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Organised by Canterbury Branch on behalf of the Association, this service, which is held annually, takes place in the Kent County War Memorial Garden. This garden, which is located within the precincts of Canterbury Cathedral, was formerly the bowling green used by the Canons. The late Lord Harris, Chairman of the Memorial Committee and first President of the Association of Men of Kent and Kentish Men, approached the Canons following the end of the First World War to ask if the garden could be made available for the war memorial and they, under the leadership of Dean Henry Wace, readily agreed. For this noble contribution our County will be forever grateful.

The Garth Service is held in conjunction with The Old Stagers and the Band of Brothers during Canterbury Cricket Week, it continues a tradition that started in 1920. During the service, wreaths are laid at both the memorial to Lord Harris, which is set in the wall of the Precinct, and the war memorial which is dedicated to those from Kent who fell in the two Great Wars and in other conflicts

The Cross of Sacrifice which was brought from Ypres and is located in the centre of the garden, consists of the Cross of Lorraine upon which has been carved the Crusader’s Sword, the Ship of the Sea Power and a wreath of Roses and Lilies.  Around the monolith on which the Cross stands are inscribed the words 'In memory of the fallen sons and daughters of Kent.'

Memorial to 4th Lord Harris


The 2019 Service

At the outset the procession to the Memorial Garden halted at the Memorial in the Precinct Wall dedicated to the 4th Lord Harris, where wreaths were laid by Mrs. Sally Waters, Deputy Chairman of the Association, and by Tony Monteuuis on behalf of the Band of Brothers.

Wreaths for the fallen were laid at the War Memorial by the Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Cllr. Terry Westgate, by Mrs. Sally Waters and by Lady Rose Kingsdown, representing the Old Stagers.

It was a moving ceremony, led by the Archdeacon of Canterbury and the Vice-Dean of the Cathedral, the Ven. Jo Kelly-Moore, and we were grateful also to John Hill from the Canterbury City Band who sounded the Last Post and Reveille.

jo kelly more sally waters lh mem
The Ven Jo Kelly-Moore Mrs Sally Walters Memorial to the 4th Lord Harris
sm lmc war memorial
The Deputy Chairman of the Association with
the Lord Mayor of Canterbury
At the War Memorial


The 2020 Service

There had been plans for a special celebration in 2020 to recognise the 100th anniversary of the first Garth Service. However, after careful consideration, it was decided that it would be unwise to go ahead in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.


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HRH The Duke of Kent

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With the removal of government restrictions imposed in response to concerns about the coronavirus, the Management Committee is hoping that there can be a resumption of Association activities. However, the Committee recognises that it is necessary for people to remain cautious and, consequently, it may prudent to limit or cancel any scheduled event, possibly on short notice. All plans should, therefore, be considered as tentative and Members should check before travelling to any activity or event.

Please check the website regularly for any updates on the situation.


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