Lurgashall church unveils first world war plaque

Michael Oakland, The Rev Peter Hayes and Paul Eaton at the ceremony SUS-150605-125813001
Michael Oakland, The Rev Peter Hayes and Paul Eaton at the ceremony SUS-150605-125813001

THE Parish of Lurgashall has commissioned and dedicated a commemorative plaque in the Church of St Laurence.

The purpose of the plaque is to recognise the enormous efforts made and hardships endured by the villagers of Lurgashall during the first world war and to express the thanks of the present villagers for those efforts and sacrifices.

The plaque was the brainchild of Michael Oakland, former parish clerk, who is also the author of ‘A Richer Dust’, an account of the lives and deaths of all Lurgashall residents whose names are recorded on the village war memorial.

The plaque is surmounted by an engraved tablet depicting a Lurgashall scene from the period with fields and woods framing the church spire, a hand plough and a discarded rifle, helmet and pack. It represents the peace of the Sussex countryside compared with the horrors of the war.

The tablet and plaque were the work of resident Paul Eaton, a noted jeweller and engraver and vice-president of the Royal Society of Miniaturists.

The plaque was blessed and dedicated by the Reverend Peter Hayes, the Priest-in-Charge at St Laurence. Rev Hayes is an especially appropriate person to have conducted the ceremony as he is a retired Colonel Chaplain in the Australian Army, and the day before the service was the centenary ANZAC day, the most important commemorative day in the Australian calendar.