Dedication of the Plaque for Francis Grenfell VC and Act of Remembrance for the War Dead.
It was an extra special Remembrance Sunday for Beaconsfield, a truly historic occasion, when a beautiful commemorative stone was unveiled to Capt. Francis Grenfell VC.
Hundreds of people attended both the outside Remembrance Sunday service and the service that followed inside St. Mary’s and All Saint’ Parish Church. The town’s air cadets, scouts, guides and cubs were all on parade.
There was a large gathering of the Grenfell family and after Rev Dr Jeremy Brooks’s introduction, Lt Col Patrick Lort- Phillips read out the full citation for the VC together with added words of appreciation about Francis Grenfell.
The Mayor of Beaconsfield Cllr Steve Jones unveiled the commemorative stone.
Floral tributes were then laid at the stone alongside Captain Grenfell’s medal board by the Lord Lieutenant; the Mayor on behalf of Beaconsfield Town Council; Lord Grenfell on behalf of the family; LT Col Lort- Phillips on behalf of the 9/12th Lancers; and Mr. Frank Grenfell on behalf of Eton College. Two members of the 9/12 th Lancers in military dress were present for the ceremony. They had travelled from Germany to be there, bringing with them the medals of Francis Grenfell kept by the regiment.
A piper played “ Flowers of the Forest “
Prayer of dedication
At 11 am the Last Post then two minutes silence. Reveille and then the laying of the wreaths followed.
After the service in St. Mary’s a Curry Lunch had been arranged in the Fitzwilliams Centre for invited guests and many of the Grenfell family.
Those present included the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, the Mayor of Beaconsfield, plus representatives of Guildford Borough Council, Dominic Grieve MP, Lord Grenfell and members of the Grenfell family, the two Lancers, Town Councilors, Rev Dr Jeremy Brooks and the Town Crier Dick Smith.
The Beaconsfield Society had a table and Irene Stanbury from The Beaconsfield Historical Society also joined us.
On each table place there was as a memento, a leaflet produced by the Beaconsfield Society entitled “The Grenfell Connection “.
Then on behalf of Lord Grenfell and all the Grenfell family, Lt Col Patrick Lort- Phillips gave a short speech of thanks in appreciation of the great hospitality extended by the people and the Mayor of Beaconsfield.
Finally it should be acknowledged that there was a great deal of work involved by the World War 1 working group in organizing this historic occasion. Obtaining the commemorative stone was one of the group’s projects and it was another good example of local groups and the Town Council working together for the commemoration of the centenary of WW1. The Town Council applied for a grant from SBDC and paid for the commemorative stone.