Cadets on parade at WW1 Centenary Civic Event, 4 August 2014

Area commemorates the centenary of the start of First World War at civic event

Monday 4 August, 6.00-7.00pm, Bath War Memorial, Royal Victoria Park, Bath

Monday 4th August marked the centenary of the outbreak of World War One. To commemorate this day, Bath & North East Somerset Council held a civic event at Bath's War Memorial to remember the impact the conflict had on local people and to honour the memory of those who lost their lives.

The event opened with a parade led by Major Roger Evans of local army, sea and air cadets with standard bearers.  Following two minutes' silence wreaths were laid by the Mayor of Bath, Councillor Cherry Beath, and Chairman of Bath & North East Somerset Council, Councillor Martin Veal, who also gave readings.

Major Rikki Peters, MBE, representing the Royal British Legion, spoke of the suffering of those who served in the Armed Forces and their families, and reminded us of the human cost of war and the need to actively work for peace.

90-year old former nurse, Heather Mackay, read out a letter written by Kathleen Ainsworth, a nurse at Bath War Hospital in 1916. Kathleen's letters home describe the patients she cared for at the hospital, who arrived in Bath direct from the horrors of the trenches. They also give an insight into the workload faced by the hospital workers and the lack of space at the Combe Park-based hospital available to treat ever increasing numbers of injured soldiers arriving in convoys from the battlefields. Heather Mackay, who read the moving account, has first hand experience of nursing in a time of conflict, having worked during the Second World War.  She had, herself, been inspired to take up nursing by the example of her aunt who nursed during the First World War at an all-women hospital near Paris. You can read more about Heather's experiences by following this link.   

The crowd of around 350 who attended the commemorative event also got to hear four new poems, read and introduced by poet and writer Sara-Jane Arbury, which were composed especially for the evening by young children Sara-Jane worked with at Snapdragons Weston Holiday Club.  The four new poems can be read by clicking on this link.

Throughout the event music was provided by Bath Spa Band, and by members of choirs from the Bath area directed by Grenville Jones. Those gathered were invited to join the choir in the singing of a World War One medley commissioned by Grenville Jones to mark the centenary including the popular songs 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary', 'Keep the Home Fires Burning' and 'Pack up your Troubles'.

Reports and images of the event from local media can be viewed using these Bath Chronicle and Total Guide to Bath links. 

View the civic event leaflet using this link.

View the civic event poster using this link.

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