The Bishop of London has led a special service of remembrance marking the installation of a war memorial in St Mary Abchurch in the City of London. The bronze memorial, which is dedicated to local men who fought in the two world wars, was found in the church crypt after fifty years. It has now been returned to the church tower and rededicated to the men it honours.
The memorial names thirty-eight men from the First World War, thirty-five of whom served and returned, the other three having died during the fighting. It also honours eleven men from the Second World War, of which, tragically, none survived. All of the men were associated with Joseph Travers & Sons Ltd, a wholesale grocer whose head office used to be in Cannon Street.
St Mary Abchurch, one of the many churches supported by Friends of the City Churches, is a symbolic home for the memorial. The church’s dome, which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren following the Great Fire of London, was severely damaged during the London Blitz in 1940.
The ceremony was attended by the families of the men named, representatives of The Royal British Legion, The Commonwealth War Graves Commission and by many members of Friends of the City Churches, a charity integral to the preservation of churches in the City of London. As well as rededicating the memorial, the service of remembrance paid tribute to the sacrifice made by all British and Commonwealth servicemen and women killed and injured in conflicts.
Speaking after the service, The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, the Bishop of London, said:
“I’d like to thank Friends of City Churches, who are based here in the beautifully preserved St Mary Abchurch, for their invaluable support in making this service of remembrance possible. Remembrance is especially poignant when, at times like this, it focuses on men and women from the same communities as ourselves. I’m pleased that churches across the capital have been able to help people come together to share prayers and pay tribute to those who fought and died for their country. Let us never forget their sacrifice and dedication.”
The ceremony at St Mary Abchurch was one of a number of services which took place across the Diocese of London, which fell silent as churches and organisations held their own services of remembrance to honour the country’s war dead. The Bishop also led the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, attended by Her Majesty The Queen, HRH The Prince of Wales and other dignitaries, including the Prime Minister and over 700 representatives of the Armed Forces.