Lambourn Royal British Legion
31st July 2017
In the evening of Monday 31st 2017, Lambourn commemorated the centenary of the start of the Battle of Passchendaele with a short and poignant event organised by the Royal British Legion. The commemoration began with a peel of the church bells, courtesy of Amanda Marchant and the bell ringers of St Michael and All Angels Church. The main attraction for the evening was the award-winning and accomplished historian, author and journalist, Sir Max Hastings, who gave an informative and compelling talk on Passchendaele and dispelled some of the myths surrounding the battle and the First World War. He spoke for over 30 minutes to a captivated audience of almost 140, who were then able to ask questions which Sir Max answered as comprehensively as the talk that he had just given. Over £180 was made from the profits of the sale of his books after the talk, which he kindly donated to the Poppy Appeal.
Additionally, there was a roll call of those from Lambourn who had fought in the Battle, expertly read by Peter Penfold. The evening rounded off with the Exhortation being read by Lambourn RBL Branch Chairman Mick Oliver, the Last Post and Reveille being played by Steve Chapman of the Wantage Silver Band and two very appropriate prayers read by Lambourn Vicar Rev Martin Cawte. As ever the Lambourn Branch Standard was paraded by Legion stalwart, John North. All events like this are akin to a swan, graceful to the public, but frantic paddling behind the scenes; the evening would not have been the success that it was without the diligent hard work of Claire Skelton, Ian Bradford and Keith Brown. Finally, Carol Silk put on a display of her research into those from Lambourn who fought at Passchendaele, and whose research provided the names for the Roll Call. It was a very interesting evening which attracted people from Lambourn and some from as far afield as Tadley and Basingstoke.