ON Friday, June 29, on the 100th anniversary of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles which concluded the 1914-1918 war, over 180 villagers from the Market Lavington benefice gathered to see a memorial toposcope unveiled.

The toposcope low round column of granite topped with a stainless steel disc is engraved with illustrations and arrows to places where men from Market Lavington,West Lavington, Easterton, Great and Little Cheverell served in the Great War.

Frank Jones, Chairman of the Market Lavington 1914-1918 War Commemoration Group, described their work each year from 2014 when they had printed and distributed to all residents an illustrated booklet on the war by Roger Frost, late curator of the Market Lavington Museum. This had been followed by installing a memorial stone by the church, the re-enactment of a 1916 fund raising fair in the market square and the Winnie Walk, commemorating the Canadian soldiers’ mascot, immortalised as Winnie-the-Pooh. Fundraising events included the screening of a film of fighting in 1916, a trench supper and wine tasting. In November there was a concert at Dauntsey’s with music composed by Nicholas Hale.

Cllr Richard Gamble thanked all involved, particularly Mike Bridgeman who had been the driving force in its construction. The project had been supported by the Ministry of Defence, Landmarc and the five parish councils. The Rev Marion Harrison blessed the memorial and the Royal British Legion Wiltshire Branch laid a wreath. Children scattered poppy seeds around the toposcope. The ceremony concluded with the sounding of The Last Post and Reveille.

The five villages now have a fitting and possibly unique memorial where generations yet to come will be able to look out over the peaceful Wiltshire countryside and give thanks to those who served in this country and in distant lands.