TIDWORTH was the venue for the first major event in the area to mark the start of the First World War.
Guests were at the town’s immaculate military cemetery where they took part in the commemoration service and were able to view up close 10,000 memorial crosses produced by schoolchildren to mark every person from the area who died as a result of the conflict.
While for children the First Word War is ancient history it isn’t to others. Ludgershall’s Second World War veteran of the Arctic convoys, 89-year-old Ken Beard, was proud to view the crosses but recalled the suffering of many in the aftermath of the first war with sadness.
“It is a wonderful gesture for the county to have organised this and involved so many schools,” he said. “I can remember many people who had returned to Ludgershall following the Great War and that so many of them were still shell-shocked. I remember one man who never stopped shaking and hardly ever got out of bed.
“Then there was my uncle, George Fuzzard, who had been gassed, his wife, who had been a nurse developed TB and died quite young.”
Tidworth councillor Mark Connolly said: “To have this county event in our town is a great honour for us. The military cemetery is the appropriate place for it as hundreds of World War One dead are buried here.”
Ludgershall councillor Chris Williams has been closely involved in planning the event with Wiltshire County Council and 43 Wessex Brigade. He said: “The wall of remembrance with the 10,000 crosses is particularly poignant. Every school in the county was invited to take part in it and the majority did so.”
Each cross bears the name of one of those who died as a result of the war.
Brigadier Piers Hankinson, who addressed the gathering, said: “It is important that we, as a combined community collectively remember all those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
“I hope that our young people will continue the research from this project and that the memory of those who gave so much will endure,” the brigadier added.