Preparing for the WWI Centenary

Visitors to Woburn Abbey and Gardens earlier this month may have been surprised to see a group of World War I soldiers training in the grounds. On Saturday 10th May 2014 the North Court became a parade ground for the 10th Essex Living History Group.

To mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War I this August, the group will be taking part in a number of remembrance parades across the channel in Belgium and France. They will be travelling out to the town of Mons in Belgium and following the route that the ‘Old Contemptibles’  took on their withdrawal from the area via Le Cateau. Practicing their discipline and drill in front of visitors to the Abbey and Gardens should stand them in good stead for the big event.

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The living history group will be marching and cycling along the ‘Old Contemptibles’ route in order to raise money for the charity Combat Stress and to pay respectful remembrance to the fallen of all nations who were involved in the conflict. Combat Stress is a charity that helps ex-service personnel suffering from psychological injuries and mental health problems in the UK.

The group’s expedition includes a number of organised parades and official functions to commemorate the centenary and the group is honoured and proud to have been invited to be part of such a poignant occasion.

Ian Church

Archives Assistant and member of 10th Essex Living History Group

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