IT IS now less than a week until a special countywide event takes place to commemorate the sacrifice made by 10,000 Wiltshire soldiers during the First World War.
The Wiltshire Council and Ministry of Defence-organised First World War Commemoration Event, which takes place at 10am on Wednesday at Tidworth Military Cemetery, will give communities the chance to remember the soldiers in a fitting way.
Each fallen soldier will be represented on a named cross placed on a wall of remembrance which will provide the focus for the service. The crosses have been made by thousands of school children across the county with each soldier’s name meticulously researched.
Anyone can attend the service of remembrance and reflect on the huge sacrifice made by so many.
Tidworth Military Cemetery, which contains burials from both wars, was directly connected with training grounds on, or near, Salisbury Plain. There are 417 First World War graves, many of them Australian or New Zealand servicemen, 106 Second World War graves and 40 war graves of other nationalities.
Wiltshire Council leader Jane Scott said: “Thousands of soldiers from our county made a huge sacrifice for all of us and it is only right that we mark this significant period in our history appropriately.
“We can only imagine what those soldiers went through so this event will be an opportunity for people to reflect on the loss their communities experienced and pay their respects.”
Brigadier Piers Hankinson Commander 43 (Wessex) Brigade said: “The British Army has had and continues to have an exemplary relationship with the people of Wiltshire and we (in the Army) consider ourselves extremely well supported – thank you. It is entirely appropriate that we recognise the significant sacrifice of Wiltshire soldiers – past and present – and also the many Service personnel stationed here whilst preparing to deploy on operations.
"The Tidworth Military Cemetery, which contains burials of both wars, will be a superb setting for our collective inter-community remembrance and reflection.”
Throughout this period of remembrance of the First World War, Wiltshire Council will be working with the MoD on a number of projects and initiatives.
Many communities will be hosting their own events and the council and the MoD want to raise awareness of these and provide support where required. The council will also help people research the war to help educate on the impact of it on the county.