Swindon’s role in World War I will be remembered over the next four and a half years at Radnor Street Chapel, after commemorations were launched on Saturday 23 November.
The event organised by volunteers in the Swindon Heritage team, the Mayor of Swindon and representatives from Swindon Council, and some 200 local historians, friends of the cemetery and the public were welcomed to see the newly renovated memorial board that lists all the pupils from Sanford Street School who lost their lives in the conflict that has been brought out of storage and mounted in the chapel.
South Swindon MP Robert Buckland with the Swindon Heritage team in front of the Sandford School memorial plaque. From left, Mike Pringle, Robert Buckland, Mark Sutton, Frances Bevan, Graham Carter. Photos right and below by Richard Wintle of Calyx
Swindon Heritage volunteer Mike Pringle said: "Swindon in the Great War is about making that connection between the past and what it means to us today.
"It makes us very proud that so many people believed it was important to attend the launch of the commemorations and to mark the town’s involvement in the Great War."
Swindon Council leader David Renard thanked Swindon Heritage for giving momentum to events that would remember events of a century again. "Our heritage is so important from a cultural, leisure and economic growth point of view. Businesses are telling us this is really important for them when relocating here. The quality of schools is always high on their agenda, but business tell us that the leisure facilities and heritage issues are also important in these decisions.
"The council is operating in times of economic restraint, but we’re committed to supporting the commemorations where we can."
He said the council will also provide access to archived artefacts, documents, and materials from the council’s collections at the town’s museum and art gallery in Bath Road.
The day also saw the launch of the winter edition of Swindon Heritage magazine. The production team are planning a special commemorative edition covering different aspects of the town in the Great War to be published in 2014.
To find out more about Swindon in the Great War, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 07768 917466.
Above, the Mayor of Swindon Nick Martin with Ben Tubb and Thomas Read from Commonweal School, Old Town in front of the Sandford Street Memorial now hanging in Radnor Street Chapel. Ben and Thomas have been studying the Great War. Earlier in the year their class made a trip to France where they made a special trip to the war cemetery where Sapper Archibald Walter Shepherd from Swindon is buried