The Act of Remembrance at the War Memorial in the village of Lydford on the North West edge of Dartmoor took place last Sunday.
Parishioners from the village attended St Petroc’s Church, next to the castle, before walking the 475 yards to the village War Memorial. There under a crisp blue sky a simple wreath laying ceremony took place, presided over by the Revd Alison Ducker. The wreath laying was led by three boys from Lydford primary school who had made their wreath.
This was followed by the others who stepped back, heads bowed, as the minister said the words: “Let us remember before God, and commend to his sure-keeping those who have died for their country in war; and all who have lived and died in the service of mankind.”
The 23 names listed on the memorial were read out. The minister spoke again to say: “They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.” All repeated: “We will remember them.” This was followed by the two-minute silence.
Lydford which has a population of about 400 has given more than most towns and villages across this land, having lost soldiers in every recent conflict except Korea. Of the 23 names on the Lydford War Memorial Private William Henry Daw of the Coldstream Guards was the first to die on 6th February 1915, he was 22. Air Commodore Philip Herbert and his wife Gwendoline lost three sons during the Second World War, all flying officers with the RAF.
Philip William Herbert, Richard Vivian Herbert and Gerald Bevill Herbert all died during the conflict with Nazi Germany. During the Falklands Campaign during 1982 Lieutenant Nicholas (Nick) Taylor a helicopter pilot on HMS Hermes was the first Air Arm Pilot to be killed on the 4th May 1982, he was found strapped to his ejector seat by Argentine soldiers who gave him a funeral with full military honours.
The last name to be placed on the Lydford war memorial was that of Private Andrew Kelly, a member of 3 Parachute Regiment who died during a shooting incident in Basra, southern Iraq on the 6th May 2003. Andrew was 18 years old. Lydford’s loss in conflict became the subject of a book written by Clive Aslet, the editor of Country Life magazine, entitled ‘War Memorial’ – the story of one village’s sacrifice from 1914-2003.