Though they be dead yet they speak…
So runs the inscription at the foot of the Great War memorial window in St James’. Even before the centenary of the outbreak of hostilities arrives, the nation has begun to remember the countless individual stories that form a tapestry of tragedy, courage and sacrifice. Their stories speak to us today.
On 21 November 1914, just 116 days after the start of the Great War, young Lieutenant Eric Carr Liptrott was mortally wounded in action at Festubert in northern France. Just five days earlier Liptrott had been mentioned in dispatches for his gallant and distinguished service as he rescued his wounded comrade in a night action, carrying him to safety through heavy fire. He died five days after being wounded himself and was buried at Boulogne. As a Gentleman Cadet from the Royal Military College he had been appointed Second Lieutenant to serve in the Indian Army seven years before his death, so, I guess, would have counted among the more experienced of our troops
Like the vast majority of the nine million combatants who lost their lives in the Great War, he had left loved ones back home. In Eric’s case, his father was Vicar of St James, West Teignmouth. Shortly after the war, The Revd B B Liptrott raised funds to install a great memorial window at St James. As it was unveiled at a crowded service on Sunday 25th July 1920, so were revealed individual panes containing the names and regimental badges of 111 parishioners who gave their lives. 111 stories, including that of his own son Eric
At 3.00pm on Sunday 27th July 2014, the day before the centenary of the start of World War 1, we gathered in St James to honour the courage and sacrifice of those who answered the call to arms. Members of local veteran and uniformed organisations and an address from a serving Army Chaplain helped us remember that the sacrifice and courage of the so-called ‘war to end all wars’ have been in evidence in every decade since.
Rev'd Preb Graham Stones
Haldon Team Ministry