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A Kidsgrove World War One Centenary

Kidsgrove WW1 Grave Stone

A World War One grave stone in a Kidsgrove cemetry.

So I’ve been thinking about what Kidsgrove could do next year for the World War One Centenary. On the 4th August 2014 the UK will begin its candlelit vigils to mark the outbreak of the First World War and to mark the precise moment Britain went to war with Germany. Millions of people died as a result and the Great War left a gap that could never be filled. It’s so important that future generations remember the price we paid as a nation so that we can learn from history.

So why not take our town back to 1914-18?

Kidsgrove remembrance services have always been well attended by the local community. I would hope our local Churches will be joining this occasion to remember those who bravely fought and died for our Town and of course the Country.

I would like to suggest that the Town holds its own Centenary exhibition at Kidsgrove Town Hall. This could include photographs, memorabilia, medals, diaries, uniforms and stories written by residents from the local area. This exhibition would open to the public for a week and an entrance fee of £1 could be donated to the Poppy appeal and Help for Heroes. We don’t have to stop there. We could look at inviting actors to act out the times on stage for visitors and school children. We can tell the story of how our town clubbed together to contribute to the war effort and to support the lads on the front.

The Great War 2014-2018

Lest we forget.

The Town Centre traders would be expected to help with this. We could invite them to dress their windows up in WW1 themes and even dress themselves up for the benefit of local shoppers. The new Kidsgrove Town Team could also arrange for themed markets to be held along Market Street to add to the occasion. Military parades and vintage vehicle shows on King Street Car Park would also add to the theme.

You must have heard the stories of the Christmas Day Truce on the western front. German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and songs between their trenches and even played a game of football in a string of unofficial ceasefires on the front. So in light of all this to celebrate a symbolic moment of peace we could arrange a charity football match at the Kidsgrove Athletic grounds. Once again all funds raised could be donated to support the victims of war today.

And finally to end a week of commemoration and remembrance an orchestral concert at the Kidsgrove Victoria Hall would be perfect for residents of all ages to enjoy.

If you have any ideas or would like to get involved please do not hesitate to get in touch with me and the Town Council. Thank you.

Armistice day, King Street, Talke Pits, 11 th November 1918

Standing from left to right are Mr James Lewis, Mr William Lewis, Mr David Taylor, Jack Davis, and Miss Nellie Lewis. Joseph or Richard Kennedy is pictured sitting on the floor on the left, with William Tyler on the right. They are all standing in the Lewis’ doorway in King Street.  11th November 1918.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.

Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,

They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.