Today, Cheltenham Civic Society has received a National Lottery grant of £9800 for a First World War memorials project in Cheltenham. Awarded through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War then and now programme, the project will focus on conserving 23 wooden battlefield crosses currently located in Bouncers Lane Cemetery.
Click here to view the slideshow exhibited at this year’s Prestbury Village WW1 Fete. Learn more about how the village was affected by the war both on the ‘front lines’ and the home front. (Unfortunately we don’t have permission to add the soundtrack and animations to the internet, but there will be another opportunity to view the film at the Gloucestershire & Racing Remembers event in November 2018). Research and presentation by Rebecca Sillence.
A new WW1 exhibition at the Holst Birthplace Museum was opened by the Mayor of Cheltenham on Friday. The exhibition focuses on the time composer Gustav Holst spent travelling around Salonika and Constantinople with the Y.M.C.A. teaching music to soldiers in Greece and Turkey.
You can see original letters and diary entries written by Holst, experience a recreated Y.M.C.A. hut and see the piano at which he composed The Planet Suite during 1914-16. There are also slideshows and video footage which will bring to life the stories as you explore. Visit holstmuseum.org.uk for more information about their programme of centenary events.
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.” – Robert Laurence Binyon, 1914
11th November 1918 is a date that has gone down in history; marking the cessation of fighting and leading to the end of the First World War. The Armistice agreement was signed at Compiègne in Northern France, between the Allied forces and Germany. When the fighting was over many British troops began to be bought home to be reunited with their loved ones. The walk home from Cheltenham railway station marked the transition back into civilian life for many returning servicemen. For others it would be several months or even years before they were demobilised and allowed to return home.
In order to commemorate the lives lost during the 1914-1918 war, Cheltenham Town Council commissioned Messrs R L Boulton & Sons to create a memorial that would enable the people of Cheltenham to remember the bravery of the 1284 Cheltonian men that gave their lives for their country.
Marking the 100 years since the end of World War One, residents and visitors will see ‘Listening Stations’ popping up around the town as part of the Cheltenham Remembers project. https://thelisteningstationcheltenham.tumblr.com.
A year-long arts programme of community engagement is focusing on the significance of World War One. As part of this the ‘Listening Stations’ are being created throughout June and July and are situated at locations including The Wilson, Leisure Centre, Cheltenham Library, The Town Hall and Hester’s Way Community Centre.
These photos were taken at the re-dedication ceremony for St Peter’s war memorial, following resent repair and conservation work. During the ceremony music by local composer local Gustav Holst was performed by Gardeners Lane School and the Big Local Gas Green choir in partnership with the Holst Birthplace Museum. Crosses with poppies were planted and there were also displays and images of some of the soldiers who are listed on the memorial.
This year sees the return of Cheltenham’s official World War I memorial painting by Fred Roe RI to The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum. This offers the first opportunity to see the painting in Cheltenham for many decades. The artwork features five Cheltenham men and is accompanied by a display and booklet telling the story behind the painting. This project was initiated and created by Neela Mann (pictured) of the Cheltenham Local History Society in partnership with the Wilson and forms part of a wider exhibition at the Wilson, entitled ‘At Last Fighting is Over’; The end of the First World War on the Front and in Cheltenham.
The Battle of Jutland started 31 May 1916 and ended on 1 June 1916. It’s considered to be the only major naval battle of World War 1. The British Navy lost more men and ships, but the verdict was that the German Navy lost and was never in a position again to put to sea during the war.
6,094 British men were lost, including 12 Cheltonians who were on board HMS Lion, HMS Indefatigable (pictured), HMS Fortune, HMS Queen Mary, HMS Defense and HMS Invincible.
Prestbury Village Fayre took place on Saturday 16th June. As well as the fun traditional activities and stalls in the Burgage and Scout Field their were also poignant reminders of the impact the First World War had on the local community. The Mayor of Cheltenham observed as the last post was played in the Burgage and a standard was lowered. There was also an exhibition, floral arrangement and slideshow at St Mary’s Church telling the story of Prestbury during and after the war and remembering the sacrifices made by the whole community.
Visit our Band of Brothers page to view the original Cheltenham Roll of Honour from 1921. You can also view images of each panel to read the names of servicemen and women (including 6 additional names added in 2016 during recent conservation and repair work).