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Group steps in to help with WWI cross

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By Christie Breen
Group steps in to help with WWI cross

A COMMERATIVE cross for a First World War soldier in All Saints Challoch churchyard has been remade with the help of a Wigtownshire group.

Francis W. Armitage, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Hampshire Regiment, was killed in action in France on April 22 1918, aged 34 years old. He died at Pacaut Wood in the German offences on the Lys.

At the time of his death, his family had a memorial cross placed at All Saints, Challoch, near to where Colonel Armitage had lived. There is also a commemorative plaque to his memory in All Saints Church. However in recent years the original wooden cross had become rotten, and the Vestry were keen to replace it, with the support of Colonel Armitage’s grandchildren and his descendants.

Reverend Dawn Matthew, priest in charge at All Saints, said: “Clearly Colonel Armitage was a very brave man and his family are understandably proud and want his memory preserved. We know that the Whithorn ReBuild team are using all sorts of skills in their project work, so we thought it would be a good idea to approach them with this task.”

Whithorn ReBuild were commissioned to make a new oak cross replica and Glen Marsh was put in charge due to his artistic and practical skills.

Reverend Dawn continued: “We are extremely impressed with the work that Glen has carried out and we know that the family are really delighted to have the cross as a tribute to an important member of their family.”

Team leader for Whithorn ReBuild, Shaun Thomson added: “It was a great honour for us to be asked to carry out this important carving. Glen, one of our young team, used his artistic eye to lay out the lettering by hand as it was originally, and fit it to the spaces on the arms of the cross; he then carved the intricate badge for the Hampshires in minute detail. We are delighted to have been able to help the family and All Saints Church replace the old cross as closely as possible to the original and to mark the important occasion of its rededication.”

The cross will be re-dedicated at a special family service at All Saints Challoch on Saturday November 11.