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City to commemorate anniversary of end of First World War

Wolverhampton will come together to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War with a series of commemorative events over the coming months.

City to commemorate anniversary of end of First World War
City to commemorate anniversary

The Fallen, the Wolverhampton Civic and Historical Society’s contribution to the Wolves in Wolves trail, will go back on display as part of the commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War
"The Fallen"

The guns fell silent after 4 years of bloody battle with the signing of the Armistice on 11 November, 1918 and the City of Wolverhampton Council is working with partner organisations across the City to commemorate the centenary of this pivotal event in world history.

An extensive programme of activities is currently being developed, and will include a series of themed exhibitions and displays of memorabilia and art at Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Wolverhampton Archives and Local Studies.

Pupils from local schools will be encouraged to make poppies - each one representing a soldier from Wolverhampton who fought in the conflict - and lay them at the Cenotaph during a special ceremony on Friday 9 November. There will also be story, poetry and letter writing competitions, while many schools are expected to plan further First World War themed activities of their own.

Wolverhampton Civic and Historical Society is working with the council to develop a walking map detailing the many war memorials which can be found across the City and the Society's wolf from 2017's Wolves in Wolves trail - The Fallen, which lists the names of those who died in the conflict - will be displayed in the grounds of Wolverhampton Archives and Local Studies' Molineux Hotel. Archivists will also be conducting important research in an attempt to identify any soldiers who may be missing from the City's Roll of Honour.

More than a dozen special First World War metal benches are to be installed at sites around Wolverhampton city centre, Bilston, Wednesfield and Tettenhall, and poppies will be attached to lampposts in key locations around Wolverhampton as the anniversary approaches.

Meanwhile, the council is making preparations to lay commemorative paving stones in honour of Lance Corporal George Onions from Bilston and Lance Corporal Roland Elcock from Wolverhampton who received the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry, for their actions on 22 August and 15 October, 1918 respectively.

The City's libraries will be hosting story and poetry competitions for adults and special storytime sessions for children, and National Libraries Week activities between 9 and 14 October will have a First World War theme.

This year's Armed Forces Day commemorations on Saturday 30 June will focus on the anniversary, while the City of Wolverhampton Council's bonfire at Wolverhampton Racecourse on Saturday 3 November will feature a two-minute silence led by members of the Armed Forces, as well as a themed firework display.

The extensive programme of commemorations concludes on Armistice Day, Sunday 11 November, with the City of Wolverhampton's annual service of remembrance at the cenotaph in St Peter's Square. Prior to the traditional service, a lone piper will support a nationwide initiative by playing Battle's O'er, the traditional Scottish lament played at the end of battle, outside St Peter's Collegiate Church at 6am. Finally, a Beacon of Light will be lit - simultaneously with hundreds of other beacons across the country - at 7pm.

Keith Ireland, Managing Director of the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: "The First World War touched every city, town and village in Britain; millions of people served in the conflict and tragically almost 1.1 million British and Empire servicemen and women gave their lives so that future generations could live theirs.

"We have a duty to educate today's generation about what the country went through, and it is important that as a City we remember this terrible conflict and the sacrifices that were made a century ago.

"We and our partners will be organising and supporting an extensive programme of events and activities and we hope as many people as possible will get involved."

More details of the commemoration programme will be announced in due course, while the City of Wolverhampton Council is developing a dedicated website which will detail events taking place across the City to mark the 100th anniversary, and enable organisations and individuals to share what they will be doing to commemorate the end of the First World War.

Businesses and organisations around Wolverhampton are being invited to support the Royal British Legion's Silent Soldier initiative by sponsoring and displaying metal silhouettes representing soldiers returning home from war - for details, please contact Alison Bates, Community Fundraiser for the Royal British Legion in Wolverhampton and the Black Country, on 07920 806092 or by emailing abates@britishlegion.org.uk.

Wolverhampton is a signatory of the Armed Forces Community Covenant, a pledge of mutual support between the city and its Armed Forces community. For details, please visit Help for the Armed Forces community.

  • released: Friday 6 April, 2018