Rededication of the Royal Naval Division Memorial
Thursday 13 November 2003
Charles and Issie Lutyens, Mervyn Miller, Christine Barnett, John Entwistle and Paul Waite arrived at the Horse Guards Parade at about ten o’clock, it was a cool autumn day and a weak sun was giving a little warmth. The re-positioned Royal Naval Division Memorial was neatly tucked into the corner of the Horse Guards Parade where the Old Admiralty Building meets the Admiralty Citadel. It looked as if it had always been there.
The Chaplain of the Fleet sat looking lonely with his back to the Memorial and with only a couple of empty chairs for company. Three sides of a large square were roped off in front of the Memorial. We took our seats and were soon joined by the VIP’s many of whom were retired senior Naval Officers.
At about eleven o’clock H.R.H. Prince Michael of Kent arrived in the Naval uniform of Honorary Commodore of the Royal Naval Reserve. The Chaplain then started the service of rededication with prayers and we sang ‘”O God our help in ages past…” Then there was a reading by the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Alan West, followed by the rededication of the memorial by the Chaplain of the Fleet.
Sir Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty had formed the Royal Naval Division. Mr. Winston Churchill, his grandson, read the address given by his grandfather at the original Dedication of the memorial on 25 April 1925. It was a most moving speech in 1925, and was again in 2003. The address started with the words, “Everyone I think must admire the grace and simplicity of this fountain which the genius of Lutyens has designed”.
Wreaths were then laid by Prince Michael and the First Sea Lord.
Some of us were lucky enough to be invited to the Mansion House for a lunchtime reception to follow the Rededication. At 12:45 Prince Michael arrived and General Robin Ross made a speech of welcome to the many guests in which I glowed when he said “It is good to see a member of the Lutyens family here”. Prince Michael then spoken about the Royal Naval Division and its achievements.