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First World War 100th Anniversary

Members of Studio One Artists Fred Praver, 82, Alec Tiffin, 85, Pauline Fynn, 68, and Maureen Heron, 70, at their exhibition at the Cafe Gallery in Queen's Theatre

Club News: Studio One Artists

Pauline Fynn talks about her group’s passion for painting and the theme of this year’s exhibition.

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Members of Studio One Artists Fred Praver, 82, Alec Tiffin, 85, Pauline Fynn, 68, and Maureen Heron, 70, at their exhibition at the Cafe Gallery in Queen's Theatre

Romford Pictures: War veterans celebrated at Hornchurch art exhibition

The human faces of war are the focus of a new attraction commemorating two significant anniversaries.

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Theatre manager Jai Sepple with the chair believed to have been moved by a ghost

Romford theatre’s plea for volunteers to help keep it supporting its community

A charity theatre that has restored two Romford war memorials and supported a social club for the elderly has made a plea for volunteers to help it continue its good work.

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The Harpoon Force regiment

Upminster author: Soldiers lay down lives for hidden reasons

Soldiers often lay down their lives on missions where they are not aware of the objectives.

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Andy Daniel as the eponymous Private Peaceful (Picture: Jonathan Keenan)

First World Way play Private Peaceful heads to Queen’s Theatre

An actor’s 90-year-old war veteran grandfather will be the guest of honour at a Queen’s Theatre production of an acclaimed First World War-inspired play.

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Hornchurch Nursing Centre held a 100th birthday party for Ivy Matthews as well as a vintage tea party that commemorated WW1. Ivy Matthews with her family.

Hornchurch woman celebrates 100th birthday

It is not just the First World War that is marking its centenary this summer.

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Representatives from the 10th Essex Regiment Living History Group outside the museum

Romford Pictures: Museum exhibition commemorating the sacrifices of Havering soldiers launches

An exhibition paying tribute to the men who fought in the “war to end all wars” was officially unveiled on Saturday.

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Rainham War Memorial on Monday. Picture: Jack G

First World War: MP Jon Cruddas demands answers over memorial hidden by scaffolding

MP Jon Cruddas has demanded an explanation from Havering Council after a memorial was left hidden by scaffolding on the centenary of the First World War.

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Stuart Forster had family on both sides during the first world war

First World War: ‘Most bizarre thing ever’ - man discovers family fought on both sides

Millions of people have this week been paying tribute to relatives who fought for their country in the First World War - but not many can say they had family on both sides.

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Alexander O'Neal will perform at this year's Havering Show

Havering Show line-up revealed

Fans of soul, disco and ska music will be digging out their dancing shoes after seeing the line-up for this year’s Havering Show.

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A First World War centenary service was held outside the Hornchurch War Memorial. It was for four Maori soldiers who died in Hornchurch as well as the 211 Hornchurch men who died fighting in the war.

Romford pictures: Havering commemorates 100 years since Britain joined the First World War

The soldiers of the First World War, the fallen, the wounded and the survivors, were remembered by the borough at a number of commemorative events.

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Rainham War Memorial on Monday. Picture: Jack G

First World War: Names of fallen soldiers hidden on unfinished Rainham memorial as millions mark centenary

As millions of people marked the centenary of the First World War this week, the names of fallen soldiers enscribed on one memorial remained hidden by plastic wrapping and surrounded by scaffolding.

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Two young girls and their dog in a jeep

Romford pictures: Thousands flock to Military and Flying Machines Show in Upminster

Hundreds of military vehicles, planes and displays were admired by thousands of visitors to the Essex HMVA Military and Flying Machines Show, this weekend.

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Military vehicles went on show on Saturday at Daymns Hall Aerodrome as part of Havering's First World War commemorations (Picture: Steve Poston)

First World War: Havering Council to take part in Lights Out

Havering Council today joins public institutions and individuals across the country in marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War by throwing its buildings into darkness.

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File photo dated 01/11/1915 of a British soldier paying his respects at the grave of a colleague near Cape Helles, where the Gallipoli landings took place. [Picture: PA]

First World War centenary: Events this weekend and on Monday set to commemorate the anniversary of Britain declaring war on Germany

The “war to end all wars” is set to be commemorated through a series of events being held from this weekend onwards.

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The cast performing. [Picture: Mark Sepple for Queen's Theatre]

First World War centenary: Community musical Paper Planes is a joy to watch and triumphantly celebrates the life of Sutton’s Farm pilot William Leefe Robinson

“We are humans in the wrong time.” This sentiment portraying the loss and heartbreak incurred by the First World War is a central theme in Queen’s Theatre’s spectacular Paper Planes, which tells the life story of Sutton’s Farm aerodrome pilot William Leefe Robinson.

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Volunteers from the Home Front Havering exhibition with objects from the attraction. [Picture: Havering Museum]

First World War centenary: Project portraying the war experiences of residents awarded more than £8,000 in funding

An attraction portraying the First World War experiences of local people has received more than £8,000 in funding.

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Georgina Hughes with her father's medals

First World War centenary: Tale of man who lay injured in No Man’s Land for two days to be told in new Havering exhibition

The tale of a man who lay ­severely injured in no man’s land for two days after ­being caught up in a bomb blast is one of many local stories that will be told at a new ­exhibition.

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William Leefe Robinson.  [Picture: Hornchurch Streets of Heroes by Richard Smith]

First World War: Heroic Hornchurch pilot celebrated in new play

Imagine flames engulfing an airship as it descends towards the ground with jubilant cheers cutting through the air from crowds witnessing the fall of an enemy machine.

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Maori soldiers graves buried at St Andrew's Church  Hornchurch,
Private Filitoua, age22 and Private Taleva age25

First World War centenary: Maori soldiers who came to Hornchurch set to be commemorated at remembrance service

Four Maori soldiers who died in Hornchurch more than 100 years ago are to be commemorated.

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Code-cracking secrets of Bletchley Park shared at Hornchurch Library

The secrets of code breaking were revealed during a not so secret talk by a member of the Bletchley Park Trust last week.

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Children is costume meet the drill sergeant Mr Walsh

Romford Pictures: Children take to trenches at Upminster school

Children ducked for cover while receiving their marching orders from teachers as they learned about the two world wars.

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Sopwith Pup aircraft 189 from night flying squadron at Sutton's Farm

First World War centenary: The pilots who worked to thwart the Zeppelin threat at Sutton’s Farm aerodrome

Images of gaping bayonet wounds, blown-off limbs and the intermingling of blood and mud in No Man’s Land are what spring to mind when considering the First World War.

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Help to track down Upminster war hero

Students are in need of some assistance as they try and track down not only a war hero, but their own ancestors who fought and lived through the First World War.

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Timeline of the First World War

1914

June 28:
Sarajevo:Postman’s son Gavrilo Princip shoots dead Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, and his wife. Princip wants a nation of united Yugoslavs, free from Austro-Hungarian rule.

July 28:
Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, which it blames for the assassination. There is already tension about Germany’s military might and ambitions to extend its territory. The growth of nationalism across Europe and territorial disputes have also left feelings running high, and key diplomatic alliances have already been formed. One between Britain, France and Russia is known as the Triple Entente. The banding together of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy is the Triple Alliance. Germany, its designs on invading France, enters Belgium.

August 4:
Britain, which had promised to defend neutral Belgium, declares war on Germany. A British Expeditionary Force of about 80,000 troops goes to France to tackle the German incursion. The first major action is the Battle of Mons, near the Belgian/French border. An estimated 5,000 Germans are killed. Politicians and military officials reckon the war will be over by Christmas.

August 12:
Britain declares war on Austria-Hungary.

September:
The allies win the week-long Battle of the Marne, near Paris, which sees more than one-million troops fighting on each side.

Casualties are high.Extensive networks of trenches are built in France and Belgium. They are difficult to attack and the fighting effectively reaches an impasse. October and November: Allied victory at the first Battle of Ypres in Belgium.

1915

January:
Two German Zeppelin airships bomb Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn. Britain extends its Defence of the Realm Act, giving the Government power to take over property for military use, control the pay and conditions of British workers, and censor newspapers.

April:
Poisonous gas is used – on both sides – at the second Battle of Ypres.

Late April:
Start of the eight-month Gallipoli campaign. British and French forces (including troops from Australia, New Zealand and India) try unsuccessfully to establish a sea route to Russia through (what is today) Turkey and fail to capture Constantinople, capital of the Ottoman empire. There are well over 200,000 casualties on each side.

Italy switches sides, fighting with Britain and its allies. Britain blockades German ports, causing shortages of food and other supplies. German submarines attempt to spread terror. In May, off southern Ireland, the passenger liner Lusitania is sunk. Among the near-1,200 victims are more than 100 Americans.

May:
Liberal Herbert Asquith’s Government faces accusations from the army about inadequate supplies. After a Cabinet split prompted by “The Great Shell Shortage”, Asquith becomes head of a coalition Government.

May 31:
Bombs are dropped on London from Zeppelins. The first such attack on the capital claims 28 lives and injures 60. By the end of May the following year, Zeppelins will be responsible for the deaths of at least 550 civilians in Britain.

Autumn:
Women are recruited to jobs traditionally carried out by men, such as working on buses and trains.

1916

February 9:
To boost its troop numbers, Britain starts conscripting men aged from 18 to 41.

February 21:
Start of the Battle of Verdun (in north-east France, near the Belgian border) which lasts until a week before Christmas. It is a victory for France but the country sees about 156,000 of its troops killed, with about 143,000 deaths on the German side.

May 21:
“British summertime” is brought in so factories and munitions suppliers are more productive.

May 31-June 1:
The Battle of Jutland, west of Denmark, is the war’s biggest naval battle and the only full-scale fight between battleships.Britain loses 14 vessels and Germany 11. The respective death tolls are about 6,000 and approximately 2,500. Historians later say the fight caused considerable damage to German ships and gave Britain greater control of the seas.

July 1:
Start of the Battle of the Somme, which lasts until the middle of November and is one of the bloodiest battles ever. It is won by British and French forces, but there are more than one million casualties and deaths. On the first day, Britain suffers about 60,000 casualties. British tanks go into action for the first time, at the Somme.

1917

February:
German forces fall back to defensive positions called the Hindenburg Line in France. It gives them a chance to rebuild their numbers.German triumphs in the east help trigger two revolutions in Russia, with Tsar Nicholas II abdicating. By the autumn, the Bolsheviks are in power, under Lenin – paving the way for a peace treaty between Russia and Germany.

April 6:
America declares war on Germany. Allied troops make a significant push. At the Battle of Arras, in France, for instance, British soldiers win ground but at a price: about 158,000 casualties and losses.

June:
With anti-German feeling growing, the British royal family changes its official name after a proclamation by King George V. It’s goodbye to Saxe-Coburg-Gotha as the House of Windsor is born.

July to November:
The Battle of Passchendaele is fought for the control of key ridges near the Belgian city of Ypres. It’s an allied victory, though not a total success. Estimates of casualties and losses are put at between about 200,000 and nearly 450,000 on the allied side, and 217,000 to about 410,000 for Germany.

1918

April 1:
The Royal Air Force and Women’s Royal Air Force are formed.

Three weeks later:
Fighter pilot Baron Manfred von Richthofen, Germany’s infamous “Red Baron”, is shot down and killed.

Spring:
German forces, bolstered by troops who had been fighting Russia, begin a major push on western front.

July-August:
An allied counter-attack at the second Battle of the Marne in France, involving several hundred tanks, leaves about 139,000 enemy soldiers dead or injured.

August:
The Battle of Amiens begins what comes to be known as the Hundred Days Offensive – an unstoppable advance. It effectively marks the end of trench warfare and sees troops on the move. Allied soldiers gain more than seven miles on the first day and many Germans surrender.

November 11:
At 11am, in the Forest of Compiègne about 60km north of Paris, an armistice (a suspension of hostilities) is signed.

June 28, 1919:
The Treaty of Versailles officially ends the war. The total number of military and civilian casualties is said to top 37million.


WW100

This year marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, a conflict that cost around 10 million lives and changed forever the lives of those who experienced it at home or on the battlefields of Europe.

Throughout the year, the Romford Recorder will be retelling stirring tales of bravery from the frontline and highlighting the terrifying moments that those back home endured, worrying about their loved ones as they listened for the far-off rumble of guns from mainland Europe.

Was your grandfather a war hero? Do you have carefully preserved photos from that time?

Share your stories with reporter Bethany Wyatt.

 

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