Chichester Rotary Club is celebrating its centenary year, and to mark the occasion, the West Sussex club helped to fund a statue at the city’s war memorial.
The statue was created by local sculptor, Vincent Gray, and represents the 350 Chichester men who gave their lives during the First World War.
The statue is of Lance Corporal Maurice Patten, who lost his life during the Great War.
At an unveiling ceremony, Simon Ullrich, the great-nephew of Maurice Patten, read a moving tribute to his great uncle, and to all those who died alongside him.
He read out a letter which was sent to Maurice Patten’s fiancé by a colleague on the Somme battlefield, in the days after Patten’s death.
This was truly a day for remembrance and respect for those who fought in that terrible war.”
Chichester Rotary President, David Rigglesford, said he was intensely moved by the ceremony.
He said: “I was able to speak to Simon later that morning and he showed me a small New Testament that was carried everywhere by Lance Corporal Patten, carefully wrapped in polythene and still carrying within it some pieces of shrapnel.
“This was truly a day for remembrance and respect for those who fought in that terrible war.”
Chichester City Council and the Rotary club jointly funded the placement of the statue.
Sculptor Vincent Gray created a statue with a poignant pose, with the solider at ‘resting on arms reversed’, which is the recognised mourning stance; head bowed and the muzzle of the rifle on the left foot.
Arranged around the feet of the statue are Lance Corporal Patten’s personal effects which his mother received following his death, comprising a tobacco pouch, a silver watch and chain, a bible, and four family photographs.
Lance Corporal Patten served with the 7th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment’s 12th Division.
He lived in Eartham, just outside of Chichester, and he died from injuries sustained on the battlefield on January 13th, 1916, aged just 24. The Patten family lost another son, Harry, in 1914.
Lance Corporal Patten is buried in the Bethune Town Cemetery in northern France. His name is also recorded in Eartham Village Hall and in Chichester Cathedral, on the panels in the Royal Sussex Regiment’s Chapel.