22 September 2023| | 2 min read
Newcastle to commemorate War Memorial centenary
On Wednesday 26 September 1923, thousands of local people gathered in Eldon Square ready for the unveiling of a memorial to those lost in World War 1.
Many of those present had helped pay for the imposing monument after an appeal for members of the public to contribute a shilling each.
Representatives of the Northumberland Fusiliers, the Northumberland Hussars, the Northumbrian Brigade R.F.A and the Navy took up positions at the four corners of the base of the monument. Stood with there heads bowed and arms reversed they seemed almost part of the memorial itself.
Then Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Alderman William Bramble, welcomed Field Marshal Earl Haig and his wife Countess Haig before inviting the Earl to perform the unveiling ceremony.
The Band of Buglers of Northumberland Fusiliers played the Last Post and sounded the Reveille before the Lord Mayor accepted the memorial on behalf of the citizens of Newcastle.
The Lady Mayoress laid a wreath of red and cream roses that bore the inscription “In token of affectionate remembrance from the Citizens of Newcastle upon Tyne” followed by representatives of military units.
Finally, relatives of those who had lost their lives came forward to pay their own tributes. Some were expensive displays, others were just a handful of roses, but each was as important and moving as the next.
Now, 100 years later, on Tuesday 26 September 2023, the Lord Mayor will be joined by representatives of the armed forces and veterans on that same spot to remember to those who lost their lives in World War 1.
Just like a century ago the public are invited to attend and pay their respects but this time there won’t be any long speeches. A Bugler from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers will play, flowers will be laid in tribute and people will be able to remember and pay their own personal respects to those who sacrifice so much to keep us safe.
Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor Veronica Dunn, said “Many of those who lost their lives in World War 1 have no grave of their own. Their families had nowhere to go to pay their respects, to lay flowers or to spend time thinking about their loved ones.
“The people of Newcastle, many who had lost someone themselves, paid for the War Memorial so we could all have a place to remember and reflect. Their generosity has provided an enduring symbol of sacrifice and remembrance that will be at the heart of our city for generations to come.”
Newcastle’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Charlie Gray said “In September 1923, not even 5 years had passed since the Armistice of November 1918 and the people of Newcastle were still grieving for those that hadn't returned from the Great War. But they were dedicated to ensuring that the sacrifice of their loved ones wouldn't be forgotten.
“By gathering to mark the centenary of the War Memorial we will be remembering the lives that were lost and changed forever during the First World War, and in conflicts since. Whilst reflecting on the dedication of the citizens of our City to ensuring that those who died in the service of our country haven't been forgotten and honouring those who serve the country today."
The commemoration event will take place at the War Memorial in Old Eldon Square at 11 am on Tuesday 26 September 2023.