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Call To Get Involved And Be Part Of First World War Centenary Commemorations

Published on: 7 Mar, 2014
Updated on: 7 Mar, 2014

Guildford historian and writer David Rose is delighted how plans are shaping up for the borough’s commemorations for the 100th anniversary of the First World War, and is encouraging people to volunteer and to get involved with events taking place.

Local historian and writer Davis Rose is busy with preparations to mark the centenary of the First World War.

Local historian and writer Davis Rose is busy with preparations to mark the centenary of the First World War.

He and a number of others are busy behind the scenes planning events as well as uncovering stories about Guildford and its people during the time of the Great War.

Guildford Borough Council is fully behind community and faith groups, parish councils and local venues, organisations and individuals who will be commemorating the First World War in the borough. As well as marking the centenary, the events will provide the opportunity for local people to remember the lives of those who lived, fought and died in the 1914-18 war.

David, who, with others, will also be giving a number of illustrated talks on the subject later this year, said: “I have been been fascinated by the events of the First World War for as long as I can remember. It’s one of the subjects that fuels my passion for modern history. My new book, Great War Towns Guildford, is nearing completion and will be published by The History Press later this year.

“Cllr Pauline Searle, former Stoughton police community support officer Sheila Willis and I are organising what is going to be a superb event at Cardwells Keep, Stoughton, on Sunday afternoon, September 21.

“Formerly Stoughton Barracks, it was the once the home of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, and a lot of Guildford men joined up there in the early part of the First World War.”

The free outside event on the green behind the former keep of the barracks will feature displays about the barracks, wartime themed events for all ages, music from the period, refreshments, and more. The afternoon will conclude with a march (to which all are invited to take part in) behind a band down Stoughton Road to Stoke cemetery where there will be a short service of remembrance at the war memorial cross.

David added: “To make this a truly great community event, we need people and groups to volunteer and support us with the preparations, and also to help to set up and pack away on the day. We will be holding a meeting soon to which anyone will be welcome to come along and hear more of what’s being planned.

“We hope to bring together a number of local communities and will announce the date and time of the meeting soon. Information will also be available via Voluntary Action South West Surrey. But if you would like to know more now, call Pauline Searle on 01483 825424.

Guildford Borough Council wants to hear what others are planning, whether they be remembrance events or exhibitions.

Cllr Matt Furniss, Lead Councillor for Environment, said: “We would like to know what residents, businesses and local groups are planning in the four-year period from 2014 to 2018, so that we can co-ordinate and promote activities across the borough. There are grants available to help groups and communities mark the centenary, including schemes for restoring local war memorials.”

A variety of events are already set to take place across Guildford to mark the outbreak of the war, including educational and cultural activities.

Parades and processions include Surrey Joint Services’ Charities choral matins and Armed Forces Day flag raising and parade at Guildford Cathedral on June 22. On Armed Forces Day, June 28, there will be a freedom parade by the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment through Guildford town centre.

Among the productions and performances on offer is the premier of Circle 8 Film Group’s new film Guildford and the Great War, at The Electric Theatre on July 19.

Exhibitions include The Last Post: Remembering the First World War, at Guildford Museum from June 16 to September 13, and Caught in the Crossfire, at Guildford House Gallery from November 17 to January 11.

Saturday, June 7, will see the unveiling of carpet bedding in the Castle Grounds by the Mayor of Guildford that this year will commemorate the First World War. Time 11am, refreshments in the bowls club’s clubhouse and a display by Shirley Wets of postcards and photographs featuring the Castle Grounds at the time of the Great War. Music in the bandstand and  David Rose and Martin Giles will be giving a short talk about some of the men commemorated on the war memorial.

Loseley Park is holding a living history event on July 27 called Surrey at War, with bands, guns, horses and picnics at the front.

Other events and exhibitions planned include those from Puttenham History Society and Puttenham Parish Council, and Worplesdon Parish Council. Local events and remembrance services are also taking place in Charlotteville, Burpham, West Clandon, Worplesdon and Holy Trinity Church in Guildford High Street.

Guildford’s First World War ‘champion’ Cllr Bob McShee, said: “Our borough has long-standing links with the armed forces, and we believe in fostering strong civic support for them.”

If you are planning a local event or activity contact Stephen Benbough at Guildford Borough Council on 01483 444052 or email

Click here to see The Guildford Dragon NEWS’ full list of events. This will be updated as more event are added. It can be found on the home page just under the main heading.


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Responses to Call To Get Involved And Be Part Of First World War Centenary Commemorations

  1. Nanda Lem-Gurung Reply

    March 18, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    I enjoyed reading David Rose’s article ‘Call to get involved and be part of WW1 Centenary Commemoration.’ I’m fascinated by the borough’s idea of commemorating the Great War and the line up of events for this year. I look forward to joining in the events where possible.

    It will be fitting and appropriate to highlight the Gurkhas’ contribution in the WW1 and have extracted some events of Gurkha involvement in the war from the book ‘The Gurkhas’ written by John Parker.

    The 1/6th Gurkhas were the first to come to Gallipoli to take on the Turks massed by the Germans in March 1915. In early June 1/5th and 2/10th arrived. The 2/8th Gurkhas were the first Gurkhas from India to arrive in France to take on the Germans in September 1915. Kul Bahadur Thapa became the first Gurkha to be awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) in France in November 1915. He saved three comrades: one Leicestershire Regiment man and two Gurkhas under enemy German fire.

    During WW1 more than 200,000 Gurkhas served in the British Army, 20,000 suffered casualties and received 2,000 gallantry awards and the number of battalions increased to 33. They fought in France, Belgium, Mesopotamia, Persia, Suez Canal, Palestine, Gallipoli, Baghdad, Afghanistan, Waziristan.

    Professor Sir Ralph Lilley Turner, MC, who served with the 3rd Gurkhas Alexandra’s Own Gurkha Rifles in WW1 wrote of Gurkhas: ‘Breavest of the breave, most generous of the generous, never had country more faithful friends than you.’

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