Horsham District will commemorate the Centenary of the start of World War 1 with a series of remembrance events on 3 and 4 August. Unlike euphoria that met the actual declaration of the war amongst the public, these will be a days of reflection and remembrance.
Just as the war itself drew the community together, the 3 and 4 August will reflect that spirit through a series of events for the community to remember the sacrifice and service of all those who served in the Great War, from land army and munitions girls, to those who paid the ultimate price. The two days will pay tribute to those who served and survived, fought and died.
On Sunday 3 August at 6:30pm at St Mary’s Parish Church, The Causeway, Horsham there will be a multi-denominational Evensong remembering the outbreak of the Great War.One hundred years ago, the Church, reflecting the community’s thoughts, actively encouraged people to serve, arguing that the war was a righteous one against evil. Today, a more reflective tone is taken and the service will reflect how a current generation think of the war.
On Monday 4August, reflecting the unadorned life 100 years ago, Horsham Museum will be staging a sober exhibition and associated activities.
The Chairman of Horsham District Council, Cllr Brian O’Connell, will open the day-long exhibition held in Horsham Park Barn by the side of Horsham Park. There, he will sign a book of reflection and remembrance, the first of many visitors, as the book will allow those who want to comment space to do so, as they reflect upon or remember their ancestors’ service.
The book itself will become a permanent reminder of the centenary. After signing the book the Chairman will then light a candle and place it at Horsham Park’s poppy field. Throughout the day members of the public will be able to light candles and have time in front of the poppy field to reflect. The exhibition will close at 6pm.
In the afternoon, The Capitol, North Street, Horsham will be showing a film based on the events of the Great War.
It was during the First World War that the cinema came in to its own as film portrayed the horrors of the Western Front. The cinema also became an escape mechanism, enabling people to lose themselves in the film.
The day itself will end with a concert organised by the Royal British Legion held in the Drill Hall, Denne Road, Horsham – a building designed by and paid for by the officers for the men of the 4th Battalion.
The Royal British Legion, born out of World War One, is a unique institution, for in the rest of the world the state stepped in to look after the war wounded after their recovery, but in Britain they relied on charity and so the Royal British Legion was formed. The concert will include, amongst other works, Elgar’s Nimrod and music from World War One. Aimed at as wide an audience as possible, the tickets will only be £8 with concessions.
In 1914, the nation was going to commemorate the Centenary of the end of the Napoleonic War, when in 1814 Horsham held a Peace Dinner for 3,000 people – the outbreak of World War One put a halt to that. Thankfully under more peaceful circumstances in 2014 the town can commemorate the start of World War One and in doing so pay tribute to those who served.