Remembrance 1939

Headline from "The Advertiser," 17th November, 1939.

2020 has been a very different kind of Remembrance, but our problems pale by comparison with the way people must have felt during the Remembrance of Armistice Day in November 1939.

Here are some extracts from “The Advertiser,” which detail how local communities remembered the fallen of The Great War and stiffened their resolve for the conflict that had already begun to change their lives – World War II.


The Royal Naval Old Comrades Association were represented by their standard and the few of their number that hadn’t been recalled to active service. In contrast more than 100 lads of the East Surrey sea cadet corps paraded through the streets of Kenley and Purley with the Kenley British Legion.


At the War Memorial in Marlpit Lane Recreation Ground, Rev. Campling of St. Andrew’s church, said Armistice Day would: “bring back memories to many of them of their old billets and their old comrades who served with them in the mud and devastation of the battlefield. They would remember those who laid down their lives in The Great War.

Today, another generation was carrying on that same struggle. During the intervening time there had been nothing but unrest and division in the world with revolution in Germany and Russia, and wars in Europe, Africa and Asia. One thing, however, came out clearly; what we were striving for was not just victory, but peace and brotherhood.”


Canon Armytage gave the address at St. John’s,  saying that “each of them had memories of those who went out twenty-five years ago and never returned and those who went out really believing they were going on a crusade to fight a war which would end war.


There had been raised recently a kind of cynical criticism which had said, ‘They died in vain; what is the use of it?’….It was true, they did not secure their aims, but they tried to and there’s was not the failure. It was we, the whole civilised world, who had failed them and it was now clear that man could not sit down and let bad faith and proud force rule the world. Honour was more precious than life, and honour and the sanctity of one’s word among nations, was more highly praised even than security.”

Lest we forget…

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