War centenary marked with ceremonies and commemorative events

Cllr Carl Meader, deputy mayor of Kempston, unveils Kempston History Society plaque
Cllr Carl Meader, deputy mayor of Kempston, unveils Kempston History Society plaque

Residents across the district have been commemorating the centenary of the First World War this week, paying tribute to the many who died for their country.

Kempston Local History Society members have unveiled an interpretation board covering the history of the Barracks and the Bedfordshire Regiment which has been installed outside the historic building in Bedford Road.

Commemoration of First World War centenary in Marston Moreteyne.

Commemoration of First World War centenary in Marston Moreteyne.

It is the second board to be installed in a long term project to put up boards at appropriate locations around the town.

The board was unveiled on Friday, August 1, by Deputy Mayor of Kempston, Councillor Carl Meader, to coincide with the anniversary of the First World War.

The board has been produced by the society with financial assistance from local borough councillors, and The Harpur Trust.

Much of the artwork has been provided by talented local artist David Simms and the board designed by a founding member of the society, Lloyd Lugsden.

>> Bedford’s Foster Hill Road Cemetery hosted a special ceremony and wreath laying on Sunday, August 3.

The cemetery includes many graves of the fallen of the Great War, with neighbouring Bedford Park also being the base for many serving soldiers before being posted overseas.

The 142 First World War graves were commemorated with the Union flag and a Royal British Legion poppy cross, including those of 33 Highlanders who are buried at the cemetery.

Organised by the Friends of Foster Hill Road Cemetery and with support from The Royal British Legion, Sea, Army and Air Cadets, the Scots St Andrews Society of Bedford, Salvation Army, Bedford Pipe Band, Bedfordshire Police, Bedford Heights Business Centre and Bedford Borough Council, the ceremony was part of a programme of events to recognise the centenary of the start of the First World War.

The ceremony began with a parade from the chapel to the Cross of Sacrifice in the cemetery where the service was held, led by Cannon L R MacDonald, before a number of dignitaries.

>> Residents joined a nationwide tribute on Monday, August 4 as lights were switched out to mark the moment the country became involved in the Great War.

One of the many services held included a commemoration at Marston Moreteyne War Memorial from 10.30pm to 11pm, led by the Royal British Legion along with the Rev Gill Webb.

>> The war memorial in Cranfield has been a Grade II listing as part of an English Heritage scheme to list up to 500 war memorials a year over the next five years to mark the centenary of the First World War.

The memorial was erected in about 1920 and lists the names of 43 local men who died serving in the First World War, and a further nine who fell in the Second World War. It stands on the approach to the Grade I listed Church of St Peter and St Paul, which contains a corresponding Roll of Honour in the form of a scroll.

>> Bedford Borough Council’s archives service has started two online series telling the story of the people of Bedfordshire during the First World War.

The service will be posting daily reports exactly 100 years after the events they record.

For the full story, visit www.bedford.today.co.uk