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War Memorial Back on Track

Service of rededication after vandalism damage

A service of re-dedication took place at the Midland Railway War Memorial on Midland Road, Derby, on 17 the December 2010.

The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, and was originally dedicated on 15 December 1921 “to the memory of the 2,833 brave men of the Midland Railway staff who gave their lives in the Great War.”

In August vandals attacked the memorial, and ripped away two plaques giving the names of the fallen; fortunately the plaques were later recovered. At the time, Council leaders condemned the vandalism as a ‘deplorable crime’. Network Rail and the Railway Heritage Trust subsequently funded the restoration of this important memorial.

Fiona Taylor, route director for Network Rail, said, “It was extremely upsetting that this memorial was targeted by thieves twice in recent history. While we wanted to restore the plaques quickly, it was also important to make sure they were as secure as possible to deter such mindless vandalism in the future.”

Andy Savage, executive director of the Railway Heritage Trust, added: “We were greatly saddened when the memorial was attacked, and are proud to have been able to support its restoration.”

The original service of dedication was led by the Right Reverend Edward Hoskyns, the then Bishop of Southwell. Almost 89 years later to the day, the Revd James Lindsay, of the National Rail Chaplaincy Service, led the special occasion to rededicate the memorial. Thanks to the National Railway Museum at York, James was able use the original Prayer of Dedication from the 1921 service, adding to the moving atmosphere of the event.

The Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, Mr. Willie Tucker, read from the Roll of Honour, and the Lord Mayor of Derby, Councillor Amar Nath, read the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae. County Chairman for the Derbyshire Royal British Legion, Mr. Bernard Page paid tribute for the fallen and Mr. Adrian Harper served as Bugler for this historic day.

The service was also attended by representatives from the railway industry, railway families, the Royal British Legion and members of Ex-Service Associations. East Midlands Trains provided refreshments for the VIP guests in their First Class lounge at the railway station nearby.

Revd Lindsay added “It was a privilege for all of those involved in this important project. After such an act of desecration the memorial can be used once again by the people of Derby to reflect, contemplate, pray and remember.”


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