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Gravesend church to commemmorate First World War casualties with memorial plaque

PUBLISHED: 09:54 03 May 2016

Christ Church in Gravesend celebrates its anniversary

Christ Church in Gravesend celebrates its anniversary

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A badly-damaged original plaque was dug up three years ago and now church members are seeking help in delivering a replica

Church members in Gravesend are appealing for help in tracking down local ancestors of those who lost their lives during the First World War as they look to commemorate the fallen with a new memorial plaque.

Christ Church in Milton-next-Gravesend was given 2016 as its commemorative year by the local deanery, and is looking to stage a special service in the autumn to recognise the efforts of those who fought, as well as bringing together the community.

The Bishop of Rochester officiated at a service in 1922 in which the Warriors’ Chapel was dedicated, and a memorial plaque, inscribed with the names of those killed in action, was unveiled.

However, by 1935 the church was on the brink of almost completely falling apart, so a decision was taken to dismantle the building and move it quite literally brick by brick from its original site in the now Christ Church Crescent to its present site near Echo Square to help meet the needs of a town growing increasingly southwards.

The memorial plaque was lost in the transfer process before finally being dug up and recovered during work in the grounds of the church three years ago.

Much to their dismay, it was damaged and many years in the ground had rendered the names illegible.

Thankfully, members of the church have retained a list of the names that originally appeared on the plaque and have now launched plans to produce a replica memorial plaque to replace the original in the Warriors’ Chapel.

Over the weekend of September 16 and 17, the church will hold its commemoration events to mark the centenary of the Great War and is looking to reach out to relatives of those that gave their lives one hundred years ago.

Long-term member of the parish, John Hougham, told The Reporter: “On the Sunday we plan to include in our 10am service elements of the 1922 service which we have obtained from contemporary press coverage.

“A central part of our service will be the dedication by the Bishop of Rochester of a replica memorial plaque containing the names of the fallen from the First World War.

“We hope that as many people as possible will try to identify grandfathers or great-grandfathers.

“We are looking for sponsorship for the new plaque and hope that as many as possible will join us in the service of re-dedication.”

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