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What to see in the Abbey

Bath Abbey & The First World War

If you look around the walls of the Abbey you can see wall memorials to the following individuals:

      

Dr George Hely-Hutchinson Almond

[south nave aisle next to 4th window from west]

Hely-Hutchinson Almond was a doctor who practised in Widcombe in Bath, and was also the doctor for Monkton Combe School.   He had served as a doctor in the Boer War where he won the Queen’s Medal.  During WW1 he worked first as a pathologist, but was serving with a regiment of the Dragoon Guards when he was killed on the 9th August 1918.                             

Aubrey Reilly

[north nave aisle next to 5th window from east; also commemorated on the Bath College War Memorial]

Aubrey was the son of the Abbey’s Churchwarden, Major James Reilly, an Alderman of the city and Abbey Churchwarden from 1919 to 1936. Aubrey enlisted with the 92nd Punjabi Regiment; and was sent from India to Mesopotamia in December 1915. After 15 months fighting there, he was killed leading his Indian troops in the attack on Sannaiyat on 22 February 1917 at the age of 23. He is buried in the Amara cemetery in Baghdad. Aubrey’s father, Major James Reilly was the Chief Recruiting officer of Bath throughout the 1st World War and was made O. B. E. for his services in 1919. His brother Myles won the M. C. (and was twice wounded) in the Gallipoli campaign.

Donnett Mary Paynter

[North choir aisle next to 1st window from east]

Donnett Paynter was the great grand-daughter of the famous evangelical preacher Dr Haweis, who was buried in Bath Abbey and is also commemorated in the north aisle. In 1917 Donnett enlisted with FANY, the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry. The FANYs were frontline nurses who worked on the battlefield, treating casualties and transporting them by ambulance back to the hospitals. Donnett worked in Calais for 2 years, and was twice mentioned in despatches for ‘Gallant and Distinguished Services in the Field’.

Beatrice Louise Paynter

[north choir aisle next to 1st window from east]

Beatrice Paynter was the mother of Donnet Paynter and a former patient of Dr Atkin Swan, a photographer who had worked with the Royal Flying Corps in the early years of the war. Beatrice Paytner helped Swan establish the first Royal Flying Corps Hospital in Dorset Square in London in 1915. She was an enthusiastic fund raiser for the hospital and became its first Lady Superintendent.

There are Rolls of Honour for:

Wessex Divisional Engineers [East Wall of North transept]

4th Somerset Light Infantry [currently on display in the Gethsemane Chapel]

Bath College [Gethsemane Chapel]

Bath & Wells Diocesan Association of Change Ringers [north choir aisle next to Orange Grove Porch]

In 1923 the chapel which is today called the Gethsemane Chapel was reordered as a

War Memorial Chapel by Sir Thomas Jackson. Many of the furnishing were given in memory of people killed during the war, including the Eagle Lectern which was given in memory of Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Alexander Thynne, MP for the City of Bath and a member of the Longleat family. It was dedicated on Oct 3 1923, in the words of the Abbey’s Rector: ‘in memory of brave fellow-countrymen, neighbours, or friends of our own, who fell in the war. How great a service they rendered us we can only dimly discern. The Chapel will be a perpetual memorial of their unselfish sacrifice’.

What is now the choir vestry and shop was built as a War Memorial Cloister, intended to house a choir vestry and parish meeting room. It was designed by Sir Thomas Jackson, and was the first addition to the building since its restoration in the 17th century. The cloister was not completed until 1927, when it was dedicated by the Bishop of Bath & Wells on Armistice Day.