Sometimes, when my wife and I are visiting a church, a particular memorial catches our eye. It may be its modesty that makes it stand apart. Sometimes it's the ridiculous grandiosity. Occasionally it's an unusual name. Or it may be historically interesting. And then there are those whose arresting poignancy just makes you stop, pause a while and reflect. We recently came across an example of the latter in the church at Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire. The simple, straightforward inscription on the unaffected tablet needs no commentary from me - it speaks for itself. However, I did find a reference to the circumstances of the deaths of the five brothers and their mother that gives a little context to the tragic events described.
Arnold was the first to die, on 31 October 1914, a mere 10 weeks after the start of the First World War. Next was Hugh, but not until 1st March 1918, when Ada may have been feeling that her sons would survive the conflict. He was lost when his ship, HMS Calgarian, was sunk by a torpedo from a submarine. Later that year in France, on 27th September, Lewis died, and a few weeks afterwards, quite nearby on 15th October, James was killed. Cecil was killed after the war in Europe had ended when Ada must have thought that surely her losses had come to an end. He was a member of the British forces in Egypt involved in maintaining the rule of Empire and lost his life in a rebellion on 18th March 1919.
Ada Maud Jarvis had ten children and was 69 years of age when she died, a mere four months after the death of her fifth son.
photograph and text © Tony Boughen
Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 18.2mm (49mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/50
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On