Simple ceremony consecrates Lord Craigavon's Stormont grave

THE ground which had been set aside for the interment of Lord Craigavon to the east of Parliament Buildings, Stormont, was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of Down and Connor and Dromore, the Rt Rev Dr McNeice, during a simple "but impressive" ceremony which was attended by members of the Ulster Cabinet including the new Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Mr J M Andrews) on Wednesday, November 27, 1940, reported the News Letter.

The News Letter reported: "The grave is situated on a mound between the Parliament Buildings and Stormont Castle, past which the late Viscount Craigavon often walked on his way to fulfil his Parliamentary duties. Steps leading to the grave have been laid from the main carriageway."

Prior to the service of consecration the Lord Bishop and other clergy, the Cabinet Ministers, members of the civil service and others had walked from the Parliament Buildings to the grave in a procession which had been headed by the Rev W H Smyth, MA, one of the Parliamentary chaplains and Major G Thomson, DSO, the acting clerk of the Parliaments.

The other chaplains in attendance at the ceremony included the Very Rev A F Moody, MA, DD, and the Rev Canon L W Crooks, MA, also present was the Rev Robert Hyndman, BA, the minister of Belmont Presbyterian Church of which Lord Craigavon had been a lifelong member.

In addition to the Premier there was in attendance at the ceremony at Stormont the Minister of Home Affairs (Sir Dawson Bates), the Minister of Labour (Mr J F Gordon), the Minister of Agriculture (Sir Basil Brooke), the Minister of Public Security (Mr J C MacDermott, KC), Mr William Grant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour), Lieutenant Colonel Sir Wilfred Spender, CBE, DSO (Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, and head of the civil service) and Mr R Gransder (Secretary of the Cabinet).

The service itself comprised the reading of a scripture lesson by the Rev W H Smyth and the act of consecration by the Lord Bishop.