Many hundreds of people attended the commemorative events being hosted by St. Mary’s in South Street in partnership with the Town Council and the Heritage Forum to mark the centenary of the First World War.
On Sunday 3rd August there was a parade followed by a special service in the church attended by the Mayor and representatives of many local organisations. Sir Philip Colfox, whose ancestor had been present at the original unveiling of the Memorial, spoke a few well chosen words and Brigadier Deane, President of the Royal British Legion Bridport Branch laid a wreath of poppies.
In the afternoon there was a special concert ‘Lest Bridport Forgets’ when local performers sang songs and read poems of the era, the New Elizabethan Singers reprised parts of Karl Jenkins’ ‘The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace’ and the Team Rector preached the sermon his predecessor had during August, 1914.
On the 4th August, the actual day of the anniversary, a very large crowd of some nearly 200 people gathered at the War Memorial for a candle-lit vigil. The bells rang out and then, suddenly, ceased but for one that tolled. There were readings from Robert Graves’ ‘Goodbye to all that’ and FS Flint’s searing poem ‘Lament’. The President of the Royal British Legion spoke the words of Exhortation, a cornet sounded the Last Post and Reveille and a serving soldier placed a large spring of rosemary for remembrance on the Memorial. The Tower lights were extinguished at 23.00, the moment a hundred years ago that the war had started.
The exhibitions in the Church remain until the end of August.