1916: St Stephen’s Anglican Church, Belmont, Victoria

Artist/Studio: William Montgomery. c.1917 (signed at base of centre light).
Location: Belmont, Victoria.
Building: St Stephen’s Anglican Church.
Memorials to WW1 soldiers:
♦ Brothers Pte H. M. Lennox and Cpl R. T. Lennox (left light).
♦ Sgt Clifton Riversdale Grenfell (centre light).
♦ Pte E. W. Davis and Sgt C. F. Arnold (right light).
Donors: Parishioners & Friends.
Photos dated: 23rd January 2014.

The triple light window at St Stephen’s Anglican Church is a memorial to five of the soldiers of the parish who paid the supreme sacrifice during World War One. Each of the three panels were created by stained glass artist William Montgomery (1850-1927).

The original wooden church that hosted the windows was opened on the 1st November 1906. The foundation stone of the current building was laid on the 25th October  1958, on the corner of Regent and Thomson Streets at Belmont, was dedicated 24th May 1959. After a considerable time in storage, the historic stained glass windows by Montgomery were re-erected in the current building at the liturgical west end.

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The soldiers remembered in the windows:

Pte. Harold Marshall Lennox who was killed in France, November 1916 (service No: 2684. Joined 18/01/1916). His mother Mary Louise signed the consent form for his enlistment on 05/01/1916. His brother, Cpl Robert Thomas Lennox also enlisted and was  killed in France August 1916 (service No: 997, enlisted 08/09/1914). Their mother brought them up alone, their father having left them when they were young boys.

Sgt Clifton Riversdale Grenfell was killed at Gallipoli, August 1915 (service No: 381). Born in South Australia and joined 15th Sept 1914.

Pte Ewart William Davis was killed at Gallipoli October 1915. (Service No: 500). He was born in London, Joined 06/03/1915 and killed at Gallipoli 17/10/1915.

Sgt Charles Francis Arnold M.M. was killed in France October 1917. (Service No: 2846). Joined 08/08/1915. Awarded the Military Medal for his actions on the 24th July 1917.

“…No.2846 Sgt C. F. Arnold immediately dismounted the gun and mounted it in an auxiliary pit maintaining it in action. This N.C.O. by his splendid example, initiative and coolness inspired his detachment to maintain an effective fire…”
Tabloid transcriptions:

Geelong Advertiser, Vic, Monday 26th June 1916, page 3.

“A SOLDIERS MEMORIAL WINDOW

The beautiful colored memorial window placed in the chancel of St. Stephen’s Church of England, Belmont, by the parishioners and friends of the late Sergt. Cliff. R. Grenfell, 8th Light Horse, A.I.F., was unveiled on Sunday afternoon. The Rev. R. H. B. Williams, who, by request, officiated, took his text from Joshua, 4th chapter, 6-7 verses. He said they were met to do honor to one who, on his last Sunday, took part in the service of his church, also that future generations may have a fitting memorial of one who gave his life as a sacrifice. It would be a reminder to others that sacrifices had to be made, even as Christ sacrificed Himself for us, and it was fitting that the first memorial window to a fallen soldier should be a picture of the Saviour. The inscription on the scroll in the window reads; “In memory of Sergt. C. R. Grenfell, killed in action, Gallipoli, August, 1915.” Suitable hymns were sung during the service, and the National Anthem at the close. The committee elected to arrange for the arranging of the window were Misses. Adams, Edney and Mrs. Johnstone and Messrs. E. Phillips, H. R. Taylor, with Rev. H. Williams and Mr. R. Phillips ex officio.”

Talbot Leader, Vic, Saturday 8th July 1916, page 2.

“Mr and Mrs R. H. Grenfell, of Belmont, have received a valued recognition of the fine work done at Gallipoli by their son, the late Sergeant Cliff Grenfell. The letter reads as follows:- “War Office, Whitehall, S. W., 10th April, 1916. Sir, – I have it in command from His Majesty the King to inform you, as next of kin of the late Sergeant Clifton Grenfell… that this non-commissioned officer was mentioned in a despatch from General Sir Ian Hamilton, dated 22nd September 1915…for gallent [sic] and distinguished service in the field. I am to express to you the King’s high appreciation of these services and to add that His Majesty trusts that their public acknowledgement may be of some consolation in your bereavement. I have the honor to be, your obedient servant, M. D. Graham, Lieut.-Col., Assistant Military Secretary.” On Sunday afternoon, 25th ult., a beautiful stained glass memorial window, placed in the chancel of St. Stephen’s Church, Belmont, by the parishioner and friends of the late Sergeant Cliff. Grenfell, 8th Light Horse A.I.F., who was killed in the famous charge at Lone Pine, was unveiled, the church being crowded. The inscription on the scroll in the window reads:- “In memory of Sergt. C. R. Grenfell, killed in action Gallipoli, August, 1915.” Mr R. H. Grenfell was a former head teacher of the Dunach State school.”

Tabloid transcriptions:

Geelong Advertiser, Vic, Wednesday 9th August 1916, page 5.

“COUNTRY NEWS,

BELMONT.

“At St. Stephen’s Church on Sunday morning a large number assembled to witness te unveiling of an enlarged photo of the late Pte. Ewart W. Davis. The inscription was: “Pte. Ewart W. Davis, 22nd Battalion Infantry, A.I.F., killed in action, Gallipoli, October 17th, 1915. For King and Country. Also served 18 months at Boer War. Presented to St. Stephen’s by parishioners and friends, 1916.” The Rev. G. W. Ratten conducted the service, which was most impressive. There were special prayers on the occasion of the second anniversary of the war. He took his text from “Greater love hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” After speaking of the message of the Church at this time – thankfulness, penitence, courage, fortitude and prayer – he shewed the difference between a strong and a weak religion in the hour of trial. Belgium in her poverty to-day was far greater than Belgium rich with the rubber trade from Congo, for she stood pure in soul, untarnished in fame. She had lost her wealth, but had found her soul. There was a new France in the world to-day. In Russia, at the touch of the purging fire a great soul breathed. In a week vodka was flung aside. In comforting those who mourned the loss of their sons and brothers at the Front. He told them to hold on with both hands to this thought – that the boys had died in the most glorious cause. Their dear ones had died that Christian principles might dominate the world instead of the pagan doctrine that might is right. The late Pte. Davis was valued by his comrades for his quiet, stirling and manly character. He was one of the most cheerful and soldierly men in the ranks. He met his death at the port of duty on guard – a soldier’s death – by a stray bullet from the Turkish trenches just at dawn, having safely got through the night’s heavy firing. Heroes all! We leave them in our Heavenly Father’s keeping. After the address the Rev. Ratten unveiled the photo and dedicated it to the glory of God and in memory of his servant, Pte. Davis. The plate will be placed in the Parish Hall alongside the late Sergt. C. Grenfell’s. The organist, Miss Grenfell, played the “Dead march” in Saul.”

Geelong Advertiser, Vic, Thursday 8th February 1917, page 2.

“BELMONT.

The picnic in connection with St. Stephen’s Sunday School will take place on Saturday afternoon at Queenscliff. A special carriage will be provided at South Geelong. At St. Stephen’s Church on Sunday evening a memorial service was held in honor of Private H. M. Lennox who fell in November, 1916. The Rev. G. W. Ratten delivered an address on “Sacrifice” asking all to put aside worldly ends of personal gain, prejudices of class, party feeling, small and paltry things, to dedicate their aims to the glory of God and the service of their country. Pte. Lennox was a member of the Sunday School Bible class, and gained the first prize, a Bible, not long before he enlisted. He had kept in close touch with his teacher and the Sunday School when at the Front. An enlarged photo was then unveiled, inscribed “Pte. H. M. Lennox, 29th Battalion, killed in action in France, November 2nd, 1916. For God, King and Country. Presented to St. Stephen’s by parishioners and friends.” The organist, Miss Grenfell, then played the “Dead March: in saul. This is the third soldier who has fallen from this church, the others being Sergt. C. R. Grenfell and Pte. E. W. Davis.”

 

Geelong Advertiser, Vic, Tuesday 19th June 1917, page 4.

“BELMONT,

The vicar (Rev G. W. Ratten) in a rather trying ordeal on Sunday in having to officiate at two memorial services at S. Stephen’s, There were good attendances at each, especially in the evening. The pretty little church was tastefully draped in mourning by Mrs. J. Larcombe, and the church flag bearing evidence of it in honor and in loving memory of the late Cpl. R. T. Lennox, who was killed in France on July 19th, 1916. He was the first to enlist from Belmont, and he and his brother have given their lives for King and Empire. This constitutes the fourth hero who has sacrificed his life in connection with this church. Cpl. Lennox was employed in the local P.O., at the age of 14, and remained in that position for about six years. He was a member of the Bible Class in connection with the Sunday school until his enlistment was confirmed at St. Wilfrid’s, Mount Duneed; a regular communicant and bore a splendid character. His teacher informed the vicar that he was “a grand lad, brave, faithful and true, one of the best; it was a privilege to have been his teacher.” He has been missing since last July, and this anxiety has been a great strain to his parents. The preacher took his text from “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” They should be proud of their hero, who had died for the freedom of the world, for national honor; in fact, for the most glorious cause for which a man has ever lived. He wished to convey to the mourners his heart felt sympathy in their sad loss, but they must remember that he had died at his post of duty; that honor is more precious than life; that “a crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without a name.” Never while the British Empire shall last can we forget these glorious sons and brothers who have given their lives so bravely for the flag that binds us all together. The very impressive service was concluded by the singing of the hymn “For All the Saints Whom From Their Labor Rest.” and by the congregation standing while the “Dead March” was played by Miss A. Biggs. The second service was held to pay tribute of respect and loving memory to one who for the past five years had been a regular worshipper up to the time of his illness – the late Thos. Calvert. There was a large number of mourners present. Deceased’s favorite hymns were sung impressively, “Nearer, My God, to Thee.” “Rock of Ages,”Jesu, Lover of My Soul.” The vicar took for his text “Thy will be done,” and spoke of comfort to the bereaved; their dear one had gone home after his pilgrimage to “light after darkness, crown instead of cross.” Miss Hunt officiated at the organ. The vicar read Tennyson’s “Crossing the bar” during the address.”

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