Lest we forget

Paganel Primary visit Lodge Hill Cemetery

Birmingham remembers the role of it’s citizens in World War One in this week, one hundred years since it’s end.  This weekend saw a huge children’s concert at the Genting Arena in Birmingham performed entirely by over 3000 children and drawn from regions across the UK.  Many more events will be happening across Birmingham – join us, organise your own memorial or visit to one of the many war memorials across Birmingham.

War memorials are something you’ll find all over our city and in surprising places, and where better to start finding out about our World War One heritage than paying a visit?   Over the past four years children from Paganel Primary School have been researching the stories of World War One soldiers buried at Lodge Hill Cemetery, where 500 soldiers are buried, and will be returning there next week.

Birmingham Tramworkers remembered at Wheeler's Lane Memorial

Birmingham Tramworkers remembered at Wheeler’s Lane Memorial

Discovering the stories of soldiers they find buried there leads to many questions about what was happening in Birmingham during this time.  The Active Wellbeing Society has been working with People’s Heritage Co-operative to explore Birmingham’s World War Heritage.  Birmingham was a major hospital hub, with as many injured soldiers being treated here as there were  citizens, which must have had a major impact.  Also Birmingham was important in munitions manufacture for the war effort in which many of our women worked.  World War One and the lack of parents at home had a huge impact on home life for children, many taking on much of the responsibility of childcare and looking after the home.

War memorials can be found in unusual places near to where we live and work (like Tramway Workers War Memorial on Wheelers Lane, Steelhouse Lane Lockup, Hollie Lucas Memorial on Hollybank Road or Rookery school memorial  – (see War memorials online or War Memorials in Birmingham).  Visit memorials close to you to spend a few moments to think on the sacrifices made, explore the lives of people being remembered, visit an exhhibition like Voices of War and Peace at Library of Birmingham or even have a game of football and remember the 12,320 Birmingham people who died during the First World War, along with 35,000 who were injured and some 500,000 soldiers who were treated in our hospitals during World War One:

A family’s grief for those who died,
Knows no frontier or a country’s pride
Those lost on sea, on land or sky,
Lie silent as their loved ones cry.
Remembered now and for ever more,
May their sacrifice bring an end to war.

Ron Dawson

Co-Operative Society May Day Float. 1920.
[MS 4614/1] Thanks Library of Birmingham

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