MONTHS of events to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War are set to swing into action in the coming weeks.
On August 4 – the day the war officially broke out 100 years ago – the Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, Councillor Roger Gardiner, will hold a civic service from 7pm at St Michael’s Church, in Church Square, to honour the people who fought in the four-year conflict.
Cllr Gardiner told The Gazette: “It is going to be a day of national remembrance when you consider the sacrifice that has been made.
“I do think back about the people who went to fight, and the gratitude we owe them, and the sorrow for the loss because a complete generation was nearly wiped out. The service will concentrate minds for a day, and hopefully we will get a good turnout.”
On the same day, Hampshire County Council chairman Councillor Colin Davidovitz will be hosting a free exhibition between 10am and 5pm at the Great Hall, in Winchester, to showcase historical materials from the county council to mark the centenary.
In the afternoon, an 18-pound First World War field gun, which is on loan from the Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson, in Fareham, will arrive outside the Great Hall accompanied by costumed members of Ubique – Right of the Line, a living history re-enactment group.
At 4pm, the gun will be joined by a J Type Thornycroft lorry, which was used in the military, from the county council’s arts and museums service collection.
Key exhibitions taking place across Basingstoke include an Artists Rifles exhibition at The Willis Museum between July 5 and September 27, the Soldiers’ Journey exhibition at Milestones Museum between August 5 and January 11, 2015, and an exhibition called The Great War: Remembrance Silk, at Whitchurch Silk Mill, where staff have designed a remembrance silk to mark the centenary, will run between September 2 and October 26.
In addition, a Trench Coat – from field to fashion exhibition dedicated to the Burberry trench coat, which originated from Basingstoke, will take place at Winchester Discovery Centre between October 4 and December 27.