Banburyshire salutes its fallen forefathers

Banburyshire’s towns and villages marked the 100th anniversary of Britain’s entry into World War One on Monday with a series of events and memorial services.

Banbury town hall was packed with residents wanting to commemorate the momentous event and pay their respects to relatives who fought in the war which claimed the lives of men in almost every Banburyshire community.

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The evening included the launch of ‘Banbury – the History and the Heritage of World War One’ – a book published by Banbury Town Council to illustrate the role played by the town during the conflict.

An exhibition organised by the Red Cross also highlighted events in Banbury between 1914-1918.

New stained glass windows in the town hall – one of which is dedicated to the conflict – were blessed by Rt Rev Colin Fletcher, the bishop of Dorchester.

Kieron Mallon, leader of Banbury Town Council, said: “We wanted to recognise the part Banbury played in the Great War – abroad and on the home front.

“Around 1,500 men and women worked in a huge munitions factory in Grimsbury – and Red Cross nurses treated injured soldiers in a hospital in West Street.

“Red Cross nurses also ran a refreshment centre at Banbury railway station for troops travelling to and from the war zones.

“Many people from the town lost their lives on foreign fields and Monday was a poignant tribute to everyone involved in the conflict.”

A procession, accompanied by muffled drums, from the town hall to St. Mary’s Church included VIPs and members of the public.

The parade was followed by a solemn vigil service and the reading of the 340 names on the church war memorial.