First World War centenary

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A series of events and activities took place across Daventry District in 2018 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Organisations including Daventry District Council, Daventry Town Council, Futures Housing Group, the Daventry Branch of the Royal British Legion, the Daventry & District Forum and local churches co-ordinated a wide range events in the lead-up to the centenary of the historic armistice of 11 November 1918, which ended four years of fighting.

The events took place within the 100-days leading up to November 11, echoing the Hundred Days Offensive – the Allies’ final push along the Western Front which finally broke the military stalemate.

Events and activities included:

World War One Centenary Exhibition 

This commemorative exhibition at Daventry Museum reflected on the end of World War One and post-war Daventry. The exhibition opened on Saturday 1 September and ran until 14 December. 

Remembrance Day Parade

The Remembrance Day Parade and Service was held in Daventry on Sunday 11 November 2018, hosted by Daventry Town Council in partnership with The Royal British Legion.

The Remembrance Day parade started at 10.30am from St James Infant School, and proceeded along Tavern Lane, the High Street, Abbey Street, before finishing at the War Memorial where a short service was held, including the calling of the Roll of Honour and the laying of wreaths.

It was followed by a Remembrance Day service at the Holy Cross Church led by Daventry's Churches Together. Following the service, the parade made its way back to St. James' Infant School.

Be Brave and Come Home Safe - Daventry Community Centre 

The Wheels on Debussy presented this story of love and hope, told in drama, song and dance.

People were invited to come in costume and travel back in time for this unique musical, immersive and interactive community event, set in November 1918. The show featured popular songs from the time, a Tea Dance, and a performance from a Children’s Choir.

Memorial Benches

Parish Councils and community groups across Daventry District were given the opportunity to apply for a First World War Memorial Bench, with the cost subsidised by Daventry District Council. A total of 37 applications were made and the benches were installed in public places across the District. 

The Big Poppy Plant

First held in 2014 to commemorate the centenary of the war’s outbreak, the Big Poppy Plant again saw communities across the District supplied with a free ‘Remembrance’ poppy seed mix for planting in public areas. The flowers act as a symbol of remembrance as well as providing havens for insect pollinators.

The Empty Chair Project

Daventry Museum worked on this project with local historian Gerry Thompson, to remember the 114 soldiers from Daventry who lost their lives in the Great War. Local schools and community groups were invited to make and decorate a small model chair to represent each individual soldier. The chairs were then displayed at the museum from 3 to 11 November before being given to those who wished to remember a soldier by setting an empty seat at their table on Remembrance Sunday on 11 November. 

Churches Together Songs of Praise Service

This event at the Holy Cross Church on 16 September featured family-favourite hymns and readings, together with popular songs and poetry from WW1. The event also included a tribute to Ted Sharpe from Daventry, a veteran of the D-Day landings who died last year.

Centenary Tea Dance

The Daventry & District Forum hosted this special First World War-themed tea dance at the Saxon Suite on Thursday 20 September.