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Wreath layers involved in DIT’s 2017 Rededication and Remembrance Day Service held on Thursday 9 November 2017 in Business Lounge, 3 Whitehall Place, London, England

Department for International Trade (DIT) staff joined together on the morning of Thursday 9 November  2017 in the 3 Whitehall Place Business Lounge to attend a short commemorative rededication and unveiling service of the Board of Trade’s World War One war memorial.  The service was also held in conjunction with the department’s official marking of Remembrance Day, with wreaths laid by Tom Pursglove MP and Permanent Secretaries, Antonia Romeo and Crawford Falconer amongst others.

The entire service was particularly poignant since, despite being only just over a year old as a civil service department, the move of the memorial also connects DIT to its predecessor departments and is in some ways a home coming as the Board of Trade was at some point located at 55 Whitehall around the time of World War One. 

This war memorial is actually a beautiful replica of the original Roll of Honour board which was sadly lost at some stage during the Board’s history. The existing memorial was originally unveiled on 11 November 2002 by the then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Patricia Hewitt. Since then a Remembrance Day service has been held every year by the Department for Trade and Industry and subsequent departments up to the present day.  

This year’s short service was organised by the DIT War Memorial Research Group and led by John Hill, who is the department’s Senior Civil Service (SCS) Champion for the DIT Faith Group. The service was inclusive and truly representative of the diversity of the department with short readings and poems by Muslim Network Representative, Yawar Naeem, Chair of the Disability Network and Jewish Network, Jeanette Rosenberg OBE and by War Memorial Research Group member Sara Wheeler MBE. 

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Following the rededication, as per tradition a series of wreaths were laid and a two minute silence was observed at 11am. 

A full list of the wreath layers and the commemorative dedication is provided below. 

  • Remembered by the Ministers of the Department for International Trade – Tom Pursglove MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire, Parliamentary Private Secretary to Rt Hon Liam Fox MP
  • Remembered by the Staff of the Department for International Trade – Antonia Romeo, Permanent Secretary
  • Remembered by Relatives and Friends of the Fallen – Crawford Falconer, Second Permanent Secretary
  • Lest We Forget In Memory of Those who Have No Known Grave and Who Have Died in International Military Conflict – Captain Phil Milburn OBE RN, DSO and MoD
  • Remembering Their Sacrifice In Memory of All Our Fallen Colleagues – Sarah Pratt, ECJU and FCO
  • Remembered by Retired Service Personnel of the Department for International Trade – Richard McDonald-Webb AE Voluntary Reserves, DSO
  • Remembering the Sacrifice Made by those of African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Asian Origin – Julian Lukwago, Chair of the DIT Ethnicity Network
  • Remembered by the War Memorial Research Group and in Memory of Jill Knight – Edwina Osborne, War Memorial research group

We were also extremely pleased that Steve Waterman, who was part of the Lambeth College team that carved this magnificent  replica memorial back in 2002, was also able to join us for the service.

Finally we would like to thank the department’s Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Liam Fox MP for his support of the work of the DIT War Memorial Research Group. It was at his instigation that the memorial has moved to its present location in 3 Whitehall Place and will continue to play a role in the future life of the department.

The DIT War Memorial Research Group hopes that all staff and visitors take the time to reflect on the sacrifice and give a silent prayer of thanks for those honoured on the memorial both throughout November and the coming year. The memorial also acts as a focal point to remember those who in the modern day armed forces, including current Civil Service Reservists and other military personnel who work in the extended DIT community such as in the DIT Defence and Security Organisation.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:  Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn;  At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,  We will remember them.” (‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon, published in The Times newspaper on 21 September 1914)

The group welcomes anyone interested in the memorial to get in touch via war.memorial@trade.gsi.gov.uk. 

Ed Osborne

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Wreath layers during 2017 DIT commemorative service in honour of Board of Trade employees who died during World War One


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As a new member of the Department for International Trade (DIT)’s War Memorial Research Group I have recently been trying to find the time to learn a bit more about each of the 305 men named on the Board of Trade World War One War Memorial.

To be honest, until joining the group I am ashamed to say that I was only vaguely a aware of the memorial, which used to hang on the foyer of 1 Victoria Street (now the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy or BEIS main building).

On the recommendation of our Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Liam Fox MP, the Memorial is now located in the Business Lounge of 3 Whitehall Place and is due to be unveiled and rededicated on the morning of Thursday 9 November. All staff are welcome to attend.

Lestweforget

The War Memorial Research Group has long maintained a website presence to raise the profile of the memorial and the history behind it. This is of interest not just to present and past colleagues and families but also to those with an interest in history across the Civil Service and also to local community and family historians.

The War Memorial as it looks today is actually a replacement for an earlier Memorial that was unfortunately lost some time in the 1980s or 1990s. This “new” Memorial was unveiled in 2002 and at same time a dedicated group of staff worked to research the names recorded.

Unfortunately as a result of a number of website changes and upgrades, the war memorial research was archived on the National Archives webpages. Whilst these pages are still accessible, they are quite buried unless you know where to find them.

The purpose of this blog is to bring to the fore previous research and also to uncover new information where there are gaps.

As part of revitalising the blog we have uploaded a new map which lists where the 305 men who died came from originally and where they are either buried or memorialised.

We have also uploaded a new calendar of dates which aims to record when each man listed died and also other key dates associated with World War One (still a work in progress).

In preparing this information, I have learnt many fascinating and sad things. For instance did you know that the youngest man listed on the Memorial was only 16 and the oldest was 53. The 305 men came not just from London but from across the UK including Scotland, Ireland and the Empire (as it was then) from South Africa. The men who died were killed in battles famous and not so famous in France and overseas (like Gallipoli). 11 of the men listed died on the first day of the Somme (1 July 2016). Two of the men commemorated were brothers (Frank Thomas Libby and Harry George Libby) . The men represent those of all the major faiths and also those with no religious beliefs.

In a nutshell, each of the 305 men remembered on the Board of Trade Memorial were flesh and blood people with a past and a future sadly cut short. It is an honour and pleasure to be part of the War Memorial Research Group and over the coming years I hope to highlight more of their individual stories. Hopefully next time you in the 3 Whitehall Place Business Lounge, however busy you are, you can take time to reflect on the individuals behind the names and put all the work that we do on international trade matters into perspective.

Please do get in touch with the War Memorial Research Group if you have any comments, suggestions, or feedback. You can contact the group at war.memorial@trade.gsi.gov.uk

Ed Osborne

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