22nd Jul, 2019

Marking 100 years since Peace Day

Rob George 12th Jul, 2019

A COMMEMORATION of the sacrifices made by those killed and injured in the First World War will be held 100 years to the day Britain celebrated the end of the conflict.

Members of the Worcester branch of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regimental Association will gather at the county’s Regimental Stone in Gheluvelt Park next Friday (July 19) for a ceremony.

As well as remembering those in the Worcestershire Regiment who fought in the conflict, the ceremony will also mark the 100th anniversary of Peace Day which was held in the capital on July 19, 1919.

The parade will form at 10.50am before the reading of a citation and the laying of a wreath. A minute’s silence will be held after the Last Post and will come to end to the sounds of Reveille.

All former military personnel are welcome to attend in berets and blazers with their medals.

July 19 was declared a bank holiday in Britain in 1919 by a committee chaired by then Foreign Secretary, Lord Curzon.

Though November 1918 had seen the guns fall silent and an end to fighting on the Western Front, negotiations were to continue at the Paris Peace Conference until 1920.

A peace committee was set up to decide how Britain would publicly mark the end of the war and do justice to the widespread feelings of jubilation.

After the Treaty of Versailles was signed in June 1919, a day of celebration was rubber stamped under the direction of Prime Minister David Lloyd George.

On the morning of July 19, 1919, thousands gathered in London and an estimated 15,000 troops took part in the parade to remember the fallen.

King George V issued a message on the day: “To these, the sick and wounded who cannot take part in the festival of victory, I send out greetings and bid them good cheer, assuring them that the wounds and scars so honourable in themselves, inspire in the hearts of their fellow countrymen the warmest feelings of gratitude and respect.”

A monument to those killed and wounded was unveiled in Whitehall, to mark the end point of the victory parade, soon to be decorated with flower wreaths.

Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens was commissioned by Lloyd George to design the monument and had just two weeks to create a piece befitting of the memory of the fallen.

The temporary wood and plaster construction was replaced by one made from Portland stone in 1920 and The Cenotaph still stands today as the United Kingdom’s official war memorial.

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