August 4 2014 marks one hundred years since Great Britain declared war on Germany. This was the beginning of what was to become World War One, the ‘war to end all wars’.
Hampshire played a critical role in the First World War, as the major embarkation point for millions of soldiers heading off to mainland Europe and further afield to join the conflict, who passed through Hampshire and affected the lives of everyone in the county.
On Monday August 4 the Chairman of Hampshire County Council will be hosting a Hampshire Commemorates exhibition in the Great Hall in Winchester showcasing historic materials from Hampshire County Council and other partners to mark the centenary of WWI. The event is free for all visitors and will provide a taster of some of the exhibitions and information available the county and will run from 10am-5pm.
An 18 pounder First World War field gun, on loan from the Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson, will arrive at 2pm outside the Great Hall accompanied by costumed members of Ubique – Right of the Line, a living history re-enactment group.
At 4.30pm the gun will be joined by a fully restored J Type Thornycroft lorry from the County Council’s Arts and Museums collection.
There will be the chance to view displays for the Artists’ Rifles, Solder’s Journey and Trenchcoat exhibitions that are part of the ‘1914’ Hampshire Big Theme programme. ‘1914’, Hampshire’s Big Theme, is a partnership programme of exhibitions, events and installations supported by Arts Council England. Also on display will be panels showing photographs and documents from County Council services, including Archives and Local Studies.
Chairman of Hampshire County Council Councillor Colin Davidovitz, said: “This programme of commemorations will mark what is likely to be the last major anniversary of its kind and is hugely important on a local and national level. Hampshire and its communities played a unique and internationally significant role during the First World War. The outbreak of WWI was a watershed moment where, for the first time, everyone in the country was affected in some way by the war.
“My show case event on August 4 aims to provide a flavour of some of the exhibitions and information available across the County, including The Big Theme ‘1914’ commemorative programme – a Hampshire Solent arts, museums and heritage partnership, supported by Arts Council England.”
The County Council’s various preparations and key projects to mark the centenary of WWI and commemorate the heroic actions of those involved in this conflict include poppies being planted at some of our country parks and other locations, including Manor Farm Country Park in Bursledon, Royal Victoria Country Park in Netley, and Milestones Museum in Basingstoke.
A wider commemorative programme across cultural venues will continue during the 2014-18 period, and the County Council is working in partnership with the National Museum of the Royal Navy to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign in 2015 and bring back to life the historic HMS Monitor M33 which served there.