Moreton-in-Marsh Business Association is to organize “Heroes of Moreton: We Remember Them” (www.heroesofmoreton.com) to commemorate the Moreton-in-Marsh and Batsford Men who fell in the Great War (1914-1918). The tribute will coincide with the annual Moreton Art Weeks (www.moretonarts.com) celebration and will be a part of the nationwide events being organized in 2014 to mark the start of the First World War (www.1914.org).
Heroes of Moreton: We Remember Them will take place between 12th and 25th July, and will celebrate the lives of those on the Roll of Honour on the Moreton-in-Marsh & Batsford War Memorial in the centre of the North Cotswolds town. Building on work completed by local authors Ken Fowler and the late Guy Stapleton, the Moreton-in-Marsh Business Association, assisted by local graphic designer Adam Wood, the Moreton-in-Marsh & District Local History Society and local branches of U3A, is putting together a fascinating exhibition, together with a range of talks, poetry readings and musical evenings, aided by funding from Cotswold District Council, provided by Councillor Robert Dutton.
Kit Havelock-Davies, Chairman of the Moreton-in-Marsh Business Association and the main organizer of Heroes of Moreton: We Remember Them, said, “We are delighted to be able to recognize the huge sacrifice made by these local men. The main exhibition in the Redesdale Hall will reunite them, in spirit at least, and honour their astonishing dedication and devotion to their country.”
The Moreton-in-Marsh Business Association has already accrued an amazing collection of over 50 items for the exhibition, including 35 portraits of the men named, a uniform and officer's cap belonging to local regiments, cap badges, a soldier’s trench bible, diaries and maps of the Gloucester and Worcestershire Regiments, silk cigarette cards, WW1 postcards, recruitment posters, issues of the Illustrated War News and German barbed wire with British wire cutters found on the Western Front.
On the first day of the exhibition (Saturday 12th July), Sarah Campbell of Kendall & Davies Solicitors in Moreton-in-Marsh will present "Some Corner of a Foreign Field”: a Reading of War Poetry combined with Stories from the War Memorial. Works by War Poets, such as Wilfred Owen, Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon and the Gloucester-born Ivor Gurney, will be recited, alongside extracts and anecdotes from a series of postcards written from the front line and excerpts from War Diaries relevant to the battles in which Moreton men served.
On Saturday 19th July, between 7pm and 8pm, vintage singer Fiona Harrison will give a performance titled “Pack up your Troubles : Popular Music Hall Songs from WWI” in the Redesdale Hall, in the evocative setting of the exhibition.
On Thursday 24th July from 2pm to 5pm, social and military historian Neil R Storey, who has written over 25 books, many of them about the Great War and including Military Photographs and How to Date Them, as well as being a regular columnist in Family Tree magazine and one of the experts in the new series of the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? will host a session titled “Unlock the Secrets of your Family Military Photographs”, at which members of the public will be invited to bring their family mementoes, such as military photographs, medals and memorabilia, so that Neil can provide an insight into their origin and links.
The following day, on Friday 25th July, Neil will return to the Redesdale Hall to give a talk entitled “Fallen: The Lost Generation of the First World War”. As Neil points out, “The living voices of all those who served in the First World War are now silent. It is up to us to keep their memory and the legacies they left for us alive." His latest book The Tommy’s Handbook will be published in July 2014 and it is hoped that advance copies will be available during the exhibition.
Tickets for all the events listed above will be available in advance from the website www.heroesofmoreton.com.