Ben Whittaker, Museum Manager, on remembering the end of the Great War:
On Monday 12th November, Fleetwood Museum was proud to take part in the Final Homecoming Parade organized by Wyre Council, Fleetwood Town Council and partners, to mark 100 years since the 1918 Armistice.
The event was a mass participation community parade involving local schools, residents, community groups, veterans, musicians and re-enactment troupes. The 1000 strong parade walked from Memorial Park and up Lord Street, finishing in front of the Mount. It was a lively affair, with lots of singing of songs associated with the war such as ‘pack up your troubles’ and ‘it’s a long way to Tipperary’.
The numbers involved, as well as the numbers of those who gathered to watch, is testament to the continued appreciation that local people have of the sacrifices that were made by those who served and lost their lives in the conflict.
As well as attending the parade, Fleetwood Museum has marked the centenary in several other ways. Last week, museum volunteer Andy Stevens gave a fascinating talk on war memorials and the process of finding and recording the graves of the war dead that was undertaken during and after the war.
Trustee Dick Gillingham has also worked with staff at the Memorial Park to deliver several sessions with school children about the impact and significance of the First World War.
Our Chair of Trustees Keith Porter was also honoured to lay a wreath on behalf of Fleetwood Museum at the remembrance service at the Fleetwood war memorial on Sunday.
The last event the museum has organized was a special Armistice Commemoration at the museum on November 13th, featuring songs and poems from the war, talks about Fleetwood as a Barracks Town and the contribution of women from the Fleetwood and Fylde area to the war effort.
A special poppy installation was also created in the Harriet boathall with the assistance of community volunteers. This included a poignant and moving poem written especially for the installation by museum trustee Margaret Turner. The installation can be viewed up to the 30th November when the museum closes for the winter. Here are the words of Margaret Turner’s amazing poem:
This is our humble tribute
To those brave men one and all
That left their homes in Fleetwood
To answer Kitchener’s call
When Britain was in earnest
They fought to keep her free
And gave their lives in thousands
Plain folk like you and me
There were older men of fifty
And lads not sixteen years
But they stood together facing
Wars horrors and their fears
They were not trained as soldiers
But it mattered not a jot
To serve their King and country
Was their fates chosen lot
We never can repay them
No matter what we do
But we ever should remember
They died for me and you