Chance to reflect and remember First World War


A special evening of commemoration is being held in Harborough to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.

Churches Together has invited the chairman of Harborough District Council Neville Hall to the events, along with war veterans, service organisations, cadets, local voluntary groups, councillors and congregations from the Harborough churches.

The programme begins at 7pm on Monday, August 4, at the Market Harborough Hospital Memorial in Coventry Road.

The memorial lists all the names of people from Market Harborough, Great Bowden and Little Bowden who served during the First World War.

A short service will be led by the Rev John Morley.

At 7.30pm there will be another short ceremony in the Memorial Gardens, where the refurbishment of the pergola and its roses has been completed by Harborough District Council, using rose varieties that would have been grown in 1914.

Councillor Neville Hall will unveil a plaque at the refurbished pergola.

At 7.45pm there will be a service of commemoration led by the Rev Richard Brand at St Dionysius church in the town centre.

John Tavener’s Song for Athene will feature, sung by the choir. There will be readings from the World War poets and an extract from local historian Barry Summers’ text, the Harboro’ Boys, about events in Harborough during the summer of 1914.

Candles will be extinguished during the commemoration, and a new light kindled at the service’s end.

The church bells will then ring, included 254 tolls of the tenor bell, to mark the war deaths of local people.

Anyone who would like to join in some, or all of the parts of the programme is welcome.

This Sunday, August 3, St Dionysius Church is hosting a Choral Evensong at 6pm which will feature music appropriate to the First World War.

The preacher at this service is the Rev John Morley, chaplain and chairman of the local British Legion branch.

The bell ringers of Great Bowden will also be commemorating the First World War centenary on Monday.

A bell will be tolled 45 times to remember the 45 men from the parish of Great Bowden who died during the war.

The Captain of the Great Bowden ringers Ray Martin will toll the bell at 6pm.

Fellow bell ringer Robert Sulley said: “It’s very fitting that Ray will be tolling the bell, as four members of his family were killed in the war. Their names are listed on the memorial in Great Bowden church.”

Pageant to remember fallen

The past comes to life in Harborough town centre on Saturday, August 9, in a moving commemoration of the First World War.

The event on The Square at 11am, and repeated at midday, will be a re-enactment of a recruitment day from 1914.

Members of the air cadets in period uniform will play enlisted men supporting a recruitment officer appealing to the crowd.

Other cadets in civilian uniform will step forward to “sign up”.

The pageant then moves to later in the war, with wounded soldiers returning and readings from actual letters home. The event will finish with the Last Post played by a cadet bugler.