Service of Re-dedication – Christ Church Memorial to the Fallen

On Sunday 11thNovember 2018, staff and children from St George’s School (formerly known as Christ Church), took part in a re-dedication service at the memorial to local men who died during the First World War.  The memorial is situated in the grounds outside of Christ Church Chapel in South Road, Forest Hill. The memorial has the names of over 60 local men who died during the conflict, including a number of sets of brothers. 

During the past few weeks at school, children have been learning about the centenary of the end of the First World War and have also been learning about a Christ Church School ex-pupil, John Lynn who is named on the memorial.

Here is the information that researched by Janet Killeen, a local resident author who organised the re-dedication service:

‘John Lynn VC, DCM, Private, Service no. 1272, 2ndBattaliion. The Lancashire Fusiliers.

DCM Citation: ‘For gallant conduct. Took charge of an isolated machine gun when his seargeant was killed, took it out of action when jammed and brought it back to the firing line when repaired 17.12.1914.

VC Citation: On 2ndMay 1915 near Ypres Belgium when the Germans were advancing behind their wave of asphyxiating gas Private Lynn although almost overcome by the deadly fumes handled his machine-gun with great effect against the enemy and when he could not see them he moved his gun higher up the parapet so that he could fire more effectively.  This eventually checked any further advance and the outstanding courage displayed by this soldier had a great effect upon his comrades in the very trying circumstances.  Private Lynn died later from the effects of gas poisoning in the Vlamertinghe Field Hospital.’

He died of gas poisoning aged 28 years on 2/5/2015.  John Lynn was the foster son of Mrs E Harrison of 20 Hindsley Place, Forest Hill. He spent some time as a child in Lewisham Workhouse, which indicates great hardship in his circumstances.  He was a pupil at Christ Church School (now known as St Georges).  His resting place is at the Vlamertinghe Churchyard (grave lost) and there is a Memorial Headstone in Grootebeek British Cemetery Reninghelst.  He is also commemorated in St Mary’s Church, Bury, Lancashire, where his fiancée lived.’ <

The Service was a very moving one and was attended by representatives from the local community including, St George’s church congregation, school, local MP Ellie Reeves, Bishop Karowei Dorgu,the Bishop of Woolwich, local police, representatives of the armed forces, including the London Irish regiment, as well as local councillor John Paschoud and the Lewisham Mayor, Damien Egan.