the granddaughter of the man who formally opened them a century ago.
Rugby’s war memorial takes the form of a pair of wrought iron gates with gold decoration, supported by two Portland stone piers with ornamental mountings. The names of soldiers from Rugby who fell in the major wars of the 20th century are inscribed on the piers.
The gates were unveiled on Sunday March 12, 1922 by Field Marshal Earl French of Ypres, assisted by Mr and Mrs Hardman, who had lost three sons in the war.
The gates were then dedicated by the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Dr A A David, a former Headmaster of Rugby School.
Mr Tom Reynolds, a local builder who had also lost three sons in the war, formally opened the gates with a large key presented by Foster and Dicksee, a local firm of building contractors. He was allowed to keep the key as a souvenir.
After Mr Reynolds had walked through the gates, those assembled sang the hymn O God Our Help in Ages Past, and the ceremony concluded with the laying of wreaths.
A hundred years on, Mr Reynolds’ granddaughter, Mrs Barbara Coleman, will be in attendance for the re-dedication ceremony.
The centenary ceremony will carry an extra poignance as a major European conflict once again takes place. The conflict in Ukraine will be marked during the ceremony with the laying of a wreath in Ukraine’s national colours.
The ceremony, which will take place in Whitehall Recreation Ground from 10:30am on Saturday (March 12), will be attended by the Mayor of Rugby, councillors and dignitaries.