University leads WWI centenary commemoration in historic West Hill Cemetery
The War Memorial and Cross of Sacrifice in West Hill Cemetery, Winchester, are the focus of an Act of Remembrance to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War on Saturday 10 November at 10.30am. Local people are warmly invited to attend.
Hosted and led by the University of Winchester, the service will see an address to the fallen buried in the cemetery and beyond by Sir Garry Johnson, KCB OBE MC, former Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces Northern Europe. A bugler will play the Last Post before a Two Minute Silence, after which wreaths will be laid by University Vice-Chancellor Professor Joy Carter CBE DL, the Leaders of Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council, and representatives of the Armed Forces, including the Royal Hampshire Regiment, the Royal Green Jackets, the Royal Air Forces Association and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
The service will end with the singing of Eternal Father, Strong to Save (often called The Navy Hymn), written in 1860 by William Whiting, who was educated at Winchester College and is buried in West Hill Cemetery.
After the service, there will be a reading of the names of those remembered in The Stripe, at the University's King Alfred Quarter on Sparkford Road. An exhibition about the history of the Cemetery will be on display, followed by two guided tours of the site, led by University of Winchester historians. Refreshments will be served
"This year's annual remembrance events take on a special significance as we mark the 100th anniversary of the ceasefire in 1918," said Professor Elizabeth Stuart, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester.
"It is especially poignant for the University to be able to commemorate this important anniversary in the beautiful and historic cemetery on West Hill next to the University's own home. We remember the courage of those who fought in the Great War with great pride and honour the sacrifices they made, as well as those men and women who lost their lives in other conflicts."
115 graves in West Hill Cemetery belong to those who served in the armed forces and fell in the First World War. Also buried at West Hill are soldiers who fought and survived the War. Most notable is Brigadier Charles Calveley Foss, VC CB DSO (1885-1953). Foss - one of two VC holders buried at West Hill - was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Neuve Chappelle in 1915. The citation in the London Gazette on 22 August 1915 states:
For most conspicuous bravery at Neuve Chapelle on 12th March, 1915. After the enemy had captured a part of one of our trenches, and our counter-attack made with one Officer and 20 men having failed (all but two of the party being killed or wounded in the attempt), Captain Foss, on his own initiative, dashed forward with eight men, under heavy fire, attacked the enemy with bombs, and captured the position, including the 52 Germans occupying it. The capture of this position from the enemy was of the greatest importance, and the utmost bravery was displayed in essaying the task with so very few men.
Frederick Bishop, who attended Winchester Training College (now the University of Winchester) from 1906 to 1908, is also buried at West Hill, having been awarded the Military Cross for his service during the War. He died in the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1919.
Since 2016, University of Winchester academics and students have been researching the fascinating history of West Hill Cemetery from its opening in 1840. In addition, University alumni are undertaking a significant research project titled Winchester Training College - Roll Call of the Fallen 1914-1918. The project tells the story of the students and alumni who died in the First World War and are commemorated in the University's Chapel. The project website is: https://wtcfallen.com
Anyone wishing to attend the service should email: email@example.com by Friday 9 November.
Guests are asked to gather in West Hill Cemetery at 10.30am before the service starts at 10.40am. The service will end at about 11.20am. The reading of the names will start in The Stripe at 11.30am, with refreshments available from 12 noon. Cemetery tours start at 12.45pm.
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