Help to honour our heroes

The sign-up day in The Square, Market Harborough in 1914
The sign-up day in The Square, Market Harborough in 1914

A major re-enactment of Harborough men signing up to serve in the First World War is taking place in the town this summer.

Market Harborough Heritage Group is hosting the event, which it hopes will be a fitting tribute to the townspeople who served during the war.

Jane Tugwell, a member of the group and a volunteer at Harborough Museum, said: “We decided to do a re-enactment of the recruitment day in the town because we thought it would be a fitting tribute with the centenary of The Great War coming up.

“We’re hoping a lot of people come along, to what we think will be a moving event.”

She added: “More than 40 per cent of the men from Market Harborough served during The Great War, which you could see is a lot of people, even though the population of the town was obviously a lot smaller then.”

The event will be held on The Square at 11am on Saturday, August 9.

It will be repeated at midday and will be a re-enactment of the recruitment day from 1914. Members of the cadets will be in period army uniform playing the part of local enlisted men.

A recruitment officer will be appealing to the assembled crowd and other cadets in civilian clothes of the era will come forth and sign up.

Mrs Tugwell added: “I think it will be moving to see the real cadets playing the roles. If you think about it, they are around the same age as the Harborough Boys would have been 100 years ago.”

She added that Harborough Band will be playing appropriately rousing music.

Members of the Market Harborough Drama Society will also be playing officers and a member from the group will narrate proceedings.

Other members of the society and volunteers will be playing the roles of suffragettes in the crowd and encouraging audience participation.

The pageant will then move on to later in the war with wounded soldiers returning.

The actors will read out some actual letters that were sent home from the trenches, including one sent to a R & WH Symington factory worker.

The proceedings will draw to a close with a list of the fallen soldiers’ names read out and The Last Post being played by an air cadets’ bugler.

The event will be filmed by the Harborough Movie Makers which is appealing for any living relatives of The Harborough Boys to come forward.

It wants to include these relatives in the film interviews to make it an important and lasting record for the town.

Mrs Tugwell added: “We are appealing for anybody who had family members from Harborough or the district, that fell, or served, during The Great War to get in touch.”