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Centenary commemoration for war memorial gates 

CIVIC leaders will mark one hundred years since Rugby’s war memorial gates were dedicated this weekend.

A lantern shines on the Whitehall Rec memorial gates to commemorate a centenary since the outbreak of war in 1914.
A lantern shines on the Whitehall Rec memorial gates to commemorate a centenary since the outbreak of war in 1914. Published Friday, 11th March 2022

They will attend a short ceremony at the gates in Whitehall Recreation Ground, one hundred years to the day since they were dedicated.

Rugby's war memorial takes the form of a pair of wrought iron gates with gold decoration, supported by two Portland stone piers with ornamental mountings.

The names of the men of Rugby who fell in the major wars of the twentieth century are inscribed on the piers.

The gates were unveiled on Sunday 12 March 1922 by Field Marshal Earl French of Ypres, assisted by Mr and Mrs Hardman, who had lost three sons in the war. The gates were then dedicated by the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Dr A A David, a former Headmaster of Rugby School. Mr Tom Reynolds, a local builder who had also lost three sons in the war, formally opened the gates with a large key presented by Foster and Dicksee, a local firm of building contractors. He was allowed to keep this key as a souvenir.

After Mr Reynolds had walked through the gates, those assembled sang "O God our help in ages past", and the ceremony concluded with the laying of wreaths.

A hundred years on, Mr Reynolds’ granddaughter, Mrs Barbara Coleman, will be in attendance for the re-dedication ceremony.

The centenary ceremony will carry an extra poignance as a major European conflict once again takes place. The conflict in Ukraine will be marked during the ceremony with the laying of a wreath in Ukraine’s national colours.

The ceremony, which starts at 10:30am on Saturday 12 March, will be attended by the Mayor of Rugby, councillors and dignitaries.

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