Roll of Honour Rededication & Act of Remembrance 2023
Posted on November 13, 2023
Lest we forget
The West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust is proud to be the custodian of one of, if not the only, original roll of honour commemorating the 2500 GWR (Great Western Railway) staff who made the ultimate sacrifice during WW1.
101 years ago, on Armistice Day 1922 the chairman of the Great Western Railway, Viscount Churchill, unveiled the bronze war memorial on Platform 1 at Paddington Station. At the same time as the memorial the GWR produced lithographed Rolls of Honour mounted in wooden frame and these were put up at the principal station. Just 4 of these survive today, at Bristol Temple Meads, Taunton, Exeter St David s and Newton Abbot, but these rolls are replicas. The one here at Bishops Lydeard, in the Gauge Museum, is an original.
By 2002 the rolls were in a very poor condition, and they were carefully removed by expert conservator and facsimiles were produced with these going back to above mentioned station with the help of the Railway Heritage Trust. When the Gauge Museum was refurbished in 2019/2020 the plastic frame and perspex were replaced by a wooden frame and glass. The wooden frame was based on the one at Exeter St Davids with the GWR coat of arms on the top. Our frame was made by an apprentice at a joinery in Isle Abbots. Due to Covid intervening we were unable to dedicate the memorial at the time, so we held our service this year.
We were very honoured to have the presence of Deputy Lord Lieutenant Clinton Rogers, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant represented the sovereign and Bishop Nigel Stock conducted the service whilst 40 Commando provided an honour guard of a sergeant and 4 men, 3 marines and one seaman. The 40 Commando team laid a wreath on behalf of the regiment and lit the candle of remembrance. John Leach played his trumpet to sound the Last Post and Reveille.
The Trust had previously invited family members of those fallen listed on the Roll of Honour to attend and were very pleased to welcome Laurie Hockley with his wife and father as relatives of one of the soldiers mentioned on the GWR Roll of Honour.