AS THE NATION PREPARES TO MARK 100 YEARS SINCE THE ARMISTICE, WE SHARE THE STORIES OF 100 WEST HEROES WHO DIED IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR,
REMEMBRANCE Day may be a day away, but special events and commemorations have already started, marking the centenary of the end of the Great War.
Prime Minister Theresa May visited France yesterday as part of her tour of war cemeteries with the leaders of France and Belgium.
Wearing a poppy, Mrs May laid a wreath at the graves of John Parr, the first UK soldier to be killed in 1914, and the last, George Ellison, in Mons.
She then met President Macron in Albert, a town at the heart of the Somme region, before attending a wreath-laying ceremony at Thiepval Memorial, which bears the names of 72,000 officers.
Locally, in Wootton Bassett, members of the Armed Forces took part in the opening of the Field of Remembrance.
More than 15,000 crosses and commemorative markers filled the garden at Lydiard Park, which was opened following a performance by the Military Wives Choir and then a two-minute silence.
And in Cheltenham, a train named after Great Western Railway workers who died in the war rolled into the town’s station after its unveiling at London Paddington in the morning.
The nine-carriage train has been named after Flight Sub-Lieutenant Harold Day, the only railway man to become a flying ace, and Lance-Corporal Allan Leonard Lewis, awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery in Rossnoy, France.
It features the names of more than 2,500 workers and will serve the Great Western mainline.
Great Western Railway deputy managing director, Matthew Golton, said: “The role of the railway in helping mobilise the country and sustain the war effort was immense.
“Over 25,000 employees of GWR volunteered to serve, a third of the company at the time. It is therefore fitting that as we remember all those who took part in this terrible conflict, we honour those of the GWR who fell.”
The newly-named GWRtrain at London’s Paddington Station
Prime Minister Theresa May and French President EmmanuelMacron lay a wreath during a ceremony at Thiepval Memorial
Standard bearers taking part in theofficial opening of the Field of Remembrance at Royal Wootton Bassett