Honouring Ilfracombe’s Great War dead
- Credit: Sally Almond
Town and its Town Crier will mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War with a re-enactment parade and weekend of events next August.
A special memorial parade is to take place next August to commemorate the people of Ilfracombe who sacrificed their lives in the First World War.
A one off parade through the town has been organised for Saturday, August 2, 2014, re-enacting a procession that saw volunteers set off for war a century before.
The idea for the event came from Town Crier Roy Goodwin and was inspired by a photograph from 1914 showing his predecessor Robert Martin leading the parade through the town before they left for France as part of the British Expeditionary Force.
At least 166 of them never returned.
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The modern parade will see 30 town criers from the UK and overseas lead representatives of those who died on a parade from The Pier to Runnymede Gardens, where their names will cried out. It is hoped descendants of all or most of those who died can be found to represent their ancestors on the day.
The parade will be followed on Sunday, August 3 by a town crier competition in Runnymede Gardens followed by First World War era music in the bandstand.
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“Going through a book on Ilfracombe’s past about two years ago there was an old photo of Robert Martin on his horse leading volunteers to the First World War through the town in August 1914,” explained Roy.
“This lead to my wife Bee and myself deciding to recreate that march using members of the families of all those who volunteered and instead of just one crier we would invite criers from all over England and Wales and possibly further afield.”
Jane Dendle, a volunteer at Ilfracombe Museum, is one of those descendants: “My grandfather, James Dendle, was one of the Ilfracombe Territorials who marched off to war in August 1914. From letters that he wrote I know he felt he was doing the ‘right thing’ and I feel proud of him and all of the men who answered their country’s call.”
There is little information on other descendants of the volunteers and organisers would like to hear from anyone wishing to participate, either relatives of the dead, members of military groups or people who simply wish to be involved.
Leave your name and contact details at Ilfracombe Tourist Information Centre or the Museum on the seafront, plus The Ilfracombe Centre in the High Street. Alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org