Hackney remembers fallen soldiers

Benjamin Frederick Barnard, a pilot who was tragically killed starting his own propeller

Benjamin Frederick Barnard, a pilot who was tragically killed starting his own propeller - Credit: Archant

Those who fought and gave their lives in battle will be remembered across Hackney over the next week, 100 years after the start of the First World War.

Percy Meadows, who was killed fighting the Germans in Gaza in November 1917

Percy Meadows, who was killed fighting the Germans in Gaza in November 1917 - Credit: Archant

A series of commemorative events, including a service at St John at Hackney Church on Remembrance Sunday, are set to attract crowds of hundreds embraced in thoughtful silence in the streets.

On Sunday evening, St Peter De Beauvoir church will hear the reading of 163 names that are commemorated in the chapel as an exhibition on the back of almost a year’s worth of research into the men’s lives.

Tens of thousands of men from the borough took part in the Great War that killed more than one million Britons between 1914 and 1918.

Sharon Patrick, Hackney Council’s speaker, said: “Remembrance Day is always a moving occasion where people from all faiths and walks of life gather together to pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedom we and others around the world enjoy today.

“This year will be particularly poignant as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Great War and I would ask residents to join us on Sunday to remember the fallen.”


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The annual Remembrance Sunday service begins with a wreath-laying ceremony at St John at Hackney Church Cenotaph at 10.40am and is followed by a Remembrance Service ceremony at the church. A two-minute silence will be held at 11am.

A parade, which includes members of the Royal British Legion, will perform the traditional march-past and salute outside Hackney Town Hall at about 12.25pm before laying wreaths at the Town Hall War Memorial.

Hackney was particularly badly hit by the First World War, with the first bomb of the conflict to fall from a zeppelin in London landing in the garden of the Nevil Arms Pub in Nevil Road, Stoke Newington, in May 1915.

The borough was also the site of a special royal visit after a roll of honour shrine in Palace Road in South Hackney prompted Queen Mary to take a look for herself in August 1916.

At St Peter De Beauvoir, a project started in February has led to new light being shed on the lives of all but 14 of the 163 names commemorated at the church.

Among them was Benjamin Frederick Barnard, who joined the Royal Flying Corps in August 1914 at the age of 25 and was tragically killed in a freak accident almost exactly a year later.

Aircraft engines in those days had to be started manually by rotating the propeller from the front and Mr Barnard, of Dunston Road, was fatally injured when the propeller of his plane turned unexpectedly and hit him.

Another, Percy Meadows, was killed fighting the Germans in Gaza in November 1917, while Arthur Churchfield, of Northchurch Road, was killed just six days before the armistice by mustard gas.

At the church on Sunday at 5.30pm a candle will be lit for each of the men that died, actors will read war poems and a narrator and Hackney New School Chamber Choir will sing marching songs.

A trumpeter will finish off with the Last Post and Reveille.

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