11th November 2018 – a whole century after the signing of the Armistice to end the war to end all wars. There have been many commemorative events all over the country to celebrate this, and each community’s contribution is unique in its own way. The parish of Calstock however, is unusual, in that the annual remembrance parade always takes place outside, not in the Parish Church. With the medieval Parish Church situated outside Calstock, the much newer St Anne’s Church in Gunnislake, and the little Church in Harrowbarrow, it was decided to place the Parish War Memorial in the middle of the parish in Albaston, and provide a small chapel.
When I moved to the village in 2007, and started taking part in the parade as part of the Scout Group, it was a very small affair. It was held unusually early to allow for “borrowing” a band, and indeed a vicar who could then go on to other commemorations. Our Town Crier, Hilary Fairhurst, and her husband Mick, who were the local Poppy Appeal organisers, basically arranged the whole thing. There were some interesting times – like the one where the vicar or reader failed to show up and Hilary did the whole service – some “different” musical interventions and usually only a few people from the parish present. For the last few years, with the focus of the centenary of the outbreak of the war in 1914, the attendance has grown steadily and this year was the largest yet by far.
Organised this year by the Parish Council, it was heartening to see so many organisations represented; the Parish Council of course, the Scout Group, local WI Groups, the Ambulance Service, the Football Club, Gunnislake Community Matters and many others, including individuals. Callington Royal British Legion has provided our very smart standard bearer for the last several years, and it was lovely to see a young serving servicemen carrying the standard this year. The parade that wended its way from the car park at Delaware School to the War Memorial was many times larger than any I can remember, and a very heartening sight. We needed that Police contingent to stop the traffic. The Callington Silver Band provided much needed tempo and a beautiful bugle salute.
Led by the Rev Chris Painter, the very short, simple service highlighted the enormously long list of names of men in the Parish who gave their lives in both World Wars and the Korean War. I am always struck by just how long it is. Following the march past and eyes right to the memorial, the parade fell out outside the Tamar Valley Centre (as usual) but unusually, went inside for some splendid refreshments courtesy of the Parish Council, and a fascinating display provided by the Parish Archive. Some lovely acapella singing by our own Shanty Group, The Last Watch, added to the sense of occasion. It was a commemoration we can all be proud of.
With many thanks to Lesley Smith for very kindly providing the above editorial and both Jane Ridsdill and Toby O’Neill for supplying some excellent photos from the day.