The Gransmore War Memorial Clock Project

In April 2017 a small group of people launched Project Clockface to try and raise sufficient funds to restore the face of Ermington Church clock and at the same time to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.

The clock is a memorial to Rodney Gransmore of Thornham, a Captain in the 3rd Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment who, at the age of 25, fell in action while leading his Company at the assault on the Hohenzollern Redoubt at the Battle of Loos, France on 28th September 1915.   More than 61,000 British casualties were sustained in the battle and casualties were particularly high among Scots units.   A plaque in the Church records that the clock was placed in the tower in memory of Captain Gransmore by his parents, brother and sister – a few words that encompass so much grief and loss and serve as a constant and poignant reminder of the thousands of young men who were killed in the First World War. 

The project captured the imagination of the local community and within a few months we had raised the £6000 required to carry out the restoration of the clock face.  Inspired with our success we changed our name to The Gransmore War Memorial Clock Project and decided to try and raise a further £8000 to install an automatic winding device and pendulum regulator.  This would ensure that the clock would keep perfect time and chime the hours and the quarters without any manual intervention.  (At present the clock has to be wound by hand twice a week, which requires someone to climb the steep ladder in the tower and laboriously wind up the three heavy weights which control the time, the striking of the hours and quarters and the Westminster chimes). 

This seemed a daunting task but within a year we had succeeded in raising the full £14,000 required to carry out the restoration of the clock face and to install the AWD and PR.  This enabled us to go ahead and instruct Smith of Derby (who installed the original clock in 1919) to carry out the work and a team of craftsmen will arrive in the village on Tuesday, 31st July.  During the following four days they will completely restore the face of the clock and at the same time install the new electrically controlled mechanism inside the tower. We understand that one of them will abseil down from the top of the tower; the hands of the clock will be removed and the clock mechanism withdrawn internally.   The dial will then be lowered out and the intrepid painter will work on the restoration hanging in space.   It should be an interesting spectacle to watch!

The Edwardian Garden Party, on the afternoon of Sunday, 15th July, is the Grand Finale of all the community’s efforts and we are very grateful to Marilyn and Paul Fletcher for making their garden available for this special event. The party is to celebrate the success of the project and on both the Tombola and the children’s games you will find that “everyone is a winner”; there will be a licensed bar, delicious teas with homemade cakes, a variety of stalls, displays and other attractions including a vintage car (a 1929 Swift) and a wind up gramophone on which shellac records from the early 1900’s will be played.  Entertainment will be provided throughout the afternoon by Saltash Town Band and the Pipes of Skye.  We are also hoping that some of Captain Rodney Gransmore’s descendants may be able to join us during the afternoon.

Later in the year, when all the work has been completed, the clockface is gleaming in the sunshine and the clock is keeping perfect time and chiming automatically, we will be organising another special event - for which there will be no charge – to show our gratitude to everyone who has helped us in so many ways and to thank everyone for their unstinting support.  We could not have done it without you.

Gill Hucker, Grant Elliott, Kathy Toms and Peter Daniels                                                                         July 2018

Earlier Update
Gransmore Clock Project
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Project Clockface
Ermington Village War Memorial Clock Restoration Project
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