Webpage created: March 29, 2020
Webpage updated: March 29, 2020
REMEMBRANCE DAY, 1919
It was at the suggestion of Doctor William Henry Waterfield that a day of remembrance should be held in Plymouth in 1919 and that the relatives of Plymouth's dead heroes should be allowed to place flowers around some public monument in memory of the fallen. He proposed that the Saint Andrew's Cross be the location but the Council felt that the National Armada Memorial on Plymouth Hoe would be a more fitting place.
From a postcard.
The appointed day was Sunday May 25th 1919. Although the event had no official backing, being entirely a private proposal, it appealed so strongly to the public sentiment that during the course of the day some 2,000 tributes were laid at the base of the Monument. They ranged from elaborate and expensive wreaths and crosses of lilies and other flowers to little bunches of buttercups and daisies brought by the small children with the card "In loving memory of darling Daddy".
The first tribute had already been placed there when Doctor Waterfield visited the Monument at 5am that morning. By ten o'clock there were over 100 and between 2 and 4pm the Doctor, with the assistance of Mr W Law and Police Constable Fishleigh, handled some 750 wreaths and crosses. There were 1,527 tributes by 5pm and during the evening the number swelled to over 2,000.
With a bunch of violets was the message: 'There is but one task for us all; One life for each to give. Who stands if Freedom falls? Who dies if England lives?'
Another was in memory of those who perished from thirst on a raft at sea during the Battle of Jutland: 'Left to die by Hun kultur, SS Stormcock'.
In front of the display was a notice that read: 'These floral tributes are sacred to the memory of those who laid down their lives to save the Empire. They will remain until faded. Please respect this spot.'
Another service of remembrance was held at Millbay Park in memory of those in the 5th (Prince of Wales) Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment.