Thursday, 23 May 2019
Sunday, 12 November 2017

At the going down of the sun... We shall remember them
– But not in Slough

A Letter from Mr Malcolm Hellings

Photographs: Paul Janik

The sad dilapidated state of the town's war memorial

Faded names, weathered away

Civic Concern

A Letter from Mr Malcolm Hellings, a long-time Slough resident.

One hundred years ago this week saw the end of the battle of Passchendaele.

The battle had raged for more than 3 months in miserable weather conditions and the casualty count was 325,000 allied and 260,000 Germans dead and wounded.

Very little ground was gained from the allied offensive.

One of the British allied headquarters rationale for the offensive was that with the Americans entering the war any huge loss of life would be much more damaging to the German war effort than that of the allied armies.

That same week Kerensky, Russia's first socialist revolutionary government, was overthrown by the Bolsheviks lead by Lenin and Trotsky.

Shortly after coming to power the new Russian government signed a peace deal with the Germans which would mean that all the German forces on the Russian front would now be transferred to the main battlefields in Europe.

So much for British military forward thinking.

This Sunday will see the Remembrance Day Parade at St Mary's Church in the town. Our local council will be there in strength; our local MP will be there. All paying their respects to those brave local citizens who gave their lives all those years ago so that we should live in peace.

Over 300 citizens of the town lost their lives during that terrible war and that represented something like 2.5 % of the then population. Today that sort of percentage would mean more than 3000 dead.

Through your web site I would like to ask those local dignitaries at St Mary's to have a good look at the memorial and tell us through your pages what they think about its condition.

A panel on the memorial's south side

Do they think that it represents today a fitting tribute to those brave souls?

Regular readers of this web site will know that I have for quite some time been concerned about the state of the memorial.

I visit St Marys regularly to inspect the memorial and each year its condition has continued to deteriorate.

Many of the panels need work done on them. Names have become illegible and need re-cutting.

The memorial was originally paid for by public subscription and at the time of its unveiling our then council gave the undertaking that for the future they would assume responsibility for the memorial's wellbeing.

Over the years the memorial has had very little money spent on its upkeep.

  • Do we value these heroes ?
  • Does our council care ?
  • Am I the only one in the town who thinks the state of the memorial is disrespectful to those brave men and women of Slough ?

If you want to see what a memorial should look like you only need to travel a few miles to Datchet. The village memorial on the green does those long departed villagers proud. The years have weathered it, but you can still read every name and obviously money has been spent to keep it that way.

If you are reading this note and care about such thing go along to St Mary's churchyard yourself and see if you agree with me that the memorial is a disgrace. If you do, let your local councillor know.

It will be interesting to see if any of our local bigwigs comment through your web site. I have my doubts.

It would be particularly interesting to hear from our new MP. He is new to the town and presumably this will be his first Remembrance Parade in the town.

Please I ask you all inspect the memorial.

Malcolm Hellings

St Mary's Church, Church Street, Slough SL1 1JP.

The church is between Herschel Street and Albert Street. Map

The town's war memorial is on the west side of the church. There are two pedestrian entrances in Church Street, a vehicular entrance in Albert Street for the disabled and a footpath in Windsor Road, opposite the police station.

For the full version of the poem, by Robert Laurence Binyon, which includes:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

See the Great War web site.