Remembrance Day, 2020

Most people are aware that one of the duties of the Captains of the Parish is to raise the militia in times of invasion. This is regarded as something from long ago but at the outbreak of the two World Wars the Captains were involved in encouraging young men from their parish to join up and fight for King and Country.

Towards the end of the First World War Lord Raglan, the Lieutenant Governor, called together all the Captains of the Parish together with the Mayor of Douglas and the Chairman of the Commissioners of the other three towns, Castletown, Peel and Ramsey. (The Captains of the towns used to be the High Bailiff in each case). He charged them with the task of getting together a committee in their area for the sole purpose of raising funds to erect war memorials. The scheme didn't get off the ground until the Great War ended but one by one the memorials were erected and unveiled. Only the National Memorial at St Johns was erected with public money. The local authorities, including Douglas Corporation, were not involved in the fundraising but in some cases the authorities took on the responsibility of ongoing maintenance.

The involvement of the Captains is recognised to this day with the Captain of the Parish laying the first wreath after the Royal British Legion. When His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor is present he lays the first wreath. In Parishes where there is a parade to the church for a service before the service at the war memorial, the Captain of the Parish takes the salute with a representative of the Royal British Legion. In the four towns it is the Chairman of the Local Authority who takes the salute in lieu of a Captain. When His Excellency attends he takes the salute as well.

This year in Onchan on 8th November the Remembrance Sunday service started with a parade through the village past the Archibald Knox designed memorial. The salute was taken my Chris Glaister, Vice Chairman of the Onchan Branch of the Royal British Legion, His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor Sir Richard Gozney and Peter Kelly the Captain of the Parish. His Excellency was accompanied by Robert Griffiths, one of his cadets.