Victoria Cross Commemorative Event for Private Harry Christian VC October 18th 2015
Professional planning and financial assistance from both Cumbria County Council (CCC) and South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) enabled the people of Pennington Parish to host this commemorative event. However on the day of the event it was the true community spirit which really shone through allowing the whole community to pay tribute to this local man. Without the help and assistance of local people whose volunteered their time the event would not have been possible. Their roles included hostesses, stewards, first aiders, safety adviser and photographer. Our PCSO and her colleague provided support with traffic management , the deputy mayor acted as master of ceremonies and our local and county councillors provided event management on the day. The CCC Area Engagement Officer, and SLDC Arts and Events officer co-ordinated the event.
The ceremony began at 12.30 pm, the deputy mayor introduced the Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria who spoke about the life of Harry Christian and his connection to the area. The citation was read by an officer from The Duke of Lancaster’s regiment. This was followed by a speech from Harry Christian’s great nephew. The Lord Lieutenant and officer of the Duke of Lancaster’s regiment unveiled the commemorative stone, this was followed by two minutes silence. The last post was played by a cornet player. Representatives of local Royal British Legions (RBL) dipped their standards these were then raised as the national anthem was sung. Further wreaths were laid at the cenotaph by the family, RBL and Ulverston Town Council, these complimented flowers and arrangements from local residents.
The party which included family (contacted through newspaper articles), local residents and invited guests proceeded to Pennington Memorial Hall where refreshments had been provided. An exhibition relating to the life and military career of Harry Christian was on show this had been prepared by Cumbria Archive Service and an archivist was available to discuss this. A film showing Harry Christian receiving his VC from George V was on display by permission of The Imperial War Museum.
Central to this whole event was that the local community were paying tribute to Private Harry Christian VC whose selfless act saved the lives of three men, in France, in 1915. The commemorative paving stone was a central government initiative in recognition of all men who were awarded the VC during the first World War. There are only 2 paving stones being laid in South Lakes the next one is in Coniston in two years time.
VC Commemoration Event Pennington
VC Stone Core Party
- Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria, Mrs Claire Hensman.
- Angela Scrogham, Deputy Chairman Pennington Parish Council
- Cllr Geoff Cook, Chairman Cumbria County Council
- Cllr Sylvia Emmott, Chairman South Lakeland District Council
- Glenn Jackson, Great Nephew of Private Christian
- Officer from The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment
- Cllr Mark Wilson, Deputy Mayor of Ulverston.
The ceremony to mark the unveiling of the VC stone starts at 12.30 pm.
Cllr Mark Wilson will act as MC for the ceremony and prior to the start will say a few words as an introduction to the proceedings.
12.30 The Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria Mrs Claire Hensman – speech (about the life of Harry Christian and his connection to the area.)
12.35 The citation read by an officer of The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment / Major Sean Laidler
12.38 Speech by Glenn Jackson – personal recollections of his Great Uncle.
12.43 MC says : The Lord Lieutenant and the Officer of the Duke of Lancaster’s regiment will now unveil the commemorative stone following which there will be a two minute silence
12.45 Lord Lieutenant and officer The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment unveil stone.
12.46 The Last Post (Standards Dipped)
12.48 Two minutes silence
12.50 Trumpet Reveille (“The Rouse”)
12.51 The National Anthem
12.52 Ceremony finishes
12.52 Lord Lieutenant departs with Angela Scrogham for Pennington Parish Hall followed by the VC Stone Core Party, followed by invited guests and finally the public.