On Monday 22nd September 2014, the Royal British Legion held a memorial service for a local man killed during the First World War; as part of the ‘Every Man Remembered’ campaign, individuals are being commemorated around the country by the Armed Forces Associations and relatives of the fallen.
Alan Scott, Branch Secretary of St Ives and District Branch, Royal British Legion, sent invites to local Branches of the Royal Naval Association, including to Karl Webb, Hon. Secretary, Huntingdon & District Branch, stating that;
On 22nd September 2014, we will be remembering Stoker 1st Class Lenham Yates, RN who died when his ship, HMS Aboukir was torpedoed by the German submarine U-9 off Ostend on the same date in 1914. U-9 actually sank 3 cruisers, HMS Aboukir, HMS Hogue and HMS Cressy in the same action with the loss of 62 officers and 1397 other ranks. The loss of the 3 ships caused shock and outrage among the general public and was a huge wake up call for the Royal Navy, who were forced to modify their order of battle and tactics when they realised the nature and scale of the threat from German submarines.
Of course, Huntingdon & District Branch members will always attend these parades where possible, and so, S/M Karl Webb arrived at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene for the Service. Karl was informed that the Service would also commemorate Stoker William James Sadler (who had also served onboard HMS Aboukir) and that relatives of both naval ratings were in attendance.
S/M Keith Ridley, Chairman, St Neots and District Branch had also arrived at the church, and so with two RBL Standards from St Ives (Paraded by Barry Pattison and Jane Crowe), all four Standard Bearers fell in either side of the Lych Gate at St. Mary Magdalene.
William Sadler’s Granddaughter, Barbara Warrior, had seen an article stating that the RBL will be holding the Service for Lenham Yates, and spoke with Mike Robinson (Poppy Appeals Organiser, St Ives RBL) to see if William could be remembered at the service as well.
Attendees also included: Colonel Derek Bristow OBE DL, Grace McLaren (Chairman Women’s Section, St Ives RBL – and a willing volunteer photographer for Huntingdon Branch on the day), Barbara’s daughter (Meg Stanford) and granddaughter (Emma Kent), Lenham’s great nieces, Jenny Cornwall and Pat Simonds, other members of the RBL, and residents of Hilton village.
The ceremony itself got underway with presentations of posies and citations commemorating Lenham and William’s role in the war. The Last Post was played and a minute’s silence held.
After the service, the two families were able to have photographs taken with the Standard Bearers before heading into the church for some light refreshments.
Both sets of relatives were extremely pleased with the service and thanked all members of the RBL and RNA for their attendance. This is not the last of the ‘Every Man Remembered’ programme for St Ives RBL, two more are scheduled for 2014, with 19 planned in 2015.
As always, We Will Remember Them.
Gallery: Click on the first image to view other photographs taken during the ‘Every Man Remembered’ Service:
On 22nd September, a memorial was unveiled to the men lost onboard HMS Aboukir, HMS Houge, and HMS Cressy. Click here to see the Navy News article.