All Saints Church, Clayton West was transformed for a weekend of history and remembrance when the church community came together to commemorate the son of their first priest who was killed in the Battle of Jutland.
The church warden, Gillian Hamer said they were privileged to have the descendants of Fitzgerald Thomas Wintour with them for the weekend to make the commemoration extra special.
Fitgerald Thomas Wintour was Captain of HMS Tipperary and was survived by only twelve crew members in the battle - the largest naval battle of WW1.
Said Gillian: “We have a large memorial in the church dedicated to Captain Charles John Wintour and realised that we should mark the centenary of this largest naval battle and ensure the village knew a little of the history of this man and the impact the Wintour family had within the church and the area.
“Many of the family are interred in the churchyard at High Hoyland – now in the care of All Saints’ Clayton West – and the family members who visited us, were keen to find the large family grave in the churchyard on their visit to our area,” she said.
So with the help of church members, David Newby and David Cousans they put created a display that gave a potted history of the battle and the members of the ship’s crew.
Local children in Year 4 at Kaye’s School brought the display to life with poetry, art work and the building of a ‘river’ of poppies to surround the memorial and flowers were arranged by friends and a member of the congregation in red, white and blue.
The historic display finds records from Stoker Eunson of HMS Tipperary which read: ‘The Captain and some of his officers had been hurled into the sea by the impact of the enemy’s projectiles.’ Stoker Eunson continues that a Lieutenant Kemp who was in the Crow’s nest when German fire smashed the mast and the officer fell down wounded.
‘He was badly hurt about the body, but he cared nothing for himself. He simply went about among us, cheering us up, getting the wounded men moved aft, giving sleeping drafts to those in pain and inspiring us all by his cheery smile and his contempt of death. About midnight we were on fire. ‘Now lads,' said Lieutenant Kemp, ‘every man for himself.’ I, and a lot more, sprang into the sea. About forty of us clung to the raft. I saw the Tipperary, all ablaze, keel over. The last I saw of our splendid officer was seeing him on deck, with the fire and smoke issuing up from the vessel, just before she sank.’
The vicar of All Saints, the Revd Canon Jo Cousans used the story to tell the congregation: “Jesus tells his disciples to love one another as he loves them. ‘The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them.’ (John 15:13)
"Jesus’s command is to love our friends. He also commands us to love our enemies. When Paul writes to the Christians at Philippi, he urges them to trust in God for all things and to pray for the peace which passes human understanding.”