On 3rd of August 1914, Sir Edward Grey made his famous quote: “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime”. Looking out from his window, across St. James’ Park, it was dusk and the first of the gas lights along the Mall were being lit. The next day Grey would have to face the Cabinet and to persuade them that the time had now come to declare war on Germany. The terrible year 1914-15 brought grief and devastation to countless English homes. Within a few weeks of the commencement of the war a young soldier from Petton, 2nd Lieut. Ellis Robert Cunliffe Stone, a Royal Welsh Fusilier, was killed near Armentieres. His grief stricken family had a magnificent memorial window installed in the south wall of Petton Church. It shows the Christian soldier “clad in the whole armour of God” (Eph.6.10-18). The central figure (the face a likeness of the dead soldier) stands on a rampart with his back to Calais. At the foot of the window is the following verse that well reflects the mood of the time.
“Tears for the dead, who shall not come again
Homeward to any shore on any tide!
Tears for the dead! But through that bitter rain,
Shines like an April sun the smile of pride.”
Feature Image: Petton Church.