3rd Dec, 2016

Soldiers to descend on Meriden to remember World War I

Solihull Editorial 20th Apr, 2016 Updated: 21st Oct, 2016

SOLDIERS will descend on Meriden this weekend as villagers and visitors get a taste of history and remember World War One.

Over the St George’s Day weekend, members of The Great War Society, a living history group, will camp out behind the Queen’s Head pub, living as soldiers from WWI.

Throughout the weekend, the public will be able to walk around the living-history camp and attend uniform and British Infantry equipment demonstrations – getting a glimpse into the training, medical facilities and everyday tasks soldiers during the Great War had to endure.

Welcoming the invasion of their business, Laurence and Caroline O’Neill of the Queen’s Head Pub said: “It’s a great honour to be able to provide the Great War Society with the land and facilities they need to put on this historic event for Meriden.

“The community has shown a great interest in their weekend activities so we’re sure we’ll be very busy.”

The Great War Society will arrive in Meriden on Friday afternoon (April 22) and will attend the St George’s Day flag raising on the village green on Saturday at 8.30am, returning on the evening at 6.30pm to lower the flag with the Meriden Scout Group.

On Sunday, St Laurence Church’s service will include a dedication to the Meriden men and officers who perished in 1916 – Lieutenant Reginald Ernest Melly, Private Herbert John Massey and Private Louis Callow.

The event is the latest to be stage as part of Meriden’s First World War Centenary Commemoration 2014-2018 which is being led by volunteers from the local community and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Thanks to money raised through the National Lottery, the project has been running since 2014 and enables the local community to understand the impact WWI had on Meriden, its residents and the men who served and fell.

Previous events have included coach trips to the Imperial War Museum and National Memorial Arboretum, commemorative football and cricket matches and a talk on ‘Meriden in the Great War’ by local historian, Doreen Agutter.

Chair of Meriden Parish Council, Coun Melanie Lee said: “Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, we have been able to put on these exciting events for the residents of Meriden and give them a real insight into an important period in our history.

“The Great War Society weekend will really capture the imagination of younger visitors and is a history lesson they’ll never forget – but this event will interest all ages and is a unique opportunity to find out more about the experiences of First World War soldiers.”

The service at St Laurence Church starts at 10.30am and the congregation will be invited to attend the 12pm demonstrations by the Great War Society.