Currently, there is no access to the interior of St. Peter’s. However, a special dispensation by the Diocese was given to the Trustees to allow a small group of people to enter the church to lay a wreath at the First World War memorial, and to observe the two-minute silence on Saturday 11th November 2023. Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to publicise the event, which was attended by five of the Trustees: Richard Norburn (Chairman), Carolyn Hindocha (Secretary), Nick Fathers, Sandra Moore and Andy Warren.
Arrangements were made for someone from the Diocese to open the church before 11 am to allow us to carry out some “housekeeping” around the memorial. To our surprise, the keyholder was Archdeacon Richard Worsfold, who arrived with the enormous key to the vestry door. The Archdeacon was instrumental in arranging our access to St. Peter’s, and we were pleased to be able to thank him in person, and for the opportunity to invite him to join us in observing the two-minute silence.
The Exhortation was given by Richard Norburn and the two-minute silence was observed; Richard then recited the Kohima Epitaph followed by a short prayer (that also included a reference to St. Peter’s often overlooked Boer War memorial). The wreath was then laid on the memorial by Richard.
They shall grow not 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.
The Exhortation is an extract from a poem written by Robert Laurence Binyon called “For the Fallen”, composed in September 1914.
The Kohima Epitaph:
When you go home, tell them of us and say,
For your tomorrow, we gave our today.
The Kohima Epitaph is the epitaph engraved on the Memorial of the 2nd British Division in the cemetery of Kohima (North-East India).
The verse is attributed to John Maxwell Edmonds (1875-1958), and is thought to have been inspired by the epitaph written by Simonides of Ceos to honour the Greeks who fell at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480BC.
The Burma Star Association (BEF) [Far East Veterans] use the Kohima; therefore, the Kohima is normally only said if there are no Burma Star Veterans present at church services.