Stalbridge continues their commemorations towards the ending of the Great War with a further stunning display of over 2500 knitted and crocheted poppies and bunting provided by the ladies of the Armistich project. Members of the British Legion have decorated the High Street with Union flags and 30 large poppies fastened to lampposts and drainpipes bearing the names of the men of Stalbridge and surrounding villages who gave their lives during the First and Second World Wars. Children from St Mary’s Primary School have also been involved, creating bunting in remembrance of those that gave their lives and this is being displayed in the Hub, the Library and in Dikes cafe.
One hundred years ago in October 1918 the First World War was drawing to a close after over four years of carnage and bloodshed. The Battle of Amiens in August had been the turning point, the Allies had finally advanced beyond the German lines, at the same time news spread from Salonika that the Allies had also broken through on that front and forced Bulgaria to sue for peace.
By the middle of October, the Allies had retaken almost all of German occupied territory in France and Belgium. On 30 October, the Allies had successfully pushed the Turkish Army back and the Turks were forced to ask for an Armistice, allowing access to the Dardanelles. By early November the Germans had been pushed back beyond the Hindenburg Line, culminating in the signing of the Armistice at 1100 on 11 November in the French town of Redonthes, bringing the First World War to a close.
As we move closer to Remembrance Sunday, more commemorations are being planned by the Armistich group including one to the many animals who perished and are remembered by the use of purple poppies. It is estimated that over eight million horses, mules and donkeys died alongside numerous dogs, pigeons and even camels. They were used to transport ammunition and supplies to the front and to carry messages back and forth. Many died, not only from the horrors of shellfire but also in the terrible weather and appalling conditions.
For the two weeks leading up to Remembrance Sunday, a British Legion poppy flag will be flown on the Ring and on Saturday 10 November the ‘Red Duster’ will be flown to commemorate the many Merchant Navy Seaman who gave their lives in the protection of our Country during WW1 and other conflicts.
Cllr. P Brember