A Privilege to Pay our Respects

On a beautiful autumnal day last week, we stood at the grave of Ernest Lambourne. Quietly in the peaceful stillness of Lijssenthoek cemetery and feeling the warmth of the afternoon sun on our backs, Nancy laid a small wooden cross in the earth. We all took it in turns to read aloud a bit about this young man. Ernest served with the Machine Gun Corps and died like millions of young men on the Western Front during the First World War.

Along with 389 others, Ernest is commemorated as one of the Isleworth 390. During our stay in Belgium we visited the graves of six of the Isleworth 390, four of whom are commemorated on the Roll of Honour in St. John’s. Another soldier, William Albert Algar who can also be found on the Roll of Honour, has his name engraved on one of the vast panels at Tyne Cot. Tyne Cot is the largest Commonwealth War Graves cemetery. The many thousands of names inscribed on the panels encircling the cemetery bring home the brutality and futility of this war. Thomas Byford’s body was never recovered and his name joins the many thousands on the Menin Gate. One evening we attended the daily 8pm Last Post ceremony here, returning the next day to lay a poppy for Thomas.

Richard and I have wanted to bring our family here for some years, having both been fortunate enough to have led school trips to both the Somme and Flanders in the past. The personal link of the Isleworth 390 made the trip very poignant. All 3 girls have taken part in the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Isleworth memorial where they have worn a sash to remember one of the Isleworth 390. We were privileged to be able to pay our respects and see the final resting places of these young men.

Mariella Ardron

We will be marking Remembrance Day at St Mary’s this Sunday at 9am and then at St John’s at 9.30am on the 10th November, before our service at the memorial at 10.45am. A book about the Isleworth 390 will be available to buy and is being launched on the 11th November at the Blue School. For more information please visit Isleworthww1.co.uk