WWI Centenary

This article originally appeared in The Herald Newspaper on 21st November 2018. 

This month marked one hundred years since the end of the First World War. Remembrance Sunday was marked by sombre and deeply moving commemorations around the UK, with 10,000 people processing past the Cenotaph, where Her Majesty The Queen and members of the Royal Family were in attendance. A two minute silence was held at 11am and wreaths were laid to commemorate the servicemen and women killed in all conflicts from the First World War onwards.

 Locally, I was pleased to attend ceremonies in Faringdon, Wantage and Didcot, with huge crowds coming out to pay their respects. Hundreds turned out, and there was a flypast of helicopters from RAF Benson over Wallingford, with artefacts on Wallingford’s connection to the war on display in the Wallingford Museum. Events in Didcot culminated at Smallbone Recreation Ground, which was designated as a ‘Centenary Field’ in September. The designation will protect the grounds as a living memorial to all those who gave their lives in the conflict.

 The dedication ceremony of the newly refurbished bandstand in Wantage Memorial Park also took place on Sunday as part of the commemoration. I would like to thank all at the Vale District Council that made this happen. The park itself is committed to the memory of those who had lost their lives in the First World War and was opened just after the end of this war. It was very fitting that the bandstand was dedicated one hundred years to the day from the Armistice.

 It was a pleasure to attend all three ceremonies on Sunday (partly helped thanks to Didcot’s long standing tradition of holding its parade at 3 in the afternoon) and I would like to thank everyone who attended as well as the organisers who worked so hard. The ceremonies were deeply moving and the work of all the branches of the Royal British Legion and the town councils clearly showed on the day and in the weeks leading up to the centenary.