World War 1 Re-enactment
A re-enactment of villagers going off to war in 1914 will be the highlight of a weekend of events to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War on 1 – 4 August.
A grant from Seaton Phoenix will enable commemorative mugs to be given to children from the village who attend the primary school and playgroup. An exhibition will be held in the Congregational Hall, Beer from Friday 1 – Monday, 4 August featuring research into men from Beer who served in all the armed forces during World War I, and those who served as merchant seamen. These include men who served in France, Belgium, Italy, East Africa, Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), the Mediterranean, the Dardanelles, the South Atlantic, the North Sea and the Indian Ocean. Photos and a diary which have been lent to the project have added extra detail to the research. Two historians from London’s Imperial War Museum will give lectures in the Mariners Hall on Saturday, 2 August.
Peter Hart, author of many books on World War I, is the museum’s oral historian, and will give a presentation on the Battle of Jutland, in which four men from Beer were killed. Alan Wakefield , a curator in the museum’s photographic collection, and will lecture on the Zeebrugge Raid in 1918, after which a submariner from Beer (who survived the war) was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal.
The highlight of the weekend will see a re-enactment of events which occurred in Beer exactly 100 years before, when the Royal Naval Reservists from the village were called up and marched along the main street, led by the village band. This time, the Ottery St Mary Silver Band will lead the way, and members of the original families will take part, representing their ancestors who marched away in 1914. After the parade, the Ottery St Mary band will stage a concert in the open air, or in the Mariners Hall if the weather is poor.
Further details are available from Richard Scott on 01297 24157 or Peter Anderson on 01297 23507.
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