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Armistice weekend

9th November 2014, Mexborough War Memorial. Rachael Piekuss sounding the ‘Last Post’ on the 1st WW Bugle which is said to have been sounded at the last cavalry charge of that war.  Courtesy of John Duncan

The weekend, for Bill and Julia, began on Saturday 8th Nov. when, at 9.30a.m., Bill picked up Julia to begin their journey to the Minster of St. George, Doncaster.
Here, a day long exhibition was to take place in order to launch the 4yr long ‘Doncaster 1914-1918 Project’, which will be an in depth study of the events and happening which took place in the Doncaster Area during the 1st WW.
They arrived at approx 10.15a.m., and were quickly followed by Dave McCabe, who had brought many items from his vast 1st WW collection, and exhibited them on an adjacent table.
The event was opened at 11a.m. by the Civic Mayor who also launched the project. This was followed by a talk informing us of the project and what it would entail.
The afternoon was filled by talks and lectures on the topic of the 1st WW, beginning with Dr. Neil Faulkner, who helps to present and give advise on historical matters to such TV programmes as Time Team, Timewatch and the History Channel, who informed us of ‘The Archaeology of Modern Industrial War’.
This was followed by: ‘Hidden in Plane Sight’; and lastly ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’ which told of the folk of Yorkshire who toiled on the Home Front, working for long hours in challenging and sometime dangerous conditions.
The day concluded at 4p.m. when a minute's silence was held in honour of all the men of the Doncaster Area who paid the ultimate sacrifice in that terrible war, the silence was only broken by the Veteran Buglers of the Light Infantry Association.
Despite the torrential rain the exhibition was very well attended and both our display and Dave’s exhibits proved to be very popular with the general public many stating how much they enjoyed it

The Remembrance Sunday of 9th November 2014 came at the climax of many months of meticulous planning as every village, town and city in our country gathered around their war memorials to remember those who had been killed in the service of their country, in every conflict, since the end of the 1st WW to the present day.
This year it carried an added poignancy as it was the centenary of the outbreak of that war which was supposed to be the ‘war to end all wars’. As if ‘someone up there’ knew what was to happen that day, it dawned with brilliant sunshine.
10a.m. saw Bill and Julia in the LNER Club, the local head quarters of the Royal British Legion, again erecting our display, this time for the benefit of all the members returning to the club following the Service of Remembrance at Mexborough War Memorial.
The crowds were already beginning to gather at the memorial as we walked through the gates, and by 10.50a.m., when the service was planned to begin, they were still pouring in until they covered the grounds of Castle Hills, and five minutes later Father Wise, who was to conduct the service, had no alternative but to begin.

At 11a.m. prompt, two minutes silence was held, broken by the hauntingly, mellow, poignant sound of the ‘Last Post’ being played by Rachael Piekuss on an original 1st WW bugle, which we are informed was used to play the Charge at the last cavalry charge of that war.
During the service Seren, Margaret’s Granddaughter, read out her poem about a young, frightened, British Tommy who, despite his fear, went on fighting to, in the end pay the ultimate sacrifice.
Since this poem was first recited, at the war memorial on the evening of Monday 4th August at the ‘Lights out Ceremony’ it has become very popular, Seren’s last performance being to an audience of thousands at The Hub (Doncaster College) on 11th Nov.
Following the services wreaths were laid, ours being laid by Seren and her friend Jacob Walters, and so numerous were they that the whole base of the memorial became covered.
Following the service we went back to the LNER Club where a sumptuous buffet awaited us, made by the fair hands of Mrs. Needham.

Tuesday 11th Nov. 2014, was Armistice Day, and as part of the commemorations to be held in Mexborough your society, along with Dave McCabe of the Great War Society, held an exhibition in Mexborough Library.
This took up the whole of the library to the right of the entrance. Along with our display we also put on show, to the general public, files containing all the fallen to be found on all the local war memorial, and information on those listed who had lived in Mexborough & District.
Dave McCabe in uniform, exhibited some of his memorabilia, such as: shell cases; tin mugs; barbed wire cutters; etc. etc.  
Dave McCabe, in the uniform of the British Tommy, and Charlie Shaw, holding a WW grenade. Courtesy of Ron James

A service was held on the High Street of Mexborough and prompt, at 11a.m. as the silence was held, Mexborough, to a man, stopped as a mark of respect for all those men who gave their lives.
Reporters from the newspapers interviewed us and many will have seen the photos and articles, covering the events of the day in all the local press. It was also covered by DMBC Library Services own newsletter where an article and photos, showing our exhibition, could be seen.
The exhibition was so popular that the staff, at the library, wished for it to remain for the week but, unfortunately due to staffing problems, we were unable. They stated that they are looking forward to our next exhibition.
PICTURED - Ron James holding one of the files  listing the fallen of the 1st WW, at the same exhibition. Courtesy of Ron James

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