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Commemorating Portuguese contribution

by Fr Ulick Loring

On Monday 9th April two new stained glass windows were dedicated in St James Church, Twickenham. One remembers the Portuguese dead of the First World War. becoming the first formal recognition in this country of the Portuguese contribution to the Entente war effort. Thousands of Portuguese soldiers served on the Western front and took heavy casualties. The second window remembers the humanitarian work of former King Manuel II of Portugal who was an active parishioner at St James’s. He served in the British Red Cross and endowed the orthopaedic unit at what is now Hammersmith Hospital.

The windows were designed by Caroline Benyon, Fellow of the Master Painters who has designed windows at St Paul’s Cathedral and St Alban’s Cathedral. The windows were dedicated by Bishop John Wilson, and a commemorative plaque was unveiled by the Ambassador of Portugal HE Manuel Lobo Antunes and by Field Marshal Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank. The Ambassador then laid a wreath to commemorate the War Dead. A guard of honour was provided by 562 Transport Squadron, 151 Transport Regiment and other personnel. The music was led by the parish choir and by the chair of the Portuguese community of Camden Town.

The congregation, apart from many parishioners, included HRH Prince Sebastian of Luxembourg, currently serving in the Irish Guards, prominent members of the Anglo-Portuguese community, the outgoing Deputy Mayor of Richmond Cllr Benedict Dias, Andy Cole, Chair of Governors at St Richard Reynolds Catholic College, Sir Vince Cable MP, and Dr Ruth Kelly, Pro Vice Chancellor at St Mary’s University.