“These Colours speak to us of a mighty struggle which involves sacrifice even unto death”

Windsor said a formal goodbye to the Canadians who had been stationed nearby as they headed to Kent, and then to the front.

Church and Empire

Wednesday, August 16th, was a red-letter day in the history of our Parish Church. A request had come from the Colonel of the 99th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, recruited in Windsor, Ontario, that their Colours might be deposited in our church for safe keeping during the war. It is needless to say that the request was most willingly and gladly granted, and August 16th was arranged as the day on which the ceremony should take place. Forthwith the citizens and church people of the Mother city prepared to welcome their brothers from the Overseas Daughter.

Our leading citizen [the mayor], ever ready to uphold the honour of the Royal Borough, at once declared his wish to extend his hospitality and official welcome to our guests. It was decided that as a parish we should entertain them at tea, and our churchwardens met with a ready answer to their appeal for funds and lady helpers. Permission was asked and gladly granted for them to see St George’s and the Albert Memorial Chapels, the Castle, Terraces and the Royal Stables.

The party, which included Lt Col Welch, commanding the 99th Battalion, Col Reid, Agent General for Canada, Lt-Col Casgrain, commanding the King’s Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Bushey Park, Mr W Blaynay, representing the Canadian Press, several officers of the Battalion, the Colour Guard, and the Band, arrived at the SWR station at 11.30, and were met by the vicar, who had come up from his holiday for the occasion, and several representatives of the church. From the station they marched, the band playing, and the Colours unfurled, to the Guildhall, which by kind permission of the Mayor was used as “Headquarters” for the day. Sightseeing followed till 1 o’clock, when the Mayor formally received his guests and entertained them in sumptuous fashion at lunch.

For an account of the speeches we must refer our readers to the Windsor and Eton Express of August 18th, in which will be found a very full and interesting report of the whole day’s proceedings.

Next came the event of the day, the ceremony of depositing the Colours in the Parish Church.

It is not likely that any one of the very large congregation which filled the church will ever forget what must have been one of the most interesting and impressive services ever held in the church.
It is probably true to say that most of us realised in a new way the meaning of our Empire, and the part the Church plays and has played in the building and cementing of that Empire’s fabric; and to that new realisation we were helped both by the ceremony itself and the most eloquent and inspiring words spoken from the pulpit by the vicar.

The form of service used was adapted for our use from the form used on similar occasions at Canterbury Cathedral. The choir was formed of men and boys from the Parish Church and All Saints’ choirs, with Mr Webster, the organist at All Saints, at the organ, in the absence of Mr Mellor, the Parish Church organist.

A Guard of Honour from the Eton Company of the Bucks Volunteer Defence Corps was draw up outside the church to salute the Colours on their arrival.

The service over, there was more sightseeing, and then tea in the Albert Institute, at which many ladies of the congregation waited on our guests.

The rest of the day was spent in walks to Eton and the Park, and the party finally marched to the station, with the band playing mid cheers and waving of flags, etc, en route for Shorncliffe Camp.
We have good reason to believe that our guests enjoyed their day to the full, and as a parish we are proud to have had the privilege of sharing in the events of a most memorable day. The presence of the Colours in our church will, we are quite sure, prove an additional incentive to support those to whom they belong with our earnest prayers for their safety, and for the victory of the Cause they are upholding; and we shall look forward to that joyful day (God grant its early fulfilment) when our gallant brothers from that Windsor Overseas will come to claim their own.

Balance Sheet of Tea given by the Parish
Layton’s, for Tea 6 0 0
Albert Institute, hire of hall 0 10 6
Cigarettes 0 6 6
Balance paid to the Mayor for Prisoners of War Fund 0 8 0

Amount of Subscriptions £7 5 0

The following is an extract from the vicar’s sermon. He said:

“The real significance of this occasion lies in the fact that these Colours will find their temporary resting place not in a secular building, but in a Christian Church… Our British power of expansion is a gift from God… These Colours speak to us of a mighty struggle which involves sacrifice even unto death, and which therefore carries with it the facts of loss and pain and sorrow. It is fitting, them that they should be brought to a place consecrated to Christian worship wherein the Gospel of Christ is preached and read, for that Gospel is one that tells of life and comfort and hope. Lives have been freely laid down…

New Windsor St John the Baptist parish magazine, September 1916 (D/P149/28A/21/6)

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