Whitwick Remembers

Published On: 7 October 2014

Whitwick WW1 Event Crowd Photo

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


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