The History of the Well Hall Memorial Gates

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On Sunday 11th November 2018, which was both Remembrance Sunday and the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, a Service of Remembrance took place at the Memorial Gates at Well Hall. Following two minutes silence, wreaths were laid on the gates by members of the Woolwich Polytechnic Masonic Lodge, by two Blackheath Junior Rugby Club playersMillwall Football Club and by Dr Alan Thompson President of Blackheath FC.


Alan Garner, Past Master of the Woolwich Polytechnic Masonic Lodge, spoke to those present at the service. The text of his address follows:


The Woolwich Polytechnic Memorial Gates were erected in 1948 in memory of those who lost their lives in serving their country. For over 60 years the various sporting organisations associated with the ‘Poly’ laid wreaths on the memorial gates on Remembrance Sunday in recognition of the fallen. Woolwich Polytechnic Masonic Lodge was formed from within these sporting associations and, as Lodge members, we wear the Woolwich Poly Sports Association Tie.


With the demise of the Woolwich Polytechnic when it became, at first, Thames Polytechnic, and then part of Greenwich University, the various associations slowly faded away until, in the end, we became the sole supporter of this tradition. It became a lonely vigil as even our own numbers were dwindling and we were sadly down to single figures.


In the first year that Blackheath Rugby Club took over this ground our small service was spontaneously supported by those playing at the grounds that day, even forming a Guard of Honour as we laid our wreaths and gave our tributes. It was a very moving gesture and a very special occasion for us all.


Since that memorable day the support from your club, the players and their supporters has grown and we thank you for joining with us again in this act of remembrance.


Finally, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to Blackheath Rugby Club for kindly allowing us to wear our regalia at this Centenary Service as a special tribute from us to those brethren of the Poly Lodge who gave their lives that we may live ours in peace.


Once again, we thank you all.


Tim Brindle

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