Shanklin’s Armistice Day Anniversary

By Chris Cornford Nov 8, 2020


Shanklin is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the unveiling of its war memorial, with a special film, narrated by the Island’s Lord-Lieutenant, Mrs Susie Sheldon. The film is dedicated to all service personnel, emergency services workers and local residents who died in both World Wars and other conflicts.

The memorial is made of Portland stone, and was unveiled at 11am on November 11, 1920 – the same material, time and date as the Cenotaph in London. It was unveiled by Mrs White Popham, whose descendant, Mrs Anne Springman MBE, is featured in the film.

Shanklin Town Mayor, Steve Knight, said: “The Town Council, with the help of Curator Terry Carpenter, have renovated the memorial, invested in commemorative benches and plan an information panel, linked to the film, because of the importance of the memorial.”

The film, available on you tube from 11am on Wednesday, November 11, includes the background to the gates, plaques from sites in Shanklin, and contributions from local churches, many of which were damaged during the 1939-45 conflict.

Mrs Sheldon concluded: “It is important, in these most difficult of times, to reflect on moments like this centenary, and I know that the researchers have tried to ensure the film is a tribute to the memories honoured at locations across the town and at the old village memorial. I hope the film honours those that made the ultimate sacrifice, and will be accessed for years to come, as we will continue to remember those to whom this film is dedicated.”

Memorial to much-loved horse

Howard Avenel St George was born on December 12, 1894 and was killed at the age of 19 on November 15, 1914 whilst serving in the Household Cavalry. He was the second son of Howard Bligh St. George and Florence Evelyn Baker, a wealthy American heiress. Mrs St. George moved to the Island in 1924, firstly buying Foreland House in Bembridge and subsequently The Priory in St. Helens.

Following Avenel’s death, at Zillebeke on the Western Front in Belgium, Mrs St. George managed to repatriate Red Wings, his much-loved charger. Red Wings died at the age of 32 in 1936 and is buried in the grounds of the Priory, where a memorial is dedicated to his memory.

Avenel is buried at Zillebeke and Mrs St. George commissioned a window in the church there by her long-term lover, and renowned First World War artist, Sir William Orpen.

Parish pays touching tributes

Isle of Wight High Sheriff, Mrs Caroline Peel, Havenstreet & Ashey Parish Council Chairman, Mrs Veronica Hattersley, and County Councillor, Mrs Vanessa Churchman, paid tribute to the service personnel honoured on Havenstreet and Ashey War Memorials ahead of the national Covid-19 lockdown.

Mrs Peel said: “We wanted to ensure the memories of those honoured on the memorials were respected, and arranged wreath laying events, in the Parish, in keeping with the national guidance.”

Cllr Hattersley added: “The Shrine at Havenstreet overlooks the village and we brought forward the service to ensure we safely paid tribute to the sacrifices made by service personnel in both first and second world wars, as well as all conflicts.”

Cllr Churchman concluded: “It has been a very difficult year for local residents, and we wanted to pay our respects to those that made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Havenstreet & Ashey Parish Council, like other town and parish councils on the Island, are working to support their local community, vulnerable residents and maintaining much needed services within the guidance.