Borough commander Tony Nash
- Memorial stone
- PC Stephanie Gentile
- MPS Cadets
- Pipe Major Joe Morgan
- Band of the Welsh Guards
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On Monday, 4 August a memorial stone was unveiled detailing the names of 23 officers of the Metropolitan Police Service's ‘K Division’, who gave their lives during the Great War, 1914 - 1918.
The unveiling and dedication ceremony was held to coincide with Britain’s entry into the war.
Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Nash, Borough commander for Newham, welcomed the dignitaries in attendance who included Lyn Brown MP, Mike Gapes MP, Madam Mayor Elizabeth Kangethe of Barking & Dagenham, Mayor Ashley Kissin, local councillors, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Newham John Barber Esq., Commander Simon Bray, Commander Steve Watson, Commander Simon Letchford, Bishop Trevor Mwamba, Major Stephen Russell and Borough Commanders from the London Fire Brigade and the London Ambulance Service.
The stone has been set in the ground at the entrance to Forest Gate Police Station, Green Street, allowing members of the public to pay their respects as well as giving officers a strong everyday reminder of their connection to their fallen colleagues.
A Metropolitan Police Crest from a former K Division Station was mounted on the wall above the memorial.
Out of some 281 police officers who enlisted in the Armed Forces from K Division, 22 soldiers were killed from 1914 to 1918. An additional police officer has been added to the list; he was killed while on duty in the Silvertown Explosion of 1917 and was post-humously awarded the King’s Policing Medal by King George V.
Four and a half thousand members and ex-members of the Met joined the Armed Forces during WW1 and WW2, of these more than 500 lost their lives on active service or through enemy action.
The Queen’s Lord Lieutenant of Newham, John Barber Esq. DL unveiled the memorial stone and the Band of the Welsh Guards sounded The Last Post.
Representatives from each of the fallen soldier’s regiments attended and living descendants of some of the officers also attended.
A WW1 bugle commissioned in October 1914 was kindly donated for the occasion.
Operation Valour was first introduced by PC Ricky Coleridge from Newham police. He suggested creating a memorial dedicated to the 23 police officers from K Division, which is now the Met boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Tower Hamlets, Redbridge and Newham.
Former Borough commander Rob Jones, PC Stephanie Gentile, PC Sandie Porter and Chaplain David Foster spent many hours discovering their lives and remembering their deaths.
PC Stephanie Gentile, said: “We know their names by heart, and we probably always will.”
A soldier, Guy Chapman wrote about returning with his regiment from a brief respite out of the front line, with spirits astonishingly high considering the major offensive they knew awaited them.
He said: "The battalion is moving as one man; very strong, very steady, with a sway in the shoulders and a lilt in the feet. We are content to live in the moment, to feel the warm sun, to enjoy the strength of our bodies, and to be lulled by the rhythmical momentum with which we march.
"Few had forebodings. At the halts they lay in the long wet grass and gossiped, enormously at ease. The whistle blew. They jumped for their equipment. Hump your pack and get a move on, the next hour, man, will bring you three miles nearer to your death. ‘Yet by your courage in tribulation, by your cheerfulness before the dirty devices of this world, you have won the love of those who have watched you."
A handmade Book of Remembrance listing the police and military details of the 23 officers will be on public display at Forest Gate Police Station.
Newham officers raised the money to pay for the memorial through donations and sponsored events.
Reverend Jonathan Osbourne, Senior Chaplin for the MPS led the service. Wreaths were laid by Deputy Lieutenant Mayors, Military representatives, Royal British Legion, Metropolitan Police, London Fire Brigade and friends and families.
Pipe Major Joe Morgan, from the Police Emerald Society ended the ceremony with A Peeler’s Lament.