Eastern Daily Press 15th July 1933


(The actual photo that appeared in this press article is missing. The first photo shown raised questions in the Great Yarmouth Mercury, of Friday November 5th 1993. It had been discovered in the back of a wedding photo frame, in the possession of Charles Gymer of Helen Avenue, Martham. The photo was of his parents' wedding in 1938, both photos being taken by a local professional Mr. A. A. Francis. Mr. Gymer believed that he was the boy in the white shirt to the left of the Bass Drummer [Lloyd Spanton]. The mystery was solved shortly afterwards, as it was Stalham Band leading the parade as this article confirms)

Rev. A. V. Barber on duty and Service
The Dedication Service on The Green

Banners and bands gave a touch of colour to the usual placid Sunday afternoon at Martham last week-end when the new banner of the Martham branch of the British Legion was dedicated at a service on the village green.

This was conducted by the Vicar of Martham Rev. J. H. Griffiths who was assisted by the Rev. A. V. Barber, the Baptisi Minister who gave the address, and the Rev. A. Hill the minister of the Martham Methodist Circuit. The parade assembled on the west green, contingents from Fleggburgh, Ormesby, Acle, Stalham and Catfield marching with the Martham Legionaires whe were headed by Lieut-Col. I.B.H. Benn the branch president, Major Buxton of Horsey Hall, Mr. G.A. Bailey the chairman, and Mr. F.S. Taylor the hon. secretary who acted as marshall of ceremonies. The Stalham brass band under bandmaster W. Williams headed the procession which marched to the east green where the dedication was held.
The Legionaires formed up in a square around the platform each with its banner and the new Martham Banner was taken by Mr. Youngs to the platform, where the Vicar dedicated it as a sign of the members' duty to their God, King and Country, and a symbol of the service the Legion was called upon to render. The band lead the singing of "O God Our Help", "Fight The Good Fight" and "Now Thank We All Our God" and prayers were offered by the Vicar and the Rev. A. Hill.

In his address after the Vicar had unfurled the new banner the Rev. A.V. Barber said unless the banner represented the symbol of the branch's duty and service, that afternoon's service was empty and meaningless, and they were simply wasting their time. In the olden days the standard was the rallying point aroun which the fiercest fighting took place, and he wanted the Legion standard to be a real rallying point to remind the members they had a duty to their country, but that duty had always to be rendered in the sight of God. Patriotism was a glorious thing and had inspired men and women to great and noble deeds. During the war it was the burning flame in many hearts and today there was just as much need for it. Patriotism was not a thing that flickered up at moments of peril but was an abiding passion of the human heart. The standard was essentially the sign of good citizenship. In the days of the war there was brought into play a great many of the qualities that were still fostered by the British Legion, the spirit of good comradeship, the willingness to help one another and a unity of effort in a common cause. These qualities were still needful and it was still their duty as good citizens to defend their country from its enemies. Whilst during the was they were defending the country from outside enemies they now had to defend it from inside enemies. There were a great many things in our social life which we would like to see removed, things that were bad for us but which would be worse for our children. If they were going to dedicate themselves to true patriotism they had not to sit idly by and wait for better times but to be actively engaged in the removal of the things that made bad times and in hastening the things that brought better times. Their duty towards their country called for all the energy and sacrifice needful when they were in the Army. They were still called upon to be soldiers and to fight the foes that still beset the country upon every hand. They must not rest until they had done their utmost towards setting the country free from everything that marred its peace, robbed it of happiness or despoiled their children of their rightful heritage. Service was even greater than duty. They were not called to do merely their duty and it was a matter of pride and rejoicing that to a large extent the British Legion had taken up the great service towards its fellow men that Christ was doing and through its benevolent funds and committees was doing a great work in riding destitution and in helping the needy.
At the conclusion of the service the Legionaires marched to the war memorial in the churchyard where the Last Post was sounded. The procession then returned to the green where it was dismissed.


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