Royal British Legion
Overton on Dee
Royal British Legion
The Overton Branch of the Royal British Legion, like all other branches is losing members to time. Already the Scouts and Brownies outnumber our members at the annual parade at the Overton Cenotaph.
We are, however, still active and raise over £2000 each year in the community, principally from the poppy appeal. All monies raised are paid into the Legion’s Benevolent Fund that has been used since the Great War to support the families of those who fell in battle and those injured.
This work is equally important today, with help given to those who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. A significant amount of help is being given to those injured passing through Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham.
Not all of our members today have been in the forces and we welcome new members from all walks of life who would like to support our armed forces in a practical and non-political way. If you would like to join please contact us.
President Peter Rosselli
Chairman David Burton
Vice Chairman Harold Toone
Treasurer Steve Futcher
Secretary Jean Williams
Contact David Burton Chairman
An Account of the Unveiling of the Overton Cenotaph 1921
The need to commemorate the Great War and those who died in it was recognised before it had ended, indeed such was the commitment for a lasting memorial that villages and towns made tremendous efforts to record, mainly in stone, those who had made the supreme sacrifice.
A memorial service was held on Sunday October 3rd 1920 at 2.45pm in St Mary’s Church for the “Men of the Parish who fell in the War 1914 – 1918”. During the service a Memorial Tablet was unveiled by Brig-General Lloyd commemorating 25 servicemen. The service was taken by Rev. Elliot Simpson and the Memorial Tablet was unveiled by Brig-Gen Lloyd with the following words:- “We people of Overton are gathered here as one family to remember those whom we have known and loved in this place, and who, by sea and land, have in this war given their lives for their country and for us. May we never forget what we owe them, and try always to follow their example of love and sacrifice” The Rector dedicated the Tablet saying:- “To the Glory of God and in memory of the men of Overton who fell in the service of their King and Country we dedicate this Tablet in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”.
After negotiations, conducted mainly by Major High Peel on the community’s behalf between the local Council and Flintshire County Council, permission was given by the County Council to erect a Memorial on land opposite the Church with the proviso it be eight feet from the highway. At the same time it was decided to provide, at a cost of £113, a footpath and kerbing from the corner of Overton Hall (Willow Street) to the Rectory. The Parish Council was accountable for the maintenance of the area until January 1941, when the responsibility reverted back to the County Council. It is now in the domain of the Community Council.
Public subscriptions had raised £170, and Ernest Jones whose premises were at the rear of the Cocoa and Reading Rooms, was commissioned to construct the Memorial. He also produced the Memorial at Bangor to a completely different design. The Unveiling and Dedication of the War Memorial took place on Thursday 10th November 1921 at 2.30pm.
The ceremony, stated in the Press as being very impressive, began with the schoolchildren and teachers assembling in the Church. A muster of ex-Servicemen marched to their places led by Major Hugh Peel, who was accompanied by Col. Lord Southwell, (Knolton Hall), Captain the Hon. John Southwell, Captain Wainwright and Sergeant Majors O’Leary of the R.W.F and Broad of the 5th Dragoon Guards. The local Foresters (Friendly Society) followed, then the parishioners, and in the rear Inspector Owen Jones and the Maelor Constabulary. Every seat was taken and the Service, conducted by Rev F.J.Okell; Rev G. Osborne and the Rev Harrop Williams, began with the recital of the Responses and the reading of the lesson. Wisdom chapter 3, 1-10. The hymn “How Bright These Glorious Spirits Shine” was sung.
A procession was formed to the Memorial in the order:- The Clergy and Choir, the local M.P. Lt. Col. T.H.Parry, DSO. The Buglars, Churchwardens and sidesmen, ex-Servicemen, relatives of the fallen, school children, Foresters and the rest of the congregation.
After an address by the Rev.F.J.Okell, the Roll of Honour was read which contained five additional names to those commemorated on the Memorial Tablet in the Church. Colonel Parry then unveiled the Memorial saying at the start of his address that it was a great privilege to be allowed to unveil the Memorial – a Memorial which expressed in permanent form the high regard, affection, and esteem, in which the memory of the men of Overton inscribed upon it were held in the parish. The Memorial served two objects. First that it was a permanent record of the deeds and the sacrifices made, and secondly, it would remind them daily and hourly of the great debt they owed these men.The Rector then dedicated the Memorial. What was described as a beautiful and moving service was brought to a close by the sounding of the Last Post and Reveille by Buglers from Wrexham Barracks. Wreaths were then placed around the Memorial.
The Memorial is worked out of red Runcorn stone, its base 11ft x 9ft, its height 10ft 6”. The names of the fallen are inscribed on a brass plate with wreaths and palms worked into the stone. A brass plaque commemorating those who fell during the 1939 – 45 conflict was added later.
In 1927 Overton Branch of the Womens Institute undertook the care of the Memorial and on the recommendation of Mrs Sarah Louise Jones, the widow of Ernest Jones, Mr Edwards (stonemason) of Ruabon Road, Wrexham, was employed to repair and clean the Memorial and repaint the chains at a cost of £4.10.0. this being met by the Womens Institute. Cleaning and repairs carried out in 1949 were paid for by the Royal British Legion and the Memorial now remains in their care.
Research carried out by Alan Jones for the Overton Oracle.