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The Hornungs, An Anglo-Portuguese Family During the First World War

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Parish Church of St George

Rectory Lane (off B2135)

Steyning Road (B2135)

West Grinstead

RH13 8LR

United Kingdom

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Remembrance and War Memorials force us to draw lessons from the past in order to construct a better future. "There But Not There," supports six military charities: "Walking with the Wounded, Combat Stress, The Royal Foundation, Help for Heroes, Equinox (a veteran housing project with medical students) and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Let him who would see the sweet simplicity of the countryside try to find West Grinstead Church. Walk down the raised flagged causeway to the little bridge across the Adur, and turn around and look at the silver shingled spire, at the golden lichen roof, across the meadow. There is no village of West Grinstead: there is just a corner of a green field for ever England. Wherever our English spirit lives, it must be here.

When West Grinstead went to war, three of its men were the Anglo-Portuguese sons of Pitt and Laura Hornung, one of them, and both brothers-in-law are, along with far too many others, remembered in this beautiful ancient Saxon Church. Their perspex silhouettes are a poignant reminder of the disproportionate loss suffered by this hamlet in West Sussex.

Already by the end of the first year of the war it was obvious to Pitt Hornung that his financial fortunes had turned, and in the years to follow he became a multi-millionaire. Between 1914 and 1920 the Sena Sugar Factories produced and sold 187,412 tons of sugar at an average price of £60 per ton. Pitt's share of the proceeds amounted to well over £2,000,000, the equivalent of nearly £87,000,000 today.

Such a fortune had come about by the huge personal loss to himself and to mankind. Like his father before him, Pitt too, was gentle, brave and generous.

Pitt financed the building of Horsham Hospital, much of which was designed for the care of wounded veterans. He also gave generously to his own family establishing both his widowed daughters in London, and both his surviving sons in West Sussex. In Portugal he bought Quinta Dos Azulejos, in Lumiar, Lisbon for Laura's sisters.

He paid for the War Memorial in The Parish Church of St George West Grinstead, and for the War Memorial at the end of Mill Lane, built on a corner of the property which he had bought for his youngest brother, the author and creator of "Raffles," E W Hornung, and his wife Constance. Mary Doyle the mother of Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, and of Constance Hornung was installed in a house near to the Crawley & Horsham Hunt Kennels at West Grinstead.

Camm was commissioned to design and create a First World War Memorial to Pitt and Laura's youngest son, John Peter Hornung and to both their sons-in-law, Arthur Houssemayne Du Boulay and Francis Spencer Collin.

Pitt Hornung established the Hornung Trust to provide financial support for the Parish and Church of St George, West Grinstead, and his widow Laura added substantially to this with a generous bequest on her death in 1962.

Soon after the death of their eldest son Bernard, who had served as Senior British Liaison Officer to the Portuguese Artillery from April 1917 through to the Armistice, the Hornung family, in 1968, commissioned Carl Edwards to design and create the Hornung Memorial Window. Fifty years later Fr Ulick Loring commissioned Carl Edwards's daughter, Caroline Benyon to design and create the Portuguese First World War Memorial Windows in the Roman Catholic Church of St James, Twickenham. A remarkable coincidence, linking two churches with a significant Portuguese heritage.

Bernard Hornung, Pitt Hornung's great grandson, will deliver an illustrated talk on the Hornungs, an Anglo-Portuguese family during the First World War. He will mention the Portuguese Training Camp at Roffey, Horsham, his grandfather's service with the Portuguese Artillery, and the two Hornung, Memorial Windows.

This event is free to attend and it will be held at the Parish Church of St George, West Grinstead on Saturday 4 August at 7 p.m. Bernard will speak for about 45 minutes after which there will be time for questions. Refreshments will be served.

In order to have some idea of numbers those wishing to attend are most kindly requested to complete the Eventbrite booking form, or to email or telephone the event organiser. There will be a retiring collection for, Remembrance "There But Not There." Thank you.

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Date and Time

Location

Parish Church of St George

Rectory Lane (off B2135)

Steyning Road (B2135)

West Grinstead

RH13 8LR

United Kingdom

View Map

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