Post Office memorial

Courtesy of Manx National Heritage via the link at imuseum.im.

The Post Office War Memorial War Memorial (that used to be in Regent Street Douglas but is now in the Post Office Headquarters in Braddan) commemorating the death of 6 men of the the Isle of Man Post Office who gave their lives, and a testimony to hundreds of others who fought in the Great War 1914 – 1918.

The photograph and description courtesy of Manx National Heritage via their link at imuseum.im.

Please click on the section at the bottom of this post for the image and description.

Below is the an article from the Manx Quarterly regarding the unveiling of the memorial

From Manx Quarterly, #28 1922

DOUGLAS POST OFFICE MEMORIAL

A very different atmosphere from that which usually prevails was most discernible at the Post Office on Sunday, Dec. 18th. As in the busiest days of summer the room was packed to its utmost, but instead of seeing people jostling against one another in an unruly scramble to purchase a stamp, one saw a concourse of bareheaded people standing in reverential silence and gazing at a bronze tablet on the eastern wall, a tablet which had been erected by the members of all branches of the Post Office Service in the Isle of Man as a testimony to the sacrifice and service of their colleagues in the Great War. Members of the Service were present almost to a man, and conspicuous among those of the outside public was the Mayor of Douglas (Councillor T. G. Kelly) and Scout Master T. Fisher.

The task of unveiling the memorial tablet was most impressively carried out by the Postmaster (Mr R. H. Nicholls), who preceded this function by an address, the text of which is as follows:-

We are all aware of the object for which we have been invited to assemble here to-day, and the large gathering testifies to the great sympathy extended to the relatives of our late colleagues who made the supreme sacrifice during the Great War, and it may be of interest. to mention that out of a total staff of 130 eligible men 100 joined up and went to the Front. Unfortunately six of the total from the Island lost their lives. These were attached to the Post Office and Engineering Departments. Those engaged in the Post Office did not always escape criticism, but there was one part of the activities of that great department of the State which was a pride to us all. It was the part the men played during the War, and it is very doubtful if the public fully realize what the Post Office did to help to win the War. When it is remembered that the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo commanded only 30,000 troops, yet the British Post Office supplied three times that number, and out of the 90,000 postal men of all ranks who sprang to the Colours, 9,000 had given their lives to France and other parts of the War area, and this is a record unequalled by any other organization. The various officials throughout the Island decided to mark in some permanent manner their deep appreciation and regard for those who sacrificed so much for us, and the handsome Memorial on which the names of those who were killed have been inscribed, and also particulars of those who joined the Colours, has been erected. I think you will agree the Committee have been fortunate in their choice of the form of the Memorial, and on behalf of the subscribers I now unveil it, and trust it will always remind us of those who laid down their lives that we might live in peace, prosperity and security, and whose memory it will permanently record.

The inscription on the tablet, which is the work of Mr A. Knox, is as follows:-

In grateful memory of W. N. Hughes, P. H. Hunter, G. E. Kelly, W. S. Kennaugh, J. Kennedy, J. J. Shimmin. Members of the Staff of the I O.M. Post Office, who gave their lives, and a Testimony to others who fought in the Great War, 1914-1919.”

Unselfish. Unafraid.

Then followed the dedication which was conducted by the Rev H. S. Taggart, who afterwards gave a short address. Of all the branches of the Civil Service there was not one branch, he said, or department which was of greater utility to the people or one that conspired in a greater degree to the well-being and stability of the State than the Post Office Service. He did not believe, and he said these words with deep conviction and great deliberation, that there was any country in the world where that service had been run with greater faithfulness and integrity on the part of its workers, and with greater satisfaction from the view of the public than in our own country. So much then in a few words, to the Post-Office services during the time of peace. But as they had been reminded by the Postmaster Nicholls, when the days of peace gave place to war the Post Office servants proved their eagerness, their readiness and willingness to manifest that same devotion in time of warfare. They had met there that day to commemorate and honour those men who, in their devotion, had laid down their lives. In those terrible days, which now happily were past, they all desired and they all tried in their several places and in their several stations to do their part in carrying out that task to which their country had set itself. They all had had one common task, one common aim; but with the carrying out of that common task vast numbers of their brethren were called upon to give that which they and all men valued most highly, their life. “It was as dear to them as life is dear to us; they sacrificed it and we, brethren, have it still. So when we see this memorial to-day and in the coming days, it seems to me that it should always spur us to make the best and fullest use of that life spared to us so that we, by every means in our power, by service and sacrifice, may advance the cause of our country and the human family, in the interests of which they died. I think I may also add these words in closing. We are not likely to do this unless we severally obey the voice of He who came among men about this time, and who still says to men ‘Follow Me.’ Washed in His blood, encouraged by His example, and strengthened by His presence, we shall live, we shall not work in vain.”

The hymn, “Peace, perfect peace” and prayers followed. After the singing of the hymn, ” O God our Help in ages past,” a laurel wreath was placed beneath the tablet by Mr R. Hunter, assisted by Sapper W. Moore. Mr Hunter was chosen for this office because his son, Robert Henry, was the first of the six men to fall on the field of battle. The National Anthem was then sung.

Two Boy Scout buglers impressively sounded the ” Last Post,” and when the final note had died away the congregation bowed their heads for a minute in silence. The triumphant “Reveille” was then sounded.

The plaque is now situated at the Headquarters Post Office in Braddan and is in the entrance hall so that the public can see it, and the WWII memorial without having to enter the main offices.
It is wonderful to know that the present Post Office staff take great pride in both memorials and a moving remembrance service is held in front of them each year.