Watford remembers World War One with a series of events all over the area

Learn about Bertram Prewett at Bushey Museum

Soldiers relaxing at Batchworth Heath before shipping out, a picture from The Great War

War Horse by Glynnis Abraham, on display at Rebel Pebble

Author Sue Woolmans will talk about her book at Chorleywood Memorial Hall

First published in Days Out
Last updated
Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Features Writer

WATFORD MUSEUM

A new exhibition is set to open at Watford Museum to commemorate World War One.

Entitled The Great War, the show will feature a series of panels focusing on the start of World War One as it was told at the time, concentrating on the effect it had on those who stayed at home.

Including feature photographs and postcards from the Watford Museum Collection, the exhibition will also display newspaper articles from the 1914 Watford Observer and photographs and articles from Watford Illustrated.

The tragic story of soldier Thomas Edward Gregory, who was killed on Christmas Day 1914 by a sniper, will also be shown, juxtaposed against life back home in Watford.

Museum volunteers are also working on creating an online roll of honour, cross referencing newspapers from the period with the roll of honour in order to provide some background to those listed using obituaries.

The museum was awarded a £10,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant towards this project.

Part of the funding is also going towards a series of World War One workshops for schools, to engage a younger generation in their local history and to highlight the importance of remembering the war.

In a month’s time, the museum’s Little Gallery Tearoom will be hosting a sing-a-long to war classics with Watford Folk Club (September 27, 1pm), and on November 15 (1pm to 2pm), children aged from seven to 12 can try their hand at decorating their very own Christmas tin, while learning the story of Princess Mary’s special World War One gift.

  • The Great War: Watford 1914 is at Watford Museum, Lower High Street, Watford, from Thursday, August 7 until Saturday, September 27. Details: 01923 232297, watfordmuseum.org.uk

BUSHEY MUSEUM

Bushey will remember those who fell in World War One with a series of events in the village.

At Bushey Academy, 50 panels will be on display from August 4 until August 24 (9am-4pm), depicting an individual theme telling the story of the Great War 1914-1918.

There will also be three evening sessions from 7pm-9pm, on: Tuesday August 5, Wednesday, August 13 and Thursday, August 21.

There will be live music, talks, poetry readings and a series of community events, with war memorial folders commemorating the fallen on the memorials in Bushey, Bushey Heath and Oxhey, plus school work from the pupils of Bushey Academy and St Margaret’s.

Householders in Bushey Heath, Bushey and Oxhey will be invited to display a temporary plaque on their window or front gate throughout the month of August to commemorate the ultimate sacrifice made by nearly 400 young men from the area.

Bushey will also form part of the Bushey First World War Commemoration Project.

  • The information gathered by researchers on this project will be digitally recorded for the future and an online interactive archive will be created, where everyone can contribute and access further information at: busheyworldwarone.org.uk. Details: 01923 330340 

THE GREAT WAR

The Great War – Unseen Archives is a beautiful, glossy coffee table book from Croxley Green-based Atlantic Publishing, and is a comprehensive yet highly accessible volume about World War One.

It features 1,000 beautifully restored photographs which tell the graphic tale of how the Great War played out in all its theatres, set within a gripping day-by-day narrative, all in just 450 pages.

There are also 600 contemporaneous press cuttings showing how matters at the front were reported for home consumption.

Watford readers will be particularly interested in a picture of troops relaxing in the sunshine on Batchworth Heath in Rickmansworth before leaving for the Front. There is also a detailed feature on the Zeppelin that was famously shot down over Cuffley, near Potters Bar.

THE ART OF WAR

A number of local artists have gathered together to host an art exhibition featuring works inspired by World War One. Among the pieces being exhibited at Commemorate the First World War, is the sculpture of a hunched figure entombed in a box with barbed wire, images inspired by wartime postcards and poems, and vivid paintings and drawings depicting the conflict.

“The inspiration for my work comes from the collection of WW1 postcards I have," explains artist Glynnis Abraham, from Watford, “I am giving those soldiers who wrote those postcards a voice.

“We are very passionate about our message and hope that the public will come and see what we are expressing.”

  • Commemorate the First World War is at Rebel Pebble, The Parade, Watford, throughout August, from 7pm until 9pm. Details: 07980 701316

HERTS WAR HEROES ON FILM

A film celebrating the efforts of the unsung heroes who toiled on the home front is set to be shown.

A Country At War – Life On The Home Front in Hertfordshire, features photographs supplied by local museums and the public.

Hertfordshire became one of the great staging areas for troops going to France in World War One, and as such, this film looks closely at the heroes left behind, at work and in the home, offering a fresh and surprisingly local view of a story that is now retold on television on a wider canvas.

Interlaced with original recordings of songs of the period, the film makes compulsive viewing, often haunting and ultimately uplifting.

Commissioned by the Lord-Lieutenant at the Queen’s request for every county to mark the centenary of World War One, the film has been produced by the University of Hertfordshire.

A concert of songs performed by the widely praised OVO Theatre Company will follow the film and, just like a true Edwardian Music Hall, the audience will be invited to join in.

  • Commemoration of World War I (12A), is at The Rex, Three Close Lane, Berkhamsted on August 4 at 2pm and 7pm. Details: therexberkhamsted.com, 01442 877759

CHORLEYWOOD REMEMBERS

Coinciding with a series of events marking the centenary of World War One, author and historian Sue Woolmans is set to give a talk on her bestselling book The Assassination of the Archduke in Chorleywood.

The title offers readers a vivid account of the lives of Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, and his wife Sophie, who were assassinated in 1914, on a state visit to Sarajevo.

The shots ‘which rang round the world’, led, just four weeks later, to the outbreak of World War One.

As well as Sue’s talk, Jack Smethurst and family will be performing readings and poems about WWI, and there will also be an exhibition of memorabilia.

Tickets for this event are available at Chorleywood Bookshop, New Parade, Chorleywood, and are free if you are in or have been in the Armed Forces. Tea and cake will be served.

  • A Commemoration of World War One is at Chorleywood Memorial Hall, Common Road, Chorleywood, on Saturday, August 2, from 2.30pm. Details: 01923 283566, chorleywood bookshop.co.uk

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