Commemorative window, St. Luke’s Church, Cannock

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Description:This commemorative window, 'the Last Communion on the Battlefield', was given by Charles Loxton in memory of his son Charles Edward Holden Loxton, known as Edward. He was a 2nd Lieutenant in the North Staffordshire Regiment and served on the Western Front in Flanders. One night he led a patrol to repair barbed wire damaged by enemy artillery and was shot by a sniper during a thunderstorm. He died on the way to a Casualty Clearing Station on May 23rd 1915 at Wulverghem in Belgium and is buried in Nieukirche Cemetery in Belgium. He was 23 years old.

The subject for the window was inspired by a letter from a fellow officer to Edward’s father after his death. In it he wrote, “Your wife will be pleased to know that your son partook of Holy Communion on Thursday last. A few of us went just before we came to the trenches”.

Edward can be seen in the picture kneeling to receive Holy Communion from the priest. The likeness to Edward is quite striking and according to Charles Loxton’s notes, all the soldiers in the window are modelled on real soldiers from Edward’s regiment.

Other sections of the window tell the story of Edward’s life before joining the army. On the left is the coat of arms of his maternal grandfather and on the right, that of Oxford University. At the top of the window the flag of St. George and beneath that is the coat of arms of the North Staffordshire Regiment. The Colonel in Chief was the Prince of Wales hence the three feathers and the motto 'ich dien', part of the Prince’s own coat of arms. Bottom left the coat of arms of Harrow School, bottom right the coat of arms of University College Oxford and between these Edward’s own personal coat of arms with the bar signifying the eldest son.

The window was designed by the artist Reginald Frampton and was dedicated in Edward’s memory on Maundy Thursday 1917. Edward Loxton's father Charles was Clerk to Cannock Local Board which later became Cannock Urban District Council from 1882 until 1933.

Acknowledgement: thank you to the Express and Star for providing the photograph, and also to David Gethin for the information.

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Image courtesy of: Mr Bob Metcalfe

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Source: Miscellaneous Collection

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