On July 1st I attended Stockport’s commemoration of the centenary of the beginning of the battle of the Somme one hundred years ago. The battle went on for 141 days, not ending until 18th November 1916, with catastrophic loss of life.
I am interested in the many ways, for example through family histories, that we can remember the impact of the First World War one hundred years on. I think it is particularly important for young people to get involved in First World War projects and I am pleased to hear that funding is available for youth groups, residents associations, faith groups and others through a programme called First World War; then and now.
I have also been contacted recently about the First World War Memorials programme, which aims to inspire local communities across the country to survey and conserve their local war memorials. We have many “village” memorials to the fallen of the First World War in Stockport, including Heaton Mersey and Heaton Moor, as well as the main memorial at Stockport Art Gallery.
The national charity Civic Voice has embarked on a survey of all the local war memorials in Greater Manchester – about 2,000 in all. Civic Voice is offering training workshops for volunteers who would like to get involved in recording the condition of local war memorials, so that if necessary they can be repaired as a fitting tribute to the fallen soldiers.
Civic Voice is offering volunteers a practical way to help protect our war memorials for future generations, so if you are interested you can find out more please phone 0151 707 4319.
This week one hundred years ago saw the start of the First World War – the beginning of four long years of futile suffering and the slaughter of millions of young men across Europe. This “war to end all wars” bred the conditions for the Third Reich and another world war which saw genocide on an unimaginable scale.
It is tragic to realise, when we are commemorating the outbreak of the First World War, that war is happening now, all over the world, for example in Ukraine and in Israel/Palestine.