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More Events Confirmed As Guildford Prepares to Commemorate WWI Centenary

Published on: 4 Feb, 2014
Updated on: 4 Feb, 2014

Guildford is fast becoming the place to be when the UK commemorates the 100th anniversary of the First World War later this year.

A wide range of what promises to be both spectacular and moving events and exhibitions focusing on the Great War of 1914-18, will be taking place.

On Friday last week, the latest planning meeting for Guildford’s First World War Commemorations, that included borough councillors, council officers, the honorary remembrancer Matthew Alexander, local historian David Rose and others, heard of a number of additional events planned to those already taking place.

Munitions worker at Rice Bros, Onslow Street, Guildford, during the First World War.

Munitions worker at Rice Bros, Onslow Street, Guildford, during the First World War.

Canon Peter Bruinvels, Surrey County Council’s civilian-military liaison officer, who attended the meeting said that, so far, Guildford appears to be holding more commemorative events in 2014 than any other Surrey town. But he added that the commemorations should not just be confined to 2014, the anniversary of the start of the war, but events should be planned throughout the period of 2014-18.

The meeting heard details of a scheme to provide a number of highly visual and illustrated display boards that give a taste of what life was like in Guildford during the period 1914-18. There was a good deal going on back then, from men enlisting at Stoughton Barracks, the Zeppelin raid of 1915, factories making munitions, the dire food shortages of 1917-18, and the eventual peace celebrations.

It is hoped that a number of these boards will be produced and will be loaned to schools throughout the borough for temporary display. Local historian David Rose (also of The Guildford Dragon NEWS) showed the meeting a mock-up of boards he has produced using material from his archive collection.

Honorary Remembrancer and a former curator of Guildford Museum, Matthew Alexander, has been working on details for further boards / information panels that will be displayed outside prominent Guildford buildings and places associated with events that took place here during the First World War.

Another project that the committee will be considering is a scheme to attach (or place) a temporary high quality engraved blue plaque, made of a synthetic material, on every house in the current borough of Guildford (or as many as possible, with property owners’ permission) known to be the home address of a person(s) when they died due to active service during the First World War.

David Rose said: “Details on each plaque will be unique to the person who died and will have the person’s name and rank, regiment or similar details, year of their death, their age and the words ‘lived here’.

“If it gets the go-ahead, the blue plaque project will be a fitting and very visual tribute to those from the borough of Guildford who gave their lives during the Great War. A number of streets in Guildford town had several men who died. For example, 1o blue plaques displayed in a small street such as Falcon Road, off York Road, will be a very poignant image and a reminder of lives lost. In other streets there were families who lost two, and even three sons. A house displaying three plaques will most certainly convey the terrible losses those families endured.”

Wartime 'silk' postcard featuring the badge of The Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment.

Wartime ‘silk’ postcard featuring the badge of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment.

The latest events and exhibitions to the growing list taking place in Guildford in 2014 include:

Saturday, May 24: Arrival  of the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery – procession of 90 to 100 ridden horses of the Kings Troop, High Street, Guildford.  (Provisional).

Monday, May 26: Musical Drive of the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery at the Surrey County Show and featuring the first gun to fire in WWI. Stoke Park, Guildford. (Provisional).

Saturday, July 19: Premiere of Guildford and the Great War, by Circle 8 Film Group. The Electric Theatre.

Saturday and Sunday, August 2 and 3: Burpham Will Remember Them: Research project to remember the men of the First World War recorded on the Burpham War Memorial. Includes a flower festival with a theme of remembrance at St Luke’s Church on August 2, at which the research into the men, their families and the community of 1914 will be presented; and a special service at St Luke’s Church on August 3, for the descendants of the men and the Burpham community.

Sunday, August 3: Parade and service at St Peter and St Paul Church, West Clandon.

Sunday, August 3: Commemorative service at St Mary’s Church, Worplesdon.

Monday, August 4: Display of historical material at Worplesdon Memorial Hall.

Sunday, September 21: Stoughton in the Great War. A free community event on the green at Cardwells Keep, off Stoughton Road, formerly the home of the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment. 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.

Stoughton WWI A4 01 ColDetails of all events so far planned can be viewed on The Guildford Dragon NEWS’ special section First World War Centenary Commemorations found on the grey bar just below the title on our Home page.

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Responses to More Events Confirmed As Guildford Prepares to Commemorate WWI Centenary

  1. Jayne Seymour Reply

    February 5, 2014 at 10:37 am

    The blue plaques will be an amazing and poignant sight. I certainly hope that this project gets the go-ahead.

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