All Hallows Ceremony 2016

The National annual service of commemoration and wreath laying ceremony took place on Saturday 13 th August 2016. 

The service was officiated by Fr 
Victor and Reverend Melanie Toogood as Reverend Bertrand Olivier was away in the West Indies looking after a Parish there.

Our honoured guest from the Malta High Commission was the First Secretary Ms Chirelle Ellul Sciberras who gave a short address during the service. 70 attended the service from the GCIA membership, Malta Cultural Movement, Merchant Naval Association and the Memorial Trust. 

Four standards were on parade 3 from the GCIA, National, South East and West branches, and one from the MNA.

We extend our grateful thanks to Paul and Gill Davis for arranging the taxis from the London Taxi Drivers Association for War Disabled to take 52 of our members and friends of the Association back to the Union Jack Club for lunch.


All Hallows’ greatest claim to fame is its association with famed diarist Samuel Pepys. When the Great Fire of London raged in 1666, Pepys climbed the
brick tower of Al Hallows to watch the progress of the fire across London. Pepys lived in Seething Lane, across from All Hallows.

But there is more to this historic church than its use as an observation post. All Hallows by the Tower lays claim to being the oldest church in London. The original church was founded by the Abbey of Barking in 675, and an arch from that first church still survives. Beneath th
e Saxon arch traces of Roman pavement can be seen, evidence that this site was in use as far back as 2000 years ago.

All Hallows has a bloody history; due to its close proximity to the Tower of London, the church received the bodies of many of those unfortunates executed. In that spot, including Archbishop Laud (1645), Bishop Fisher (1535), and Sir Thomas More (1535. The church is normally open during daylight hours, I can highly recommend a visit, it is within a few steps of the Tower of London, and well worth a detour to enjoy.

This report was written by National Chairman, Mrs Julia Gaw.  Photographs taken by Ray Wrigglesworth, Chairman, West Branch.