National commemorations for the Centenary of the First World War begin on the 4th August this year. As the Diocese is part of the Imperial War Museums 1914 partnership, we are keen to support churches and communities in their preparations for this landmark event.
You can read here the Bishop of Dover’s invitation for all parishes to be involved. If you would like further support with your centenary commemorations, or would like to share your event, please contact Communities and Partnerships on 01227 459 401 or email email@example.com
Please browse the following links for useful webpages, forums and articles regarding the First World War and the centenary.
- www.1914.org – The official website for the Imperial War Museums Centenary project.
- www.bbc.co.uk/ww1 – The BBC’s coverage of the First World War Centenary.
- www.canterbury-cathedral.org/history/archives – Canterbury Cathedral Archives which has a variety of material relating to the First World War in east Kent, including the construction of war memorials, parish magazines and letters.
- https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/first-world-war-centenary – Website detailing all the government’s plans and initiatives around the centenary.
- http://fwwkentmedway.wordpress.com – Blog and information portal for all events taking place in Kent and Medway around the First World War. Sign up to receive regular bulletins and to share information and details of your own events.
- http://www.swale.gov.uk/centenary-ww1 – Swale council’s website detailing their initiatives surrounding the commemorations
- www.greatwar.co.uk – An overview of the First World War battlefields on the Western Front; where they are and what you can see there today
- www.warmemorials.org.uk – The War Memorials Trust works for the protection and conservation of war memorials in the UK as well as providing grants.
- www.warmemorialsonline.org – War Memorials Online is a major project allowing the public to upload images of war memorials and log concerns about their conservation.
- www.cwgc.org – The Commonwealth War Graves Commission – discover where those on your War Memorials are buried overseas
- www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/looking-for-person/conscientiousobjectors.htm – The National Archives guidance on how to trace Conscientious Objectors local to your parish
- www.hlf.org.uk/FirstWorldWar/default.aspx – Heritage Lottery Fund. Information on grants available for projects focussing on the First World War
- www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding/grants-arts – The Arts Council England are offering grants for First World War arts projects through their regular, Grants for the Arts funding programme
- Kent & Medway Timeline – A fantastic scrollable timeline of all the events relating to Kent in the First World War. It is being compiled by a Time2Give volunteer at the Kent History & Library Centre, Maidstone.
- Bible Society – Fantastic microsite from the Bible Society which traces the history of the Bible and the First World War through personal stories, diaries, records and artefacts that have been passed down over the past 100 years.
- http://www.stepshort.co.uk – Folkestone-based Step Short Project. More than 10 million men left Folkestone between 1914 and 1918, on their way to or from the Western Front. The Step Short project wants to bring to life the part that Folkestone played in the Great War
- www.visitkent.co.uk/pdfs/frontline-kent.pdf – Visit Kent’s tour of Kent encompassing places of Interest relating to the First and Second World Wars
- www.britishlegion.org.uk/remembrance/ww1-centenary/centenary-poppy-campaign – Royal British Legion Poppy Campaign. The public and local authorities are being encouraged to purchase Flanders Poppy Seeds, available in all B&Q stores, as a visible and colourful reminder of the sacrifice made by all those in the First World War. They cost £2 a pack, with £1 going towards the work of the Royal British Legion
- http://www.doverwarmemorialproject.org.uk/ – The Dover War Memorial Project – A virtual war memorial run by volunteers. The Project began on Remembrance Sunday, 2005, to honour all those lost from the front-line town of Dover and introduces those people who were lost, as remembered by those who knew them
- http://fwwkentmedway.wordpress.com – First World War Kent and Medway Forum, blog and information portal for all events taking place in Kent and Medway around the First World War. Sign up to receive regular bulletins and to share information and details of your own events
- http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?action=register – Kent History Forum. An online community formed to learn and share information on the county’s extensive history. In the Home menu you will see a section for Kent Life During the Great War. You will need to register in order to post to the forum
Books, Liturgy and Free Guides
- Greater Love – As part of HOPE’s focus on 2014 as a year of mission, they have prepared resources to help churches to mark the centenary of World War 1 at the heart of local communities. Download a free 16-page guide for local churches commemorating the centenary of World War One
- Assemblies Website – The Assemblies Website has begun posting school assemblies reflecting on the war. Targeted at secondary schools, they are free and will be posted once a month from now until August.
- Hear my Prayer – The Bible Society has produced an illustrated collection of psalms, poems and personal stories to aid reflection about the War. Adaptable to different circumstances, Hear My Cry also contains hymns and prayers and will be suitable for religious and civic ceremonies as well as for individual, personal use. The cost is £3.99.
A significant way you can contribute to the centenary commemorations is by researching your war memorial.
A study carried out by Imperial War Museums suggests that while there is a general lack of knowledge and understanding of the First World War, many people would be keen to find out about their families’ connection to the war and their experiences.
You could help prepare for this interest by uncovering the life stories of some of those in your parishes whose names are on the war memorials in your churchyards.
The Canterbury Cathedral Archives has records relating to the construction of most of the war memorials in the Diocese.
If you wish to clean or repair your memorial, recut or repaint lettering, add names, or generally improve its setting and appearance, applications should be sent initially to the Diocesan Advisory Secretary (DAC), Ian Dodd with a photograph(s) of the memorial and a short summary of the proposed works.
In order to deal quickly with applications, a sub-committee has been set up under the chairmanship of Deputy DAC Chairman Leslie Smith to deal with cases.
Here are some examples of work which has already been carried out by some parishes regarding their war memorials:
- St. Mary’s Church, Chilham have made their memorial a focal point of their community. Part of an ongoing project over many years, initiatives they have undertaken include; compiling a history of all the men whose names appear on their memorial, and enabling community and family remembrance through regular trips to war graves and other war memorials. They aspire to provide a plaque to those currently living in homes where men who died in one of the World Wars, once lived, so it can be displayed in the homes and act as permanent reminder of the sacrifice made by a previous resident.
- The website for the Benefice of Bridge, Bekesbourne, Patrixbourne, Lower Hardres and Nackington links to extensive work carried out by local historian Mark Joplin, who has researched every name on the war memorials in their five churches: visit www.bridgechurch.co.uk/WarMemorials.asp
- Coldred: The church in the small village of Coldred has produced a Remembrance Board. It pinpoints on a map, the places where those named on their war memorial once lived, and includes some information about them. During Remembrance, it is placed in the local pub, with the idea being that it is located in the centre of the wider community and gives people the opportunity to read, remember, and discover the impact of the war on their neighbourhood.
- St. Mary’s, Great Chart are renovating their war memorial to include the names of five local men killed in action, who do not currently appear on their memorial. They will host an exhibition and services in the church and hall on the 3rd and 4th August. They’ve also a unique collection of letters from the First World War which will be on display at a special exhibition at Godinton House, Ashford during 2014. firstname.lastname@example.org
- All Saints Church, Petham have compiled a valuable resource which brings to light the human stories behind the names on their own memorial. Their work inspired an evening of music and readings, and now forms a permanent exhibition in the church.
Other useful links
- www.ukniwm.org.uk – The IWM’s War Memorials Archive (formerly UK National Inventory of War Memorials). A searchable online database of war memorials located throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. The project is working to compile a comprehensive record of all war memorials in the UK to promote their appreciation, use and preservation.
- www.warmemorials.org – War Memorials Trust. War Memorials Trust works for the protection and conservation of war memorials in the UK. They provide advice and information to anyone, as well as running grant schemes for the repair and conservation of war memorials.
- www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk – War Memorials Online. Run by the War Memorials Trust, this is an online resource allowing you to search for information on war memorials and upload information and pictures too.