A new exhibition commemorating servicemen from Chiswick who died in World War 1 opens today in St Michael & All Angels Church, Bedford Park. A Choral Requiem Mass will be held in the church at 9.45am on Remembrance Sunday November 12th, followed by a procession to the war memorial outside the Parish Hall.
Those remembered in the exhibition include Commander Walter Sterndale Bennett, RNVR, DSO and Bar, who died of his wounds 100 years ago today, November 7th, in 1917. Another whose life is being commemorated is Lieutenant Arthur Nixon of the Royal Flying Corps who was killed a month after his wedding at St Michael & All Angels.
37 of the 128 servicemen named on the parish war memorials fell in 1917. Ten of their stories are being told on large panels in the church, including photographs of the men and their homes and images of medals, gravestones, maps, a 1917 timeline, letters of condolence and other documents.
New website dedicated to Chiswick’s WW1 dead
It’s the fourth annual World War 1 exhibition at St Michael & All Angels, researched and compiled by one of its congregation, David Beresford. The stories are also now told on a new website devoted to the St Michael & All Angels Church World War I Project, funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund which you can see here.
There are lesson plans to help teachers use the stories and documents in class. Local schools have been invited to visit the church to see the exhibition and parish war memorials.
David Beresford said: “The number who fell in 1917 is almost as many as the 40 we remembered in the previous three years from August 1914. As the conflict continued, the rate of attrition rose inexorably, requiring constant replenishment of manpower and the compulsory national service of those over the age of 18.”