November 11th 2018 was the Centenary of the Armistice that ended the fighting in the First World War. It was marked around the world with solemn ceremonies, church services, special TV programmes and newspaper coverage, and community tributes to The Fallen.
Warwick marked the occasion in a number of ways, with the centrepiece the spectacular display of poppies decorating the Collegiate Church of St. Mary.
The display was planned well in advance and organised by an ad hoc volunteer group, ‘Warwick Poppies 2018’. They wanted to gather together hand-made poppies for every one of the 11,610 members of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment who died in the conflict.
Responding to the appeal, organisations, schools, and families from Warwick and far beyond spent months knitting, crocheting or making poppies out of felt, cardboard, metal and more. The target number of poppies was soon exceeded and when the commemoration was unveiled on October 5th, 2018, there were an amazing 62,438 poppies decorating the church. Many were sent from abroad by family members living in Australia, the USA, Canada and even Malawi.
The money raised by contributions from the thousands of visitors to the exhibition was shared equally between the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal and St. Mary’s Church.
On the day of the Centenary, November 11th, there was a special ceremony at the War Memorial at 6 a.m. to mark the moment the Armistice was signed. Local piper Andy Walker played the tune “When the Battles O’er” and further pieces in St. Mary’s Church in front of the poppy display. And in the evening there was a special performance of Durufle Requiem against the poppy backdrop.
Other local commemorations were a service of remembrance at the war memorial, with The Last Post being sounded at 11am, followed by a march-past by local military units, the British Legion, and local community organisations.
And in the evening a Beacon of Peace was lighted by the Mayor in the grounds of Warwick Castle, at the same moment as thousands more beacons around the world, and members of Unlocking Warwick read out all the 364 names of the local men – and one woman – who had died during the 1914-18 war.
You can see a picture gallery of Warwick events on the Armistice Centenary Day on this website here: