SSAFA Wiltshire's Wartime Memories Weekend
Now in its third year of partnership with Salisbury Cathedral, SSAFA Wiltshire’s Wartime Memories Weekend annual event commemorates SSAFA's role in the First World War with a record turnout, making the event a great success.
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Branch Chairman Stephen Oxlade said, "We found that the awareness of SSAFA among younger people, including those in the military locally - some of whom might well need our help in the future - is disappointingly low, and this event helps us to reach a much wider audience than we could by more traditional means".
SSAFA Wiltshire have noticed a great deal of interest among schoolchildren about the War and how it affected those involved. Therefore, a major part of each year's commemoration include organised visits from schools on the Friday before the event opens to the public on the weekend to engage a younger generation about a war that took place almost 100 years before they were born.
The Shrouds of the Somme, an incredible project to commemorate every life lost at the Battle of the Somme, made an appearance. Bulford-based soldiers from the 5th Battalion of the Rifles laid out 1,561 shrouds - one for every day of the War - on the sacred burial ground at the heart of Salisbury Cathedral. It was a moving and symbolic moment for all involved and in attendance.
Activities such as Morse code and semaphore lessons, a variety of interactive displays and exhibits and re-enactments which gave an insight into life in the trenches engaged attendees and young families attending the event. None of this would have been possible without the contributions of the local community, charities and museums.
Branch Publicity Officer, Bill Common, noted, "We rely on other charities to make this commemoration work, and it's a great example of what you can achieve when such organisations get together with a common aim".
Images courtesy of Paul Duckworth, Warminster Camera Club