Archives for October 2014

Blackfordby Unveils New War Memorial

Earlier today, a new WW1 and WW2 memorial was unveiled in the village of Blackfordby, near Ashby in Northwest Leicestershire. It is located near to the ancient village spring, and was dedicated by Bishop Christopher. The memorial takes the form of a stone obelisk with inscribed plaques on its base, and was designed and made by Andy Oldfield of The Fringe Workshop in Derbyshire. Space has also been allowed for memorial wooden crosses to be planted nearby. Local school children each left a cross with a name from the war memorial. An exhibition based on wartime Blackfordby and its casualties was held in the Methodist Church (which itself contains a war memorial plaque and roll of honour). Blackfordby’s Church of England church also has a war memorial clock in the tower. The new memorial was funded locally, the project receiving support from Ashby Town Council, Ashby Museum, and the local branch of the Royal British Legion.

Blackfordby war memorialBlackfordby soldiers photos

University of Leicester to display knitted poppies on Remembrance Sunday


Issued by University of Leicester Press Office

Issue date: 7 October 2014


University of Leicester to display knitted poppies on Remembrance Sunday

 Public invited to craft poppies in memory of soldiers lost during the First World War

In commemoration of the First World War, the University of Leicester is inviting people to knit a poppy to remember the soldiers whose lives were lost during the war and support the Poppy Appeal.

This October, as part of the Knit a Poppy Project, students, staff and members of the public are being encouraged to knit or crochet a poppy to be displayed at the University in time for Remembrance Sunday (9 November).

The poppies will adorn the lawns at the main entrance to the University of Leicester on University Road.

Each poppy will have a label attached for the creator to sign their name, include a message or dedicate it to someone who was lost or injured during the First World War.

Charlotte Barratt, project lead and Student Recruitment Officer at the University said: “It is a wonderful opportunity to combine creativity with history.  The poppy is a powerful symbol of remembrance and we hope to highlight the important role that the University played during the First World War.”

The University of Leicester was founded as a memorial to the local men who died in the First World War, which is reflected in the institution’s motto ‘Ut vitam habeant’ which means ‘That they may have life’.

During the war, the Fielding Johnson Building served as the 5th Northern General Military Hospital until 1919, after the war had ended. 514 deaths were recorded at the Hospital, and 286 of these casualties are buried in Welford Road Cemetery, near the University.

Also in support of the Poppy Appeal, from Thursday 23 October, the Fielding Johnson Building will be lit up in red for two weeks until Armistice Day on Tuesday 11 November. Other buildings taking part in the local initiative include John Lewis, Highcross Shopping Centre, County Hall and De Montfort Hall in Leicester.

Anyone can take part in the Knit a Poppy Project by knitting or crocheting a poppy at home, organising a group knit or visiting the University of Leicester’s Students’ Union to learn from a craft expert.

People are also encouraged to make a small donation to the Royal British Legion to honour the men who fought for their country during the war and to contribute towards the lives and families of serving and ex-Service people today.

Tim Yates, Deputy Director of Estates at the University added: “This is a wonderful idea, it has been taken up by a number of organisations around the country but at the University of Leicester, with its direct connection as a First World War Hospital site, it will make a particularly poignant display.”

Finished poppies can be dropped off at the Fielding Johnson Building main reception or posted to:


University of Leicester

Knit a Poppy Project (Charlotte Barratt)

University Road




All poppies must be received by Thursday 6 November in order to be in place for Remembrance Sunday on 9 November on the lawn at Entrance 2 on University Road.

For more information, poppy patterns and drop-in dates at the Students’ Union (tbc) visit:

For more information about the Light up your Building in Red project visit:

To make a donation to the Royal British Legion visit:



Notes to editors:

For more information contact Charlotte Barratt at:


The University of Leicester

The University of Leicester is uniquely placed as the only UK university founded in memory of those who died in the First World War.

It is no coincidence that the public fund for the endowment of a University College for Leicestershire – later to become the University of Leicester – was opened on Armistice Day in 1918. The University College was envisaged as a ‘living memorial’ to those local men who had lost their lives in the First World War. Leicester was to have, as the local paper put it, “more than a mere artistic war memorial”. The University motto ‘Ut vitam habeant’ (‘so that they may have life’) stands as a permanent reminder on every publication and degree certificate issued since.


University of Leicester Press Office Contacts:


Ellen Rudge

News and Events Officer

Tel: 0116 229 7467



Peter Thorley

Corporate News Officer

Tel: 0116 252 2415




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Whitwick Remembers

Whitwick Parish Council has kindly supplied the following information on its event of 3rd August to launch the Centenary period.


Whitwick residents young and old gathered around the War Memorial in Whitwick Churchyard on Sunday afternoon to reflect on the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

Click below to enlarge photograph.

Whitwick WW1 Event Crowd Photo

Welcoming people to the event, Councillor Ray Woodward, Chairman of Whitwick Parish Council, said ” At 11pm tomorrow evening, it will be precisely 100 years since Britain declared war on Germany, an event which was to leave a mark on every community and every family up and down the country, one that is still felt to this day.

“While one politician famously saw this as a great tragedy with “the lamps going out all over Europe”; for many young men, it seemed a romantic adventure, an opportunity for wining honour and glory. They rushed to fight for King and country, anxious not to miss out as it would surely be all over by Christmas.

“Four years later, after millions had perished, and the war was recognised as one of the bloodiest and most brutal in all of history.

“While we must always remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, we must not forget that some 9 out of 10 servicemen did return. But those who survived rarely spoke of it afterwards. They had experienced hell on earth.

“For many, the return to civilian life was not an easy transition and the Royal British Legion was founded in 1921 to support veterans and their families, an invaluable job which it continues to do to this day.”


He then handed over to Mrs Jean Rowlinson who recited a poem on behalf the Whitwick Branch of the Legion:


During the First World War young men didn’t hesitate,

They joined up in thousands to participate.

“Your Country needs you” Lord Kitchener said.

Soon the fields were bloody red,

Flanders’ fields where Poppies grow, waving gently to and fro.

Each one for a soldier who gave his life, leaving behind a mother or wife.

Rat invested trenches, deep in quagmire,

The relentless bombardment of Mortar fire,

Shaking with fear, sick with fright.

They would never have been handed a ‘feather’ of white.

They had to go on, though weary and worn.

Or be branded as cowards and

‘Shot at Dawn’.

It was carnage, it was hell.

Then came that dreaded yell,


It was a gas attack.

It did not matter what rank or class,

Deadly, silently it would seep.

No Reveille would waken them from their sleep.

They seemed so young,

They were so willing to lay down their lives for the King’s shilling.

A humble thank you what more can we say,

They gave their,

‘Tomorrow for Our To-day’.


Jim Rowlinson of the Royal British Legion read out the names of those from Whitwick who died in the War as Poppy Crosses bearing their names were placed by young people in a Field of Remembrance as Whitwick Bellringers tolled the Church bell.


Marlene Pearson of Whitwick History Group gave a moving account of Whitwick’s ‘First to Fall’ – Private Ernest Hall who was killed in the Battle of Neuve Chappelle on 13 March 1915 leaving behind a wife and three children.


Portia Berry-Kilby who lives in Whitwick and is one of Leicestershire’s representatives to the UK Youth Parliament, read verses from Laurence Binyon’s ‘For the Fallen’:


They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.


All those present were invited to inscribe a red ‘Poppy Petal’ with a message of remembrance or prayer and these were then pinned to a rustic cross.


Prayers and hymns were led by Rev Alan Burgess, Whitwick Parish Church; Fr James Cahill, Holy Cross RC Church and David Herbert, Lay Pastor to Whitwick Baptist Church.

Whitwick History Group also staged a special World War 1 exhibition inside the Church.



Lorraine and Phil Ellis

Clerk/Assistant Clerk

Whitwick Parish Council

Thringstone Great War Remembered

The Friends of Thringstone held an event at Thringstone House Community Centre on 4, 5 and 6 July. It included Jonathan Capewell’s WW1 tigers regiment exhibition, Friends of Thringstone’s exhibits, a stand by Whitwick Historical Group and another by Aubrey Finney from Belton. We also had people bringing medals, and displayed some collections materials from the Carillon war museum in Loughborough.

Information and images kindly provided by Nita Pearson, Friends of Thringstone.

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