Throughout August and September 2013, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles will honour Victoria Cross recipients from the First World War. Commemorative paving stones will be laid in the birth place of Victoria Cross recipients to:
- honour their bravery
- provide a lasting legacy of local heroes within communities
- enable residents to gain a greater understanding of how their area fitted into the First World War story
A total of 628 Victoria Crosses were awarded during the First World War:
- 454 Victoria Crosses were awarded to UK-born recipients
- 173 were awarded to servicemen who fought for Britain, but were born overseas
- 1 person was awarded the Victoria Cross twice during the First World War
The first Victoria Cross commemorative paving stone is being laid today (Saturday 23rd August 2014) , at East Grinstead High Street to honour Private Sidney Godley VC. You can find out more about Sidney Godley in East Grinstead Museum’s exhibition ‘For King and Country’ (visit their website or Facebook page for more details).
Other commemorative paving stone events taking place today are:
- Corporal Charles Garforth VC – Brent, London
- Lieutenant Maurice Dease VC – Dublin, Ireland
- Lance Corporal Charles Jarvis VC – Fraserburgh (Aberdeenshire Council)
For more details of forthcoming events taking place across the county, visit the Government website.
When are the Kent events taking place (and have we remembered all the Kent VC recipients)? Let us know and we can share the details here on the blog.
The countdown to the 4th August began many months ago, with societies, museums, history groups, schools, universities and various other organisations and individuals planning how best to commemorate the day.
As the day itself arrived, international and local news, web, press and social media was full of information and images of what was going on around the world to mark the outbreak of war.
As well as many Church services taking place across the county, here are some of the other events that took place on the day:
- Prince Harry unveiled Step Short‘s First World War Memorial Arch in Folkestone – for a video of the event plus more news articles, visit the BBC News website.
- Ashford’s historic World War One tank, the last of its kind, was guarded by members of 133 Field Company Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers for the 24 hours of August 4 – read more about the tank here and view other Ashford commemorations here.
- Kent County Council opened their commemorative exhibition, ‘In their own words’ focusing of the people of Kent during the First World War – see opening times here.
- Tunbridge Wells poet Siegfried Sassoon’s First World War journals have been published online by the University of Cambridge – read more from BBC news here or view the digital journals here.
- Tenterden railway which carried First World War hero Edith Cavell’s body, to be on BBC2 show Railways of the Great War, Friday 6.30pm – read more about the Kent & East Sussex Railway’s part in this here.
There are many other events, activities and projects taking place across the country; take a look at the Visit Kent’s Frontline Kent website for full details.
“The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime” Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary, August 1914
Everyone in the UK was invited to take part in LIGHTS OUT by turning off their lights from 10pm to 11pm on 4 August, leaving on a single light or candle for a shared moment of reflection.
People took part in whatever way they chose, marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War either individually or by attending one of the many events being organised around the country for a collective experience. There were over 1,000 Lights Out moments registered on the 14-18 NOW website.
As well as the national Lights Out moments, four leading international artists were commissioned by 14-18 NOW to create special public artworks, for one night only. Each one has its own unique approach to creating a light source. Experience the artworks here.
View hundreds of Lights Out moments from across the country by following the Twitter hashtag: #LightsOut.
The Victoria Cross is a military decoration awarded for valour “in the face of the enemy” to members of armed forces of some Commonwealth countries and previous British Empire territories. It takes precedence over all other Orders, decorations and medals; it may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service and to civilians under military command.
Throughout history, there have been 93 men connected to Kent that received a Victoria Cross; the list of these names can be found at http://www.kentfallen.com/Vc%20register.html; for a list of grave locations for holders of the Victoria Cross in Kent, see http://www.victoriacross.org.uk/cokent.htm. Find out more about the Victoria Cross at The Victoria Cross Society’s website.
But what about the Victoria Crosses awarded to Kent recipients during the First World War? How are our Kent towns and villages remembering those members of the armed forces 100 years on? We’d like to hear from you about how you are planning to commemorate Kent Victoria Crosses. Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org with your news and we will share it on this blog.
‘Gateways to the First World War’ is one of five Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded centres designed to enhance public engagement to mark the centenary of the conflict. Gateways is based at the University of Kent and brings together a team of researchers from the Universities of Portsmouth, Brighton, Greenwich, Leeds and Queen Mary, London.
Aims of the project
One of the key aims of the Gateways project is to encourage academics and the wider public to work together to discover connections between the local and the global during the First World War. As Gateways’ Director Professor Mark Connelly stated, the conflict was, for Kent and the South East in particular, a ‘global event with global repercussions’ which took place ‘on the doorstep’.
The Gateways team is now looking forward to developing its work with local groups and organisations on a range of First World War projects across the UK. The Centre aims to encourage and support public interest in the conflict through a range of events and activities such as open days and study days, providing access to materials and expertise, and signposting for other resources and forms of support.
How to get involved
If you are a group or organisation developing a First World War project then the Gateways team would like to hear from you. They will be running regular events to provide information, support and publicity to First World War commemorative activities.
Gateways can help you explore the following areas:
- Memorials, commemoration and memory
- Life on the Home and Fighting Fronts
- The medical history of the First World War
- Wartime propaganda and popular culture
- Maritime and naval history
- Operational and military history
Gateways will be running a number of events relating to the First World War, including talks, open days and study days; please keep an eye on their events page for details.
Get in touch
Visit the Gateways website at www.gatewaysfww.org.uk.
Funding & Support
Gateways does not have budget for funding projects directly, but it is working very closely with the Heritage Lottery Fund which is very keen to see its ‘First World War: then and now‘ scheme used to support community projects and collaborative activities between institutions and community groups.
Gateways does have budget for open days, study days and the like and so is very interested to hear from any institution wishing to host such activities in order to explore the potential for collaborative events of this nature. It should be noted that this budget does not cover individual time costs, but is to support elements such as travel, hospitality and publicity costs.
Forthcoming events include
- 19th July 2014 – 25th January 2015 – ‘Lest We Forget’, an exhibition in conjunction with Portsmouth City Council
- 13th September 2014 – A Family History Day at Brighton Museum in conjunction with Brighton Museums and Pavilion
- 28th September 2014 – Gateways to the First World War Public Open Day, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
- 12th December 2014 – ‘Representations of the Christmas Truce’, a one day symposium at the University of Kent
More details of these and many other projects can be found on the Gateways website at www.gatewaysfww.org.uk, or take a look at the Gateways booklet below:
Dover Museums & Arts Group (DMAG) and Dover Arts Development (DAD) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded funding by Arts Council England and Kent County Council for a new project. Codename: Joined Up is the first project of the recently formed Dover Museums & Arts Group and total funding for the project amounts to around £90,000.
The two-year project will help the museums and heritage venues in the district enhance their online presence, boost visitor numbers and diversity and support new ways of interpreting their World War I collections in particular, by commissioning artists to work with each museum. The artists will respond to the collection in “their museum” and produce an inspirational resource for museum visitors. There will also be free bunting making and drawing workshops, which will be open to the general public.
Clare Smith, DAD director said “We are particularly pleased that many of the artists are young or emerging artists who have chosen to stay in East Kent after graduating”
Joanna Jones, DAD director said “We are delighted to be bringing artists together with such an exciting group of museum and heritage sites in Dover District“
Andrew Morgan from Dover Transport Museum said “We are looking forward to welcoming new visitors to the museum through this project.”
The museums and heritage venues taking part in the project are:
- Dover Museum
- Dover Transport Museum
- Deal Maritime Museum (tbc)
- Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and Queen’s Regiment Museum
- Western Heights Preservation Society
- White Mill Folk Museum Trust
- St Margaret’s History Society
- St Margaret’s Museum
- East Kent Railway
- Kent Coalfield Heritage
- Sandwich Guildhall
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport have released a ‘First World War centenary toolkit for local communities‘. From finding events in your area to advice for organising your own commemorations, this First World War centenary programme toolkit provides bitesized facts and suggestions to help local communities get the most from the centenary programme.
The easy-to-navigate guide has lots of helpful ideas, suggestions and links to the most up-to-date information on local and national events and activities.
Take a look at other Government First World War Centenary news and initiatives, here.
The timeline of events across the county during World War 1 was researched by Time2Give volunteers using the archives at the Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone. It is part of a series of information and activities Kent County Council are organising as part of the First World War Centenary to commemorate those who lived, fought and died in the First World War.
To find out what happened in Kent 100 years ago today, visit www.kent.gov.uk/ww1 and take a look at this fantastic resource.
The British Council have made available a schools education pack titled Football Remembers, which focuses on the games of football played in No Man’s Land in the context of the Christmas truce.
The British Council’s report on the First World War published on February 2014, presents findings from an international survey in seven countries (Egypt, France, Germany, India, Turkey, Russia and the UK) carried out by YouGov. It explores people’s perceptions and knowledge about the First World War and highlights the truly global nature of the conflict and its lasting legacy. The report also identifies that international perceptions of the UK today are, in part, still influenced by Britain’s role in the First World War.
Lesser-known facts about the global scale of the war, highlighted in the report, include:
• Gandhi’s first civil disobedience campaign against British authority in 1919 stemmed from the unrealised hope that India’s contribution to the First World War of around 1.5 million men would be honoured with a transition to self-government.
• More than one million African auxiliary personnel were – sometimes forcibly – deployed in the war. About 100,000 died.
However, these facts are much better-known in the countries affected, and can contribute significantly to attitudes to the UK today. The research for the report was carried out for the British Council by YouGov in Egypt, France, Germany, India, Russia, Turkey and the UK. In each country, between 1000 and 1200 people were surveyed in an online poll.
Some of the results from Germany are:
- 25% overall rate the First World War as one of their top three most important international events of the past 100 years.
- The younger age groups have higher percentages of respondents who attribute top three significance to the First World War: 28% in the 18-24 group and 34% in the 25-34 group compared to 22% in the 35+ section of the population.
- 30% overall know that what happened in Belgium at Christmas 1914 was an unofficial truce between German and British soldiers, which involved a football match.
- 69% overall know that the location of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which sparked the First World War, took place in Sarajevo.
- The younger age groups are less well-informed about this than the older ones (18-34 section: 56% versus 35-54 section: 66% versus 55+ section: 79%).
- There is also a striking gender gap in knowledge about India having fought against Germany: 32% of male respondents knew this while only half this percentage of female respondents did. A similar gender gap can be observed regarding Turkey fighting on the same side as Germany: 40% of male respondents identified this compared to 21% of female ones.
- 65% overall feel that Germany is still affected by the consequences of the First World War.
- 25% overall feel that ‘The First World War and its outcomes have a lasting impact on my country’s international relations and how it is viewed by other countries today’, with the youngest age group coming out as the top percentage (35%), followed by the oldest group with 27%.
Ten most frequent associations of German respondents to the survey:
Death / Gas / Battle of Verdun /Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand / Treaty of Versailles / Abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II / Hitler / Destruction / Poverty / 1914-1918
(Taken from: http://www.britishcouncil.de/en/100yearsWW1)