You will remember that 4 years ago in 2014 we commemorated the beginning of the Great War 100 years ago! Well, four years on we were here again commemorating the end of WW1.
We were planning from September 2017 so a good year to organise the exhibition and concert, collect information and do our research.
We also joined in helping to organise and plan events in Tenbury town, including around shops, St Mary’s Church and graveyard, the British Legion concert at the Regal and the parade/march on 11th November. These meetings began at Roy Winton’s house not long before he left Tenbury for Cheshire. We continued these meetings through the months leading up to the commemorations at The Fountain.
Our preparations for St Michaels involved so many people, both individuals and groups and made such a sincere and poignant time. All over our land whether young or old we came together to remember our forefathers, those who in every family gave their lives so that we could be here today! You would be amazed how passionate and enthusiastic the community of St Michaels and surroundings have been.
We had a fantastic exhibition in St Michaels church with 30 displays This filled the church and brought many people from all parts of the world to visit, some people returning for more visits. The actual creating of the exhibition took a good ten days – the exhibition open daily for 4 weeks, manned on a rota by many different volunteers. The exhibition was quite different from 4 years ago in that we remembered those of you who returned, sadly only three. We remembered the 21 who set off from this part of the world, 14 from the College and 7 from the local area. We looked at rationing held during the later times of the war, the work of the women who held the Home Front together as well as run a munitions factory nearby in Hereford and their sufferings.
Kyrewood House and other large houses became convalescent places and hospitals for so many of you suffering injuries. We looked at the suffragette movement, the land girls, poetry and letters you sent back. So many peace treaties were developing, the RAF movement was beginning, aircraft in general added to travel and communication. Warrior the great horse who returned was amongst us and true stories of his existence before retuning the spend the rest of his days on the Isle of Wight.
Poppies and doves were in abundance – the theme of Remembrance and peace very much in attendance. A wonderful installation of doves made from poems and letters from yourselves hung down making a lasting impact on all our minds.
A poetry workshop was held in October and many poems written here were used in the exhibition. Also a poetry/musical evening was held in November in a rather cold church with some excellent poets reading their pieces. The Library Choir come along also and gave a wonderful performance of war songs.
We held 2 concerts on 9th/10th November in your memory. There was music, words, poetry, reading about local history and world events of 1918. All this led to the end moments of this great war. The King’s speech, the signing of the Armistice and the coming home for so few. We told of the home front, the suffragettes, the hard times you came back to and the struggle to survive. Tenbury High School students had been involved in a short but excellent drama of War Horse – it was much appreciated and added some very special messages. We also had a wonderful team of technical lads providing light and sound which created the atmosphere it deserved. The final part of the concert involved audience participation with the singing of Jerusalem, Land of Hope and Glory and others.
The next day was 11th November – along with the nation, a very special Armistice service of Remembrance was held following 2 minutes silence in the bright sunshine at the memorial stone where we laid wreaths for you all and read your names out. A peace lunch was held in the village hall – a great community spirit. We were honoured and proud to have paid a tribute to you in such a poignant way over these last four years. I must admit there have been changes in these last 4 years – we have aged for one thing – but have never forgotten/
We shall always remember and aim to create peace and in the meantime live in hope and love, avoiding conflict and war.
We shall always remember in our small corner, town or city on this island, or anywhere in the world.
Our love and thoughts from all at St Michaels.