Events mark 100 years since outbreak of First World War

Easton-on-the-Hill residents  Michelle Baker, Ted Ford, Pat Firth, David Harrison, Harold Gregory and Jim Mason at the war memorial in the village. EMN-140722-122156001
Easton-on-the-Hill residents Michelle Baker, Ted Ford, Pat Firth, David Harrison, Harold Gregory and Jim Mason at the war memorial in the village. EMN-140722-122156001
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It’s just a few days until the 100th anniversary of the start of the conflict that engulfed a continent and led to the death of millions of people.

The First World War began when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914. Britain joined the conflict days later, when it declared war on Germany on August 4.

Communities across the area have spent weeks researching their own involvement in the war. And this week a range of commemorative events will be held to remember those who fought and lost their lives.

In Stamford a festival of commemoration will take place in Broad Street. From 4pm families are invited to watch a procession led by the Peterborough Highland Pipe Band, and re-enactment of recruiting, songs from the Stamford Joint Schools choir, a reading of the announcement of War in 1914 by Mayor of Stamford Clem Walden and lighting of candles on the war memorial.

There will then be a series of demonstrations of life in 1914, including food provided by the Pickled Village and songs from the war era.

The evening will feature more adult-oriented performances, including a selection of verse recited by Stamford’s poet laureate and Tommy’s monologue by Jed Jaggard of Up An’ At ‘Em History.

The candles on the war memorial will then be extinguished as part of the Royal British Legion’s Lights Out initiative.

In Easton-on-the-Hill residents have been busy looking into the names on their own war memorial. Among the men who went to war were brothers Harry, Horace and Albert Curtis, all three of whom were killed in action.

All three were Stamford School pupils. A report in school magazine The Stamfordian after their deaths said: “England can ill afford to lose many like the Curtis’s of Easton.”

The village will hold a day of commemoration on August 2. Stamford Brass will open proceedings at the war memorial at 10.15am and there will be a series of events and exhibitions throughout the village, including a display of artefacts in the village hall and vintage vehicles in the streets.

Pat Firth, of the Easton-on-the-Hill committee, said: “It was exciting to find photographs as well as stories of these men. Our exhibition in Easton village hall will focus on these stories as well as an interactive display of First World War memorabilia.

“The idea is to bring home what life might have been like in Easton during those troubled times.”

Uppingham’s commemoration day will be held on August 4.

People will be able to visit an exhibition in the church of St Peter and St Paul, the town hall will open from 9.30pm and High Street will be darkened for the Lights Out initiative.

Tickets are also on sale for a meal and visual presentation on the Battle of the Somme at the Falcon Hotel from 7.30pm. Call 01572 495050 or speak to the hotel reception.

An exhibition of photographs, war records and memorabilia will be on display on August 2 and 3 in St Faith’s church, Wilsthorpe.

All 23 soldiers represented are either from Wilsthorpe or ancestors of Wilsthorpe residents. The display will include a comprehensive diary written by Ted Mason, whose son still lives in Wilsthorpe, giving first hand evidence of the war in France with maps showing the locations mentioned in.

The church will be open from 10am to 5pm. Tea and cakes will be served and any donations will be shared between The Royal British and the church.

And a two-week display will open in Barnack Church on July 28, to show the effect of the war on Barnack, Pilsgate and Southorpe through the experiences of men who served in the conflict.