Thousands of primary school children from more than 100 schools across Wiltshire have been creating special crosses to remember First World War soldiers from their own communities.
The cardboard crosses, adorned with a poppy and the name of a local soldier, will be placed on a wall of remembrance at a special county-wide event 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 on July 30 at Tidworth Military Cemetery will give communities across the county the opportunity to remember the fallen soldiers in a fitting way.
Anyone can attend the service of remembrance and reflect on the huge sacrifice made by so many from Wiltshire.
Tidworth Military Cemetery, which contains burials of 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: “I’d like to thank the many schoolchildren who have taken time out of their usual school day to research and think about people from their own communities who were involved in the First World War.
“These young people’s efforts have helped create a poignant wall of remembrance which will be displayed during this special service to help us remember those from our own county who made a huge sacrifice for all of us.”
Headteacher Tracy Cornelius, of Kington St Michael School, near Chippenham, said making the crosses was part of a wider commemoration of the First World War at the school including a special play when the names of the fallen from Kington St Michael were read out.
She said: “As a school, we felt it was really important to commemorate the centenary of World War One.
"We had a WWI Week in school when all the classes learned about various aspects of that time in history.
"We had a commemorative whole school walk down to the church yard in the village.
"Our eldest two children led us carrying a poppy wreath and the other children carried their handmade crosses.
"Each class looked at the memorial to fallen soldiers in the lobby of the church.”
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, collectively, recognise the significant sacrifice of Wiltshire soldiers – past and present – and also the many service personnel stationed here while 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.
Parking for the event will be in a field adjacent to the cemetery and will be clearly signposted on the day.
For more information on the commemoration event and other First World War projects and initiatives visit https://heritageinwiltshire.wordpress.com/, call 01225 713152 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For updates on Twitter follow @wiltscouncil and use the hashtags #WiltsRemembers and #WW1