1914 project

2:58pm Wednesday 23rd April 2014

By David Falcke

THE Wylye Valley 1914 Project is planned to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War and the effect it had on villages in the Wylye Valley The activities will centre on Codford, which expanded from a sleepy village of some 300 inhabitants to a huge military encampment when, in late August 1914, thousands of Kitchener’s volunteers arrived eager to be trained.

The main focus of the project will be the weekend of July 26 and 27, with an interpretive exhibition in Codford Village hall to be opened by General Sir Roger Wheeler at 11am on the Saturday.

In the hall there will be an interpretative display map (8m x 3m) of the army camps between Longbridge Deverill and Codford.

Included will be: orders of battle of the Kitchener’s New Army units in these camps; history of the units in the conflict; information on the British Expeditionary Force in the war; medical aspects of life in the camps; a map showing and explaining the casualty evacuation system from the frontline and two short films showing how the militarisation of the valley affected the civilian population of the area.

On the field, a living history event will depict Great War Society, 4th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment with a camp and activities and demonstrations.

And 24 General Hospital tent, The Garrison Group will include Royal Field Artillery 1914 with a camp, static displays and firing and a 30m trench with artefacts.

In addition there will be the operation of an Earth Mode Telegraph, Tiger Moth flypasts and two or three Home Front stalls with activities to be confirmed.

The weekend will end with a Drumhead service at 3.30pm on Sunday with Royal British Legion standards as well as a band and a choir.

The project is being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Western Front Association, Armed Forces Community Covenant, Wiltshire Council and Cranborne and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

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