A dedication ceremony has taken place for a new interpretation board at 29th Division Memorial Island on the A45 at Stretton on Dunsmore.
Rugby Mayor Cllr Bill Lewis and Rugby MP Mark Pawsey joined Ian Binnie of the Gallipolli Association and Dunsmore Living Landscape’s Lucy Hawker to remember those of the Incomparable 29th who gave their services during WWI. Also present were Jessica Scuffle and Sophie Gambling whose poem ‘Krithia’ features on the board and who laid a wreath at it.
The board is the final part in the restoration works that have been undertaken this year at the site as part of the Dunsmore Living Landscape scheme. It explains the background behind both the 29th Division Monument, with King George V’s review of the troops in 1915 and the lime tree avenue that runs either side of the east bound carriageway of the A45. Replacing an older board that was by the side of the A45 itself, the new board is set back from the Fosse Way on a wide verge to allow safer viewing for those wanting to know more about the unique history of the site.
Cllr Bill Lewis said “It was an honour for me, as Mayor and First Citizen of Rugby, to be at the dedication of this new interpretation board. I am impressed with the poem composed by Jessica and Sophie. Congratulations to Ian Binnie and Lucy Hawker for what they have done to perpetuate the memory of the actions and sacrifices of the ‘Incomparable 29th’.
Mark Pawsey MP said “More than a century after the end of the Great War, it is more important than ever that we continue to remember the sacrifices of those who served. This new interpretation board will ensure that future generations will be able to read the story of the ‘Incomparable 29th’. I was delighted to be able to join the others to dedicate this board and I hope that its message, and Jessica and Sophie’s poem, will be read by many people in the coming years.”
Lucy Hawker said “My thanks go everyone involved in this project, particularly the Gallipoli Association and Rugby Borough Council who have contributed to the funding of the new board alongside the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Ian Binnie said “The mantra of the Gallipoli Association is to remember, honour and study the Gallipoli campaign. These three things certainly happened as part of the project. Passers by will be able to learn more about the sacrifices and successes of the 29th Division in Gallipoli and subsequent campaigns and the excellent relationship between the soldiers and the local civilians they were billeted with. As Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton, the Commander in Chief of the British and ANZAC forces at Gallipoli said, when he attended the dedication of the monument in 1921
“If you want to see a monument to tenacity you must not go to the Dardanelles. Come to Warwickshire and look here. The 29 Division had come here on a three month visit in 1915: now they are here to stay”.
Here are the poems that were read out during the dedication ceremony:
The Landing of the 29th Division at Gallipoli – L. Cpl. T. W. Jackson, 29 Div., 1916
Have you ever heard the story
You, who sit at home in ease
Of the fighting at Gallipoli
Miles away across the seas;
How the twenty-ninth Division
Won fame with every breath;
Who gave for King and Country
Everything e’en to death.
How they landed on that morning
In the early days of Spring
And gave their all for honour,
Home and King?
I’ve told my story; I know it’s true
And the rest I’m going to leave to you.
When you sit at home
On those Winter nights
And think of old England’s
Conquests and fights.
Remember the Divisions – the 29th too –
The lads that were tested, tried and
Krithia, by Jessica Scuffle and Sophie Gambling, Knightlow School 2019
Krithia, a violent place,
Will we survive the dark and hate?
Too hot, too cold, can never decide,
Our boredom, all feelings are kicked to the side.
With No-Man’s Land flashing red,
Wire, wood, earth and mud all we have left.
Will you let us live?