Last night on Armistice Sunday (11 November) at exactly 7pm two beacons erupted into controlled infernos to commemmorate the ‘Battle’s Over’ for the people of Marlborough and of Rockley.
Both beacons attracted large crowds. On the Common, adjacent to the Rugby pitches the town Mayor, Lisa Farrell and entire Town Council were present, along with Devizes MP Rt Hon Claire Perry and Wiltshire Counci’s Deputy Chairman Councillor James Sheppard.
At Rockley Ken and Jilly Carter’s beacon at Rockley drew a large crowd. High on the downs, families gathered to remember and to pay tribute to the fourteen men and one woman, from the villages of Rockley, Ogbourne Maizey and Ogbourne St Andrew who lost their lives in the Great War. At 6.55 pm Captain Rob Vincent read out the fifteen names of the fallen. It was poignant to hear that as well as two brothers from the same regiment, Worker Margret Caswell of Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps was among the casualties.
At the same time on The Common, bugler Anthony Palmer of Phoenix Brass sounded The Last Post and Town Crier Mike Tupman read The Cry for Peace. Mayor Lisa Farrell started reciting the names of those from Marlborough who fell in the Great War. The list was long and she was followed by former Mayors Mervyn Hall, Andy Ross, Marian Hannaford-Dobson (on behalf of the Royal British Legion) and Guy Loosmore, and by James Sheppard – Wiltshire Councillor for Aldbourne but also Vice Chair of the Council and finally by Stewart Dailly, President of Marlborough Rotary who jointly organised and ran the event with the Town Council and were raising money collecting for the Royal British Legion and the Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA).
Mayor Lisa Farrell then lit the beacon (with a bit of help from a long blowtorch) which erupted into flames that lit the whole area and could be seen for miles.
Simultaneously at 7pm Ken and Jilly Carter, together with Sid Vincent lit the Rockley beacon. It burned quickly and lit up the starlit sky. As the beacon was lit John Hetherington read the famous lines from Laurence Binyon’s poem ‘For the Fallen’. The ceremony ended with piper JohnHedger playing the traditional ‘Battle’s O’er’.
On The Common the ceremony concluded with a ‘Shout’ from Town Crier Mike Tupman.
The Town Council wanted to thank Marlborough Rotary for their great efforts in making the ‘Battle’s Over’ beacon ceremony such a successful event but also the Marlborough Rugby Club for the use of their facilities and also to Redrow Homes, developers of Marleberg Grange who sponsored the purchase of the beacon itself.