The ceremony today, part of the usual Holy Communion service, marked the laying down of the standard of the Evesham arm of a group which has marked the efforts of Second World War veterans in the Far East for the past 50 years, as it is about to close.
Chairman Maurice Andrews said that since its formation in May 1960, the branch had 60 medal holders as members but membership now was down to just 17 from Evesham, Pershore, Stratford and Stow.
“The decision to close down the branch has been difficult to arrive at but for reasons of age, disability and other health reasons the few remaining members find it difficult to attend branch functions and to take on the responsibility of running the branch,” he said.
The final service was conducted by the Rev Andrew Spurr and John Turner, branch padre
All Saints Church on a bright, crisp morning
At the conclusion of the address, the congregation stand while the Standard Party moves from the rear of the church to the platform step where the Rev Andrew Spurr and Chairman of the branch, Maurice Andrews MBE wait.
The standard is lowered, the last post sounded and one minutes silence observed.
The branch chairman, Maurice Andrews then recited the Kohima Epitaph
“When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today”
Reveille was sounded as the standard is raised once more.
The chairman then received the standard from the standard bearer, Ron Walker
and turned to face the Rev Andrew Spurr
The following then took place
Rev Andrew Spurr
“It is an ancient and laudable custom to lay up in the house of God the emblem of duty and service, there to remain for all time as a reminder of a duty well done and of the strength that God supplies”.
Branch Chairman Maurice Andrews
“Reverend Sir, I ask you to receive the standard of the Evesham and District Branch of the Burma Star association for safe lodging in this house of God until such time as it will pass to dust like those whose courage and devotion are enshrined in history”.
Rev Andrew Spurr replies
“We receive this standard into safe keeping at God’s house, here to hang for all time as a reminder to those who pass by of everyone’s duty to God, to the sovereign and nation”.
Rev Andrew Spurr then placed the standard on the high Alter and said this prayer
“Almighty God and Lord of hosts, we now lay up this emblem of courage and steadfastness. May all who look upon it be reminded of their duty to God the Queen and the nation, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen
The congregation remained standing for the Nicene creed as the service continued.
Wendy and I were very pleased to be invited to represent Wychavon at this important ceremony.