Oldfield Park Junior School (Bath) WW1 Memorial Project
Manvers Street Baptist Church (Bath)
This distinctive church has survived its own brush with war, after it took a direct hit in the Bath Blitz of 1942. Its main WW1 memorial is on the wall at the rear of the church and there was also a memorial raised by the Sunday School, see below.
Manvers Street Baptist Church Memorial
From Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette, Saturday 13th November 1920:
MANVERS STREET WAR MEMORIAL
Sunday's Dedication Ceremony
REV. T. HAYWARD ON ENGLAND'S NATIONAL PERIL
On Sunday evening, in the presence of a large congregation, including representatives of all the church organisations, among them the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, the bronze memorial tablet which has been erected in the Manvers Street Baptist Church to commemorate the 26 members of the church and institute who perished in the war was unveiled. The opening hymn was "O God our help in ages past." Mr. J. Ellis George then read Revelation ch. vii., verses 9 to 17; and Stainer's anthem, "What are these?" was sung by the choir. Prayer was then offered by the Rev. T. Hayward, and "O rest in the Lord" was played during the offertory. The hymn “For all the saints" was followed by the reading of the Roll of Honour by Alderman S W. Bush.
The Rev. T. Hayward said the atmosphere which they breathed that evening was redolent with memories — memories which were proud and grateful, and memories which were fond and tender. There was pride in their hearts which they all must feel in the remembrance of those men who in the Empire's need loved not their lives unto the death. He realised that there were some present that night who could never forget those who had fallen; they needed no memorial of bronze because all their hearts were memorial tablets which were inscribed with the names of those dear and gallant lads. We recognised that the parents who surrendered those lads had a share in the sacrifice they had made, and from which we had preserved our liberties. Such mourners might echo the words of the poet:—
I take my cross; and if my heart be bowed
The parent mourns; the patriot is proud.
For those who recollected the fallen that meeting was marked by the spirit of gratitude. By their sacrifice our fallen brothers had maintained for us those liberties in which we rejoiced. "They left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of the sight of men by the path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving their own lives that others might live in freedom. Let those who come after see to it that their names be not forgotten."
DUTY OF THE SURVIVORS
What should be our response? If we desired to make a response which should be worthy of the men who laid down their lives in the Great War, it must be a response which should awaken a noble patriotism in the hearts of our young men and women. These men were called on to endure hardships and perils which could never adequately described by any human tongue. If these men had been asked their conception of their duty, they would probably have replied in language similar to that of Rudyard Kipling:—
No easy hope or lies
Can bring us to our goal . . .
Who stands if Freedom fall
Who dies if England live?
ENGLAND'S NATIONAL PERIL
He saw no encouragement at the present time as he considered the deterioration which was taking place in morale and in spirit throughout our beloved land. When we remembered the wonderful spirit shown by our young men in the days of war, we recognised the peril to national welfare, national hopes, and national destiny in the deep tragedy of the deterioration that was manifested to-day in our public life and our national life. We all must realise that industrial strikes, class suspicions, the profanation of the marriage tie, and the selfishness of the profiteer, were symptoms of one malady. What was that malady? Surely it was the sin of Godlessness. We recognise, said the preacher, that England is in danger of forgetting God, and finally rejecting the appeal of God's Son. One could not fail to be impressed with the heroism, devotion and sacrifice of these wonderful men whom they were commemorating. If only these capacities of which they had given proof were to-day, in the hearts of those who survived, stimulated to finer issues in the power of Jesus Christ, what achievements might not work for the glory of our country? He appealed to the young men and women of that church to unite in such loyal service as should be fittingly inspired by the memory of those men whom they desired to honour that evening
ENGLAND'S PRESENT PROBLEM
"Tire Great War," said the preacher, "is over, but the age-long war between good and evil still goes on. I am here to say with intense conviction that England in the final result will not be gloriously the victor until she has achieved the conquest of herself.” As in the symbolical language the Book of the Revelation, which described the armies in heaven clothed in fine linen, white and clean, and riding on white horses, God called to-day for "white men" in His service. Surely the appeal of the young men whom they commemorated that evening's service was that we should trust the Master Whom they had trusted.
THE MEMORIAL UNVEILED
After the hymn "Ten thousand times ten thousand" had been sung. Mr. W. J. Barber unveiled the memorial. Before doing so he remarked that as we considered the unrest and the seemingly unpatriotic spirit which existed to-day, it was good to reflect on the inspiration of the patriotic deeds of the days of war. He added: "I unveil this tablet to the glory of God, and in honour of those whose names are inscribed thereon, who gave their lives that we who follow may enjoy the fruit of their sacrifice. May their unselfish patriotism be a lesson for us who follow at this time."
The "Last Post" was sounded and the concluding hymn was "Praise we our God." The service ended with the Reveille and the Benediction; as the congregation dispersed Mendelssohn's "Funeral March" was played.
The buglers at the service were Bugle-Major Wiltshire, Bugler H. Wiltshire, and Bugler S. Harper
In sacred memory of the young men of this
church and institute who gave their lives
in the Great War 1914-1918 in defence of the
liberties of nations.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down
his life for his friends"
Manvers Street Baptist Sunday School
Photographed in situ at Manvers Street Baptist Church in August 2014, at which time there was mention of this memorial being sent to Baptist Union HQ, which would be a sad and unnecessary loss of a city memorial to a place where it means little or nothing to anyone. Can a church really not find wall space for a memorial of this nature, in order to perpetuate its original purpose?
This memorial commemorates those who served, as well as those who died. Inscription:
In Honour of...
who served with the colours.
And in revered memory of
who made the supreme sacrifice.
All the above were members of this class.