WREATH LAYING CEREMONY AT THE SANDRINGHAM WAR MEMORIAL
Some 80 members of the Gallipoli Association and about 400 members of public attended a wreath laying ceremony at the Sandringham War Memorial on Sunday 10 January 2016 when Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh laid wreaths to mark the centenary of the final withdrawal of Allied Forces from the Gallipoli Peninsula It was a cold but beautiful day in bright sunshine, a welcome change after the dismal weather of the previous week.
Photograph: The Queen and HRH Duke of Edinburgh laying the wreaths.
The memorial records that it was ‘erected by HM King George V and HM Queen Mary to honour the memory of the officers and men of the Sandringham Company of the 5th Bn. The Norfolk Regiment and those on the estate who fell in the Great War’. It was unveiled by them, in the presence of HM Queen Alexandra, in 1920. 63 men are commemorated by name; it also commemorates those who fell in the Second World War. The four-stepped base carries the Royal Coast of Arms.
The ceremony took place at 12.00 noon after Her Majesty and other members of the Royal Family and their guests attended morning service in the historic and beautiful church of St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham Estate. Trustees and one or two members with a Norfolk connection were honoured to be invited to join the congregation for the service which was conducted by the Revd. Jonathan Riviere with the sermon preached by the Revd. Canon Dr Robert Innes, Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe.
After the service our Chairman and his wife, Dame Mary Fagan, escorted Her Majesty, His Royal Highness and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the grounds of the memorial where the Trustees and Lt. Colonel Gordon Birdwood, Chairman of the Gallipoli 100 sub-committee and Brigadier Max Marriner, County Colonel of The Royal Anglian Regiment were presented to Her Majesty and His Royal Highness. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness then took up their positions in front of the war memorial where the Revd. Jonathan Riviere gave a short introduction and said a prayer in memory of the Fallen of the campaign. Major General Sir William Cubitt, Norfolk County President of the Royal British Legion gave the Exhortation and Last Post was sounded followed by a short Silence and Reveille. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness then laid their wreaths; our Chairman laid a wreath on behalf of the Gallipoli Association in memory of all who fought or gave their lives in the campaign. Other wreaths were placed by Major General Sir William Cubitt, Brigadier Marriner and by Ms Valerie Brundle, Chair of the Dersingham and Sandringham Royal British Legion and Jemma Gerrard of the Sandringham Girl Guides.
After the ceremony Her Majesty and His Royal Highness, our Patron, together with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, spoke to a number of Association members present including Lt. Cmdr. Arthur Coxon, whose father served in the 5th Norfolks, Mr Robbie Hunter, the Great Grandson of Captain Frank Beck, the Agent at Sandringham, who was killed during the attack on Scimitar Hill and is commemorated on the memorial and by a plaque in the church of St Mary Magdalene. Mr Hunter was able to show Her Majesty and His Royal Highness the watch presented to Captain Beck before he left Sandringham for war service. Also presented were Graham Beck, nephew of Captain Beck, Mr Alan King whose father served in the 1st Norfolks, Major General Sir William Cubitt whose Grandfather, (killed in action), and three great uncles had all served in the 5th Norfolks at Gallipoli, and Richard de Robeck, Great Nephew of Admiral of the Fleet Sir John de Robeck who commanded the Naval operations at Gallipoli.
The commemoration attracted much media attention perhaps in part due to the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. After the service arrangements had been made for Association members and their guests to have lunch in the Visitor Centre which was much enjoyed and provided an opportunity for members to meet each other and share their experiences of a day they will remember for many years to come.
Photograph Below Left: The Queen meeting members of the Gallipoli Association. These included the son of doctor, Captain Cedric Coxon, 1/5th Norfolks who was captured at Gallipoli and also relatives from the Beck family. Captain Frank Beck was the Sandringham Estates Land Agent who was killed in the same attack on 12 August 1915.
Photograph Above Right: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge paying their respects at the service.
Photograph Above Left: The Queen meeting Trustees and members of the Gallipoli Association at the service.
Photograph Above Right: Christopher Fagan, Chairman of the Gallipoli Association paying his respects.
Photograph credits: Gary Evans (www.myeventphoto.co.uk)