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Local projects taking place to mark the centenary of the First World War

(Image: children at Goldies WW1 centenary project launch, copyright: Golden-Oldies Charitable Trust)

There are lots of projects planned in Bath & North East Somerset to mark the 100th anniversary of World War One.  Projects which are keen to involve local people are listed below. To view the full WW1 centenary events calendar use this link.  

Annual poetry events mark World War One Centenary  

'The Unremembered' funding available for 2017 projects commemorating labour forces in WW1 

Passchendaele at Home - grants available for research and commemoration projects until November 2017

Volunteers needed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Can you help find missing war memorial plaques from Bath YMCA and the Good Templars?

Royal United Hospital appeal for memories and stories about Bath War Hospital

Remember WW1 Awards - celebrating the success of Art at the Heart of the RUH

Centenary Field status for Firs Field in Bath

Keynsham and Saltford Book of Remembrance

Display at Midsomer Norton Station

Weston war memorial research project

Bath Songwriters Group

Goldies Primary Schools Project

Annual poetry events marking World War One Centenary 

Some of the finest and most moving poetry ever written dates from the First World War.  A series of annual poetry evenings marking the centenary of each year of the conflict has been organised by Bath & North East Somerset Council in association with Bath Poetry Cafe.  The first event 'Poetry 1914' was held on Armistice Day in 2014 and attracted a large, appreciative audience. 'Poetry 1915: The Darkness and The Thunder and the Rain' and 'Voices 2016: Requiem for the World' were equally well received. The 2017 event will take place in November 2017. Details will be posted on the WW1 Centenary events calendar nearer the time.  

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'The Unremembered' funding available for 2017 projects commemorating labour forces in WW1

The Big Ideas Company are accepting applications for small grants of up to £200 for community group activities taking place up to mid November 2017 that commemorate the part played by labour corps during the First World War.  The scheme is funded with a grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).  Further details and an application form can be found on The Unremembered website.  The application form can be viewed using this The Unremembered Grant Application link.

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Passchendaele at Home - grants available for research and commemoration projects until November 2017

The Big Ideas Company are accepting applications for small grants of up to £200 for community research and commemoration activities taking place up to mid November 2017 concerning soldiers from the Battle of Passchendaele with graves in the UK.  There are at least 11 graves identified in the Bath and North East Somerset area of soldiers who fought in this campaign.  This initiative is about remembering the sacrifice the soldiers made and sharing research with others.  Further details and an application form can be found on the Big Ideas Company website. Please do contact us by email or on 01225 396138 if you are considering setting up a project as we have access to the graves database and research resources for this inititative.

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Volunteers needed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

In 2017 the Commonwealth War Graves Commission marks its 100th anniversary.  The organisation is keen to publicise its work and to promote public awareness and care of the war graves in the UK.  There are 100s in cemeteries in the Bath & North East Somerset area from all of the major conflicts in the last 100 years.  You can search for local graves using on the CWGC website.  If you are interested in finding out about being a volunteer please get in touch with the Community team at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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War memorial plaques from Bath unlocated - do you know where they might be?

Local historian, John Branston, recently tracked down a memorial plaque from the Pitman Press (later The Bath Press) that had been missing for many years.  The plaque is now being housed at the Museum of Bath at Work (read the story in the museum newsletter here).  John's research into local war memorials has revealed that two other memorial plaques from local organisations are also missing.  These are from the Bath YMCA and the Good Templars Bath Branch.  We would love to know where these memorials to men who served in the First World War have gone.  It would be great to track down these memorials - and possibly repatriate them to Bath - before the end of the World War One Centenary in 2018.  Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the plaques can contact John Branston directly or via the Council's WW1 Centenary team.  Please email with any information.  

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Royal United Hospital team appeal for memories and stories about Bath War Hospital

The Royal United Hospital are appealing for local people with family memories or memorabilia relating to Bath War Hospital (which was on the site of the RUH at Combe Park from 1916-1929) to get in touch.  An exhibition, Bath War Hospital: Acts of Kindness, about the community effort which aided the treatment and rehabilitation of soldiers injured in the First World War, was displayed at the Royal United Hospital to mark the centenary of the opening of the War Hospital in 2016.  RUH patients, young and old, and their families were involved in an art project about the War Hospital and the tapestries they produced are now on permanent display in the Hospital.  The team are collecting memories about the War Hospital for a commemorative booklet and Bath War Hospital website.  Anyone who has memories or items to share can contact the Art at the Heart team at the RUH on 01225 824987 or through the Art at the Heart website.

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Remember WW1 awards - congratulations to runners-up, Art at the Heart of the RUH

The not-for-profit campaign 'Remember WW1', which encourages people to volunteer their time and efforts for projects and events which commemorate World War One, launched a national awards scheme at the mid-point of the centenary.  Groups and individuals nominated over 160 projects in five categories.  We offer our congratulations to the team at Art at the Heart of the Royal United Hospital as their 'Acts of Kindness' Bath War Hospital centenary exhibition and art project at the Royal United Hospital was a runner-up in the Arts and Creativity category. Further information can be found on the Remember WW1 website.  A video of the exhibition and art project can be viewed from the Art at the Heart of the Royal United Hospital evaluation web page.

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Centenary Field status granted to Firs Field in Combe Down

At a Cabinet meeting on 9 September 2015, the Council voted to grant 'Centenary Field' status to Firs Field in Combe Down, Bath.  The Council report can be read here.  Centenary Fields is a nationwide initiative co-ordinated by 'Fields in Trust' in association with the Royal British Legion.  The aim of the scheme is for local authorities and landowners to dedicate one recreational space (such as a memorial playing field) as a space to be protected in perpetuity to honour the memory of those who lost their lives in the First World War.  The community in Combe Down arranged an event to mark the Centenary Field status on Saturday 17 September 2016.  The news report can be viewed here

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Keynsham and Saltford Book of Remembrance on display

Visitors to Keynsham Library can view the Book of Remembrance containing the names of the fallen of Keynsham and Saltford from both World Wars.  The book is on permanent display and the pages are regularly turned.  The pages are handwritten and hand bound in leather. Requests can be made to view particular names.  In 2014 the library team were able to show a lady the name of her father recorded in the book.  He had died before she had been born.  It was an emotional moment for them all.  

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World War One display at Midsomer Norton Station

Visitors to the Somerset and Dorset Railway's museum at Midsomer Norton station can view items from the First World War compiled by local historian and author, Chris Howell.  The items form part of a larger display about the history of the branch line.  The opening times and train running times can be viewed on the Somerset and Dorset Railway's website.   

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Weston war memorial research project

Researchers in Weston, Bath, are appealing for information about the families of First World War soldiers listed on the village's war memorial. Stories about the 36 men from the area who lost their lives in the War are emerging but there remain lots of gaps to fill.  Researchers, Kathy Elam and Helen Whitehead, are keen to hear from anyone linked with the families of these heroes.  It is hoped the research can be compiled in a booklet or a display.  The names that Kathy and Helen wish to know more about are listed below.

1. Lt Col A.G. Johnson

2. Capt H.H.Lean

3. Capt V Newman

4. Lieut S. Butler

5. Lieut. R Newman

6. Lieut. E.F.Bond

7. Sgt H. W. Humphris

8. L.Cpl A Pickett

9. Corp. G.E.Bond

10. Air Mech. W.J.Bond (three brothers)

11. Pte. A. Andrews

12. Pte F. Anstey

13. Spr F. Blackmore

14. Pte R. C Bourne

15. Pte. H. Frankham

16. Pte A. Gillard

17. Spr F Gillard

18. Pte A Hawkins

19. Pte. H.C. Higgins

20. Spr W. Hobbs

21. Pte B. Holbrow

22. Bomb. E.C. Humphris

23. Pte G. Kite

24. Pte. A.G.Lewis

25. Pte C. Lewis

26. Pte E. Lewis

27. Dvr W. Lewis (four brothers)

28. Pte T. Marshall

29. Dvr W. Old

30. Pte W. Perry

31. Pte F.P.Pickett

32. Pte A. Richards

33. Rfm H.N. Russell

34. Pte J. Sheppard

35. Pte W. Slee

36. Pte J. Toogood

If you recognise any of these names of WW1 soldiers please email Kathy or phone Helen on 01225 329123.

(information correct as at 4 September 2014)

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Bath Songwriters Group - help create an album of songs inspired by World War One

Bath Songwriters Group (who meet monthly at The Ram, Widcombe) are planning to write and record original songs, inspired by World War One.  The resulting album will be put on sale for charity.  Members of the group write songs of all genres (classical, folk, rock, jazz ...) so we are expecting a wide range of styles and themes.  We offer encouragement and help to anyone who is interested in writing songs, whatever their experience or ability, and we always welcome new members. Contributions for the album might include completed songs or simply ideas, in which case members can collaborate to create the finished song. For more information, please visit the Bath Songwriters Group website: www.bathsongwriters.co.uk or email gary@bathsongwriters.co.uk.

(information correct as at 15 April 2014)

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Goldies Primary Schools Intergenerational World War One Project

News release: World War One  - our heritage in songs and memories

Primary schools across the South West are to be invited to take part in a First World War intergenerational project supported by a £25,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant, it was announced today.

‘World War One - our heritage in songs and memories’ is a project run by the Golden Oldies Charity.  

Schools will be encouraged to put on commemorative days, to open their doors to their local elderly people and to sing along to the tunes that bought communities together during the First World War at home and in the trenches. The project will illustrate that singing brought the nation together 100 years ago and can still be used for that purpose today.

There will be special focus on the song ‘Roses of Picardy’ written by Bath resident Frederick Wetherly. ‘Roses of Picardy’ was the’ number one’ song of the period and was used to help rehabilitate soldiers who returned from the War. 

The project will produce an information pack for schools who wish to engage in the project explaining how to hold 'Heritage Days' and how to engage elderly people from their local communities. A new website will also be created.

Later in the life of the project a major Open Event at Bath Forum in July 2015 will be held which will include a concert involving 700 young people and 300 elderly people and presentations from the Bath School of Dance, a theatre group, 6 Wiltshire primary schools and BANES music service.

Rob Parsons, a Trustee of the Goldies Charity and Head Teacher at Colerne Primary School,  said;

“It is very important for primary children today to have a greater understanding of 1914 and the First World War. Children are naturally inquisitive; always exploring, asking questions and making connections to gain a greater understanding of their lives and the world around them. War is a difficult concept to understand for old and young alike but one thing is clear - it significantly impacts upon our lives, our families, communities and the subsequent future world in which we are to live. The First World War had just that significant impact on so many. 

“Despite the horrors, it clarified values, increased resolve and united millions in the cause of justice and what is true and right. During these troubled years communities worked together like never before, supporting those in need, changing traditional methods and stereotypical roles and giving unconditionally, all for the common good - in other words it shaped the world our young children live in today. “ 

Grenville Jones added:

“We have commissioned an easy to sing medley of First World War songs for schools to sing. Singing together brought communities together 100 years ago at home and in the trenches. The project will hopefully lead onto research into other areas of our wartime history including playground games, currency and the effects the war had on the school’s families at the time.  

It’s important to record, for future generations, the photos, songs, medals and memories that link us with a past that must not be forgotten.”

Explaining the importance of HLF’s support for the project, Nerys Watts, Head of HLF in the South West, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested over £47million in projects – large and small - that are marking this global Centenary. Our support means that local people like those involved in ‘World War One - Our Heritage in Songs and Memories’ will be able to explore the songs, memories, artefacts that make up  the continuing legacy of the conflict and help young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has changed the world they live in today.” 

Schools across the South West will be sent information leaflets, can access information on www.golden-oldies.org.uk or contact Grenville Jones on 01761 472468. 

A video which shows the project launch at Colerne Primary School, attended by Goldies from Wiltshire and Bath, can be viewed here on the Golden Oldies website.

(information correct as at 28 April 2014)

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