Plaque unveiled at event in Thankful Village

Parishioners and guests were invited to attend a special Meldon Parish Council event on the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Versailles Treaty.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 16th July 2019, 7:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th July 2019, 6:06 pm
The blessing of the plaque during the ceremony in Meldon.
The blessing of the plaque during the ceremony in Meldon.

It included the unveiling of a plaque, based on the wording of an original monument, on the churchyard wall so it is visible from the highway.

Following a welcome by council chairman George Sanger, Colonel John Anderson, Deputy Lord-Lieutenant, unveiled the plaque.

It was then blessed by Rev Fiona Sample and Rev Pam Walker.

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After the First World War, the community of Meldon erected a monument in the grounds of the then school to mark the safe return of all those men who had left the parish to serve in the Great War.

The school is now a private home and the original monument is not visible from the road.

Although no-one died on active service, some of those who returned to the village had been wounded in action and the effects remained with them and their families for the rest of their lives.

The Treaty of Versailles was the most important of the peace treaties that officially brought the First World War to an end.

Most communities erected war memorials to record the names of those who fell in the service of their country.

In Meldon, a ceremony was held to dedicate the monument, but as far as is known this was just for parishioners and received little publicity.

The parish council decided that the 2019 ceremony should be kept low-key in the same spirit as before.

The Royal British Legion attended with the County Standard, which was lowered in salute for those who served.

As the Standard Bearer was just 18, it was a salutary lesson to those present to realise that he was older than many who fought and died in the Great War.

The term Thankful Village became used some time later and refers to those communities where no-one died on active service during the First World War.

As far as is known, Meldon is the only such village in Northumberland and is the most northerly one in the United Kingdom.