For the second time during the centenary of the commemoration of World War I, the Abingdon (Borough) Roll of Service has been read at St Helen’s Church. The first time was in 2014 ,one hundred years after the start of the war, and this second time is today, November 10th 1918, at the end of the bloody war.
Lots of people were invited to read. Some with family connections, some not.
They read Surname, Christian names, and address. The reading took on a particular rhythm with the emphasis on the surname, many of which were repeated lots of times. The reading was sometimes broken up with poems.
The names of the men who died on service are printed in heavier type in the Roll and they were read from the pulpit, while those who endured injury, or the hardship and horror of the war, were read from the lectern.
The Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire (the Queen’s representative) read the the end of the G’s.
Then Ewart Hemmings, a former Mayor of Abingdon, read H’s into the Hemmings, including his father.
There were a lot of Hemmings, and at least four were read from the pulpit together with the place of death.
Another name to be read from the pulpit was King, Percival Arthur, 22 Ock Street. There were also a lot of Kings. Percival was killed in action at Mons while serving with the Royal Berkshire Regiment as part of the British Expeditionary Force. He was Abingdon’s first fatality of WW1 and King street on the new Morland Garden development is named after him. Thanks to Steve for sending me that.