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THE CAMBRIDGESHIRE REGIMENT CHAPEL

Published: 04 Mar 2014   updated: 08 Nov 2018

This year sees the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. This was a war which involved not only the whole of Europe but many other countries outside Europe and also sowed the seeds which led to the Second World War.

The call to arms was answered by the young men of every County in the United Kingdom. Volunteers and later conscripted men came from every city, town and village and men of Cambridgeshire were no exception.

As is well-known the casualty figures were horrendous. In all 77 officers and 789 other ranks from the Cambridgeshire Regiment lost their lives. It should be noted that the dedication of the Chapel was to include all men of Cambridgeshire who died and not just those who served with the Regiment.

In 1919 it was decided that a Regimental War Memorial should be established in the Cathedral and a design and scheme was prepared by Dudley Newman FRIBA. It was intended that the names of all those who gave their lives should be commemorated in the Chapel. The immediate difficulty was how to display the names of so many in the small space available

The solution was to provide four large panels on each side of the Chapel hinged to open out between projecting buttresses, the names to be painted on the fronts and backs, and on the panelling fixed against the walls behind them. This meant that when closed, each panel represented three, making a series of 24 panels to contain the names of all the fallen from the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely. The names were listed under their respective parishes. It is immediately apparent from the names listed under each parish, the effect War had upon the community, when one sees the same family name appearing so many times.

The beautiful East window shows a central figure representing Christ as the King of Glory, with the figures of St George, the patron Saint of England, and St Martin of France, on whose day, the 11 November, the Armistice was signed in 1918.

In the lower panels are three small subjects; in the centre the Crucifixion, on the right, Hereward the Wake in the Battle of the Reeds at Aldreth; on the left Duke Brithnoth exhorting his men before the Battle of Malden In the tracery are the escutcheon of the See of Ely, The County of Cambridge and the badge of the Regiment.

The Roll of Honour for the Second World War containing the names of 24 officers and 760 other ranks lost in action or died in captivity was dedicated in 1959. A similar Roll of Honour for 1914-1918 was also prepared and both are contained in bookcases on either side of the Chapel entrance within the Chapel.

Just outside the Chapel is a bookstand containing the names of those who have died since 1945 whilst serving with the successor Regiments to The Cambridgeshire Regiment.
NB A detailed Guide to the Regimental Chapel can be purchased from the Cathedral Bookshop