From Clee to heaven the beacon burns,
The shires have seen it plain,
From north and south the sign returns
And beacons burn again.
The words of A. E. Houseman that open the poem entitled‘1887’. Those words were meant for a different conflict, yet were well applicable to our lighting of the beacon on Brecon Promenade on the evening of Sunday 11th November, 2018, the 100th anniversary of the Armistice to the 1914-
The day had begun assembling at St Marys’ Church Green in the Town centre at 10.40am to prepare for the annual Act of Remembrance. It was a particularly significant occasion on this the commemoration of the Armistice. During this very well attended service a wreath was laid at the Cenotaph on behalf of all the choir members bearing an inscription “In remembrance of the fallen in all conflicts”.
The Sunday evening commemoration, ‘The Battles Over–A Nations Tribute’, commenced at 6.15pm and we were joined by the Mayor of Brecon together with the RAF St Athan Ensemble and two pupils and a staff member from Christ College who gave a moving tribute to a past pupil of Christ College, a man who paid the supreme sacrifice in WW1. The past pupil was Charles Piper Hazard who was commissioned into the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry and who was killed in the Ypres Salient on the 21st April 1915. The presentation was performed by Janet Hope, Head of English, together with Harry Jones and Poppy Lawley from the Upper Sixth and was extremely well done. The Last Post was sounded at 6.55pm, the beacon lit at 7.00pm and brought a very emotive day to an end. The beacon on the Promenade was one of many throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories and symbolizes the ‘light of hope’ that emerged from the darkness of war’.
Houseman’s ‘1887’ poem was a salute to the 53rd(Shropshire) Regiment of Foot which, as part of an amalgamation, became the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry in 1881 and was, of course, the Regiment in which Charles served and died. In a later verse of the poem we find;
We pledge in peace by farm and town
The Queen they served in war,
And fire the beacons up and down
The land they perished for.