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.
Join us at the Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham for an afternoon of networking and discussions around how Kent & Medway is planning to commemorate the First World War Centenary.
Hear from various organisations and their current plans, including:
ViolaFilms and their recent project, ‘Time Bleeds’, filmed in Folkestone
The National Children’s Football Alliance and the ‘Football & Peace’ project in Maidstone
Screen South’s recently successful HLF application developing the ‘Kent in WW1’ project for coastal Kent
An Arts & Humanities Research Council Co-ordination bid update from the University of Kent
News from the Lieutenancy and the commemorations they are supporting
- An update from HLF on their First World War funding strand
This is a follow-on session from the previous afternoon get-together we held in March. Since then, we have created a Steering Group to lead a co-ordinated approach to the sharing and promotion of information (including the launch of this blog), as well as 3 working groups, who we will hear from on the day.
To book, visit: http://fwwupdate.eventbrite.co.uk/ (PLEASE NOTE: You must represent an organisation who is planning something in commemoration of the FWW – many apologies, but this session is not for general members of the public.)
Violafilms most recent work, Time Bleeds, is a drama/doc lasting 14m 40s created to commemorate the First World War and to stimulate thought, looking at the central question of ‘What happens if we forget?’
Synopsis: February 2013, a group of people came together with one question in mind “What happens if we forget?” The seaside town of Folkestone, Kent, UK was the gateway to the war for over eight million troops. With the First World War moving out of living memory what does that mean for us? Could anything like it happen again? During this experimental documentary the participants were taken back to World War One through a series of method acting workshops to answer these questions.
Time Bleeds has been made with local young people, mainly from K College in Folkestone, and really has helped them reconnect with their heritage; everything in the film is based on true happenings involving local people. The lack of knowledge regarding the First World War is quite amazing and Debra from Violafilms think it’s because it’s no longer within living memory.
However, working with young people in this way has really helped them understand about the war and its horrors. There are a great many commemorations taking place over the next 4 years via museums and heritage sites, in the main offering a range of exhibitions etc, but nothing that they can find so far, that asks the question ‘What happens if we forget? And ‘Why commemorate World War One?’.
This is the first stage of a longer narrative based piece Violafilms are filming later in the year, subject to funding, and has been attracting quite a bit of attention. Already Turner Contemporary Gallery have asked to screen it in 2013 and screenings have been held at Dover Western Heights. They are also already working with the Royal Engineers Museum in Medway on screenings and an exhibition for 2014, but would be interested in others screening the piece in their own spaces.
The next stage focuses heavily on some of the Belgian refugees, who came to Folkestone and in particular Leon Trulin, who was just 19 when he was shot as a spy in Lille, leading a band known as the ‘glorious teenagers’. His memory is still held dear in Lille with statues and memorials, and is hailed as a true hero. Very different perceptions of course are held of teenagers today and this offers an interesting way of working with this age group.
Feedback so far has been very encouraging, suggesting it should be shown in every secondary school. Violafilms would love to find ways of getting the drama/doc out to a wider audience, so any suggestions you may have would be fantastic.
Went to the premiere of this last night in an unheated disused factory – completely fitting venue for a film that grabs you and chills you with the challenge of its premise. Astonishing performances from local adolescents who, along with the rest of the cast didn’t know how the story was going to unfurl, and whose emotional responses to a war that’s passed from living memory, are achingly poignant. The faces of the youthful firing squad linger in the memory. A great achievement for all concerned. A special mention for the sound and music. And some of the images are so striking – the farewell between mother and son against the backdrop of a red brick wall, the nurses standing like sentinels on a Folkestone beach, and those faces of the firing squad. Stunning!
This really should be shown in all secondary schools as the anniversary of the outbreak of WWI approaches.
Dennis Hurleston on IMDb
Everything about the film, from the dramatic historical sequences, the modern versions of WW1 propaganda posters, the actors reactions during the workshops, the frightening lack of knowledge about the war exhibited by the youngsters during their interviews, to the glimpse of the future where White Feather TV will shame people into to joining up, worked perfectly and definitely answered the question “what happens if we forget?”
The team behind this film are hoping to raise funding for a longer version, and I for one am hoping that they are successful, as I feel that given the resources they will make a film that will become a classic and a worthy memorial to all those who died nearly 100 years ago.
Robert Green MA, BA (Oxon)
Opportunities to engage with Violafilms and young people…
The film is more suited to an older age group of 12+ but offers a great way to engage with a teenage audience which many heritage venues have said they find more difficult to find a way in to. Violafilms can offer a workshop programme involving film but based on WW1 themes. They are experienced in audience development programmes and were commissioned by Creative England, Screen South and the North Sea Screen Partnership to create a model of best practice in developing filmlabs for young people which has been shared internationally and have worked on projects with Rochester Cathedral and most recently UCA and K College, so have an established pedigree in working with young people.