What do you think of the new Sainsbury’s Christmas advert?

This year’s Christmas ad from Sainsbury’s is made in partnership with The Royal British Legion, and commemorates the extraordinary events of Christmas Day, 1914, when the guns fell silent and two armies met in no-man’s land, sharing gifts – and even playing football together.

The chocolate bar featured in the ad is on sale now at Sainsbury’s. All profits (50p per bar) will go to The Royal British Legion and will benefit our armed forces and their families, past and present.

To watch a short film of the story behind the ad here: http://youtu.be/2s1YvnfcFVs and watch the making of the ad here: http://youtu.be/Jx3pQWbysmM

To find out more about the ad: www.inspiration.sainsburys-live-well-for­-less.co.uk/about-our-christmas-tv-ad/


Great discussions had at the Imperial War Museum’s FWW ‘Lessons Learned’ Partnership Meeting

FWW_Centenary__Led_By_IWM_Red rgbOn the 23rd October 2014 IWM led a Partnership meeting at Chatham Historic Dockyard for members in the South East.

Presenters and participants were encouraged to critically reflect on their First World War Centenary projects so far and look forward into 2015 and beyond; pondering on things they would have changed with project or would have done differently, and discussing how projects are being evaluated.  Participants shared what they felt were their biggest challenges but also reflected on what their most successful outcomes or aspects of the project have been.

The key findings taken from the meeting can be downloaded by 1914 Partnership members through logging into the Centenary Partnership Programme website.

‘All Together Now’ by Peace Collective played at Wembley (money raised goes to The Shorncliffe Trust)


Twice a top five hit for The Farm in 1990 and in 2004, ‘All Together Now’ has been re-recorded by a host of music stars to mark the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Day Truce during World War One, the events of which inspired the song.  The single received it’s first playing at the Women’s England versus Germany match this weekend at Wembley in front of a sell-out crowd.  Find out who features on the single on The FA website or read more on the BBC website.

All profits from the release on 15 December will go to the British Red Cross and the Shorncliffe Trust in Kent.

The Shorncliffe Trust are also working with UEFA on their Christmas truce memorial at Plug Street, Belgium this December with members of the team setting up the WW1 hospital as part of the visitor experience over the weeke#alltogethernownd before Christmas.

BBC coverage for Sittingbourne Victoria Cross recipient

Col Donald Dean VC - SittingbourneOn 9th November, the Sittingbourne community remembered Col Donald Dean VC.  Col Dean was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1918 for bravery and devotion to duty near Lens in France, and was invested with his Victoria Cross at Buckingham Palace by King George VI in February 1919. He also fought in World War Two and died in Sittingbourne in 1985 at the age of 88.  Continue reading the main BBC story

Col Dean was honoured with a commemorative paving stone which was placed in the Sittingbourne War Memorial area, and a dedication service which took place at 2.30pm on November 9, 2014 as part of Remembrance Sunday commemorations in Sittingbourne Town Centre. Read more on the Swale Borough Council website.

The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen & Families Association (SSAFA) records available to search

ssafaThe Soldiers, Sailors, Air force Association is the national charity providing practical help and assistance to members of our Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

Their new website at http://1914.ssafa.org.uk/ allows users to search through historic annual reports or ‘Flag Book’ from 1914 which tell the story of life on the Home Front at the outbreak of World War One. Each digitised report covers part of SSAFA’s 1914 history.

To find out what happened in your local community you can browse through reports, or take a look at the list of contents below:

Commemorate the WW1 centenary through music with The Last Post project

lastpostSuperact is recruiting community organisations across the UK to take part in The Last Post project this November.

Inspiring people of all ages to come together to explore their First World War heritage, The Last Post project gives communities the chance to remember the impact World War One had on their area and to play   music from the era as a mark of commemoration.

At every event around the country, the Last Post will be played in a variety of styles to remember someone in the community; not just on bugles but on any instrument from pianos and cellos to guitars and drums.

Last Post events this year will take place across the UK from 4th to 18th November 2014 as part of a ‘Last Post fortnight’.

To get involved and organise a Last Post event, community organisations and groups across the country can register for free now on The Last Post website to receive a toolkit, a WW1 songbook, training sessions and cash expenses to cover event costs.

Explaining the importance of the HLF support for the project, Carole Souter, Heritage Lottery Fund Chief Executive stated: “This nationwide project will reach out to new audiences for heritage and help local communities explore and understand their First World War stories in an imaginative way.”

Dr Emma Hanna, of the University of Greenwich, is the Historical Adviser for The Last Post project, providing historical information on the music and memory of the First World War. Dr Hanna is a member of the Gateways to the First World War public engagement centre based at the University of Kent. Gateways has also provided support for The Last Post’s training and information programme, and we are keen to talk to other groups about how we might be able to help with centenary projects. Please contact us at gateways@kent.ac.uk for more information or visit our website.

For more information about The Last Post project visit www.thelastpostproject.org.uk.

Gateways to the First World War – regional schedule of events

GatewaysFWW_logo‘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.

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.

Find out more about the project here.

The Gateways team are running regular events to provide information, support and publicity to First World War commemorative activities.  Take a look at what is planned so far:

Sunday 28th September 2014

Open Day, National Maritime Museum

Tuesday 11th November 2014

‘Well-Remembered Voices’: Symposium & Play Readings, The Marlowe Studio, Canterbury

Friday 12th December 2014

One day symposium on the Christmas Truce at University of Kent (aimed at general informed audience, A Level students, etc.)

2015 Study Days x4

  • UK Military ancestors (Wed 25th Feb 2015) – University of Kent
  • German and Austrian experience of the First World War (Friday 20th March – date tbc) – University of Kent
  • UK non-combatant services (Society of Friends, YMCA, Nurses, Chaplains) (Friday 26th June – date tbc)
  • Home Front (Friday 20th November – date tbc)

Saturday 18th April 2015 (date tbc)

Family Day in association with the Royal Engineers

25th September 2015

Currently planning to develop an event to commemorate the centenary

Summer 2016

Performing the War conference.

Other events that may be of interest:

Thursday 16th October – ‘Catastrophe 1914: incident, error, design or none of the above’, talk by Professor Richard Langhorne University of Kent, Canterbury Campus

Victoria Cross commemorative paving stones – stones being laid today, 23rd August 2014


MP Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary, addresses the crowds in East Grinstead this morning

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

See the full list of Victoria Cross recipients.

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.

How did you commemorate the 4th August 2014?

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.Harry-Folkestone-Arch

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:

  • 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.sassoon
  • 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.

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.



Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda’s spectra, is a column of intense white light that punctuates the London sky from sunset until dawn for seven nights only.

“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.