Towcester groups join forces to mark the First World War

Adaptation of Lord Kitchener poster advertising a competition in Towcester marking the First World War
Adaptation of Lord Kitchener poster advertising a competition in Towcester marking the First World War

Several Towcester-based groups have launched a programme of events to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

The programme was launched at Towcester Library on Wednesday this week.

Events, which will be held throughout the year, will include concerts, lectures, poetry readings and exhibitions.

There is also a competition for both adults and under 16s to produce a biography of a local person involved in, or affected by the First World War.

The competition is based on research of the district’s rolls of honour and war memorials. The prizes are £100 in Waitrose vouchers for the adult winner, and three £25 vouchers for winners of the under 16 category.

Sessions will be held at Towcester Library on February 26, from 2pm until 4pm and on March 19 from 10am until noon to provide help with entering the competition and researching people affected by the conflict.

Organising group chairman, John Morris, from Towcester & District Local History Society, said: “We are asking people to research names on the lists and discover as much information as possible before writing their articles.

“We are well aware that similar research is being carried out in the villages around the town and entries will be welcomed from all of those villages. In the same way we hope the village groups will supply items to add to the planned exhibitions – mainly for display at Towcester Library. This was a terrible conflict involving a great many local people, many of whose descendants are still living the area.

“I am delighted so many local organisations are combining and we hope this will include the Waitrose Volunteers to help with a special project planned for later in the year.

“Before Towcester Cinema opened in 1939 films were shown regularly at the Town Hall. The plan is to stage a special themed film night with the screening of a film related to the First War.

“On the eve of Remembrance Sunday, on Saturday November 8, Towcester Choral Society and Towcester Studio Band have agreed to present a concert of music relating to the WWI period. With this, and for all events where there is a charge, profits will

be donated to charity.

“While so many local men took part in the action the Home Front remained vital and on Thursday September 25 local historian Brian Giggins will give a talk in Towcester Library about life in Towcester during the war. Again this could be repeated if there is enough interest.

“We hope to involve as many of the schools in the area as possible and a number have already shown interest. This is an exciting project and an excellent chance for the whole community to combine to heighten awareness of events from 1914-18, and their consequences.”

The Royal British Legion branches from both Towcester and Greens Norton are involved with the programme and WWI themed exhibitions are planned at the Legion clubhouse in Greens Norton based on a family history of someone on the village’s Roll of Honour. This will include an insight into WWI food, recreations, costumes and beer.

The Towcester Roll of Honour lists are at the library.