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Saturday
Oct132018

The Yarnton Memorial - the story so far

Over the years many people from the village have asked the question: Why haven’t we got a war memorial? After all, most of the surrounding villages have got one.  In the Great War (World War I, 1914-18) Yarnton lost fourteen men killed in action (as well as many wounded). The population of Yarnton at the time was approximately 309 – so the large percentage in terms of dead and wounded had a significant impact on the village.  In World War II (1939-1945) Yarnton lost four men killed in action (as well as wounded), the population at the time being approximately 637.  Yet again the small farming community of Yarnton was profoundly affected by these events.

However, as time went by the above events seemed to fade into the background.  It was not until recently that the subject of erecting a war memorial came to the fore, prompted by the fact that in November 2018 it would be the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I. The vicar of Yarnton at the time, the Reverend Nathan Jarvis, formed a small committee of like-minded villagers who thought that the village should have a memorial.  The committee at the time consisted of Nathan Jarvis, Paul Tweddle, Greg Morris and Robin Hearn.  The committee learned that the Co-op (Funeral Care) could help with funding some of the money towards the cost.  After discussions the Co-op agreed to fund the majority of the money - £4224.  However, this still meant that the committee had to raise a significant amount to complete the task.  A site was agreed on – the small green opposite the Royal British Legion in Rutten Lane.  Planning permission was obtained from Cherwell District Council. However, the present committee decided that there was a more suitable site on the same small green and re-applied for planning permission, but these things take time!

About eighteen months ago the committee lost Greg Morris (work commitments) and the Reverend Nathan Jarvis who moved to pastures anew. This left Paul Tweddle and myself to carry on. It was around this time that I asked a friend of mine, Ted O’Brien, if he would like to join the committee and help complete this project. Ted had always been a keen advocate of Yarnton having a war memorial, and in the last year Ted and I have taken over the task of getting things brought to a successful conclusion.  This has involved fund raising, dealing with various authorities, as well as collaborating with Brian Stovold, Ann Rivers and Barbara Dunn and the team at the Co-op.  I must thank the above for their generosity in time and effort. I would also like to acknowledge all of those who have given so generously to this project: village organisations, as well as very handsome donations made by individual villagers – you know who you are – thank you all.

The war memorial stone is dark Indian Granite.  It will stand five feet tall and is obelisk in form.  Underneath the plaque that bears the names of the fallen there is a legend carved into the stone:

‘Lest we forget’

‘The village did not forget’

In time I hope this memorial will become an integral part of the village, and also serve as a permanent reminder of the past – as well as a beacon of hope to a peaceful future.

A service will be held on Sunday 11th November 2018 at 11 a.m. at the memorial – All villagers welcome. Robin Hearn


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