Visit Southampton

First World War Centenary

    • Poppies

    Poppies

We are now 100 years on from the end of the First World War.
We are all connected to the First World War, either through our own family history, the heritage of our local communities or because of its long-term impact on society and the world we live in today.

During the First World War, Southampton Docks became the number one military embarkation port. Troops marched through the town on their way to the trenches, many never to return. The war had a profound effect on the Home Front of the country, including Southampton.
 
The Council for British Archaeology is coordinating a national project to record the remains of surviving sites, structures and buildings of the First World War. This Home Front Legacy Project runs throughout the First World War centenary period, 2014 to 2018. The records will eventually be included in local Historic Environment Records (HERs), including the Southampton HER.
Southampton Docks
During the First World War Southampton Docks were requisitioned as No.1 Military Embarkation Port for troops leaving for the war in France. Troops marched through the Bargate on their way to the trenches, many never to return. The war had a profound effect on the Home Front of the Country, including Southampton. 
Southampton Common
The Common served as an army camp for soldiers waiting to embark. Local halls were used in army 
recruitment drives, perhaps including the former drill hall in St Mary’s Road, now a sports centre.
Factories were turned over to war production. A large steel rolling mill was built at Weston Shore. This was demolished in about 1990, although part of the boundary wall survives. 
Jetty
In 1917 a large jetty was built for military use to the west of Royal Pier. This was later demolished and any remains now lie partly under Mayflower Park. 
Southampton University
As the wounded started to arrive from France, some large houses were converted into hospitals. The newly opened University College in Highfield, the forerunner of Southampton University, became a military hospital for the duration of the war. Buildings such as Bevois Mount House were used to house prisoners of war.
Memorials
After the war, the Cenotaph and other war memorials were built to commemorate the fallen. The Cenotaph was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the first version of a template later used for the Whitehall cenotaph and other war memorials. A memorial was built at Southampton Golf Course to commemorate a war horse called Warrior. 
    • Silent Soldiers

    Silent Soldiers

    • Silent Silhouette at The Cenotaph

    Silent Silhouette at The Cenotaph - Photo Credit: Southampton City Council

    • Silhouette at Southampton Old Cemetery

    Silhouette at Southampton Old Cemetery - Photo Credit: Friends of Southampton Old Cemetery

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Southampton City Council have made a donation for the statues to the Royal British Legion, who have created the 1.6 metre tall figures as part of their Silent Silhouettes Campaign as a 'Thank You' to the First World War generation who served, sacrificed, rebuilt and changed the nation.The figures also represent those who returned home, but whose lives would never be the same again.

The Silent Silhouettes commemorate the 1.1 million British and Empire service men and women who died during the war – which ended in November 1918. In addition to the iconic image of a 'Tommy' (the original Silent Soldier) there are equally significant representatives of the members of the communities the nation says thank you to, including those who gave medical support, soldiers from across the commonwealth, RAF/RFC, Navy, munition factory workers and Suffragettes who lead the fight for votes for women. They all helped makes us the nation we are today.
 
Seventeen life-size silhouettes have been placed across Southampton to mark 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
A figure is located in each council ward and one near the Cenotaph.
In addition to the iconic image of a 'Tommy', there will be RAF, Commonwealth and Suffragette Silhouettes, representing members of the communities.
 
Locations of where these will be placed are

The Cenotaph  / Tommy
Bargate Ward - South side of The Bargate Monument / Tommy
Bassett Ward - By War Memorial on Bassett Avenue / Tommy
Bevois Ward - Rockstone Place Park / Commonwealth
Bitterne Ward - St Christopher's Church, Pepys Avenue, Thornhill / Tommy
Bitterne Park Ward - Riverside Park entrance by Cobden Bridge / Tommy (Removed due to vandalism)
Coxford Ward - Lordshill Library / Tommy
Freemantle Ward - Shirley Road, near St Marks CE Primary School / Tommy
Harefield Ward - Bitterne Library / RAF
Millbrook Ward - Blighmont Army Reserve Centre / Tommy
Peartree Ward - By benches on top of the hill on Bitterne Road / RAF
Portswood Ward - Portswood Recreational Ground / Suffragette
Redbridge Ward - Romsey Road, junction with Wimpson Lane and Rownhams Road / Suffragette
Shirley Ward - Southampton Old Cemetery, by Titanic Bench, near The Cross of Sacrifice / Suffragette
Sholing Ward - Sholing Green, Off Kathleen Road / Tommy
Swaythling Ward - Daisy Dip entrance, Bluebell Road / Suffragette
Woolston Ward - Millennium Gardens, Bridge Road / RAF

View the locations on the Google Map below

More Information

First World War Centenary website > 

Royal Mail Stamps
Royal Mail are issuing a landmark series of Special Stamps to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. There will be 30 stamps in total – six per year from 2014 to 2018. Find out more > 

Hollybrook War Memorial
Hidden away, inside the entrance to Hollybrook Cemetery, opposite Southampton General Hospital is a national First World War memorial few people know about. Yet, it is as important as its famous counterparts like the Menin Gate at Ypres and Thiepval on the Somme. The Hollybrook Memorial was unveiled by the War Graves Commission in 1930. It commemorates by name the members of the Commonwealth land and air forces who were lost or buried at sea or whose final resting place is unknown. Find out more >

Royal British Legion - #THANK YOU100
100 years ago the First World War ended, and a new world began. The example and experience of those who lived through it shaped the world we live in today. In 2018 The Royal British Legion is leading the nation in saying Thank You to all who served, sacrificed and changed our world. Join in the conversation using #THANKYOU100  Find out more > 

Events you have missed..

First World War Season: All Quiet on the Western Front (PG)
18 April / NST City

The epic screen adaption of Erich Maria Remarque’s famed novel follows a group of German teenagers who enlist for WW1. They soon discover war is not about heroism but about pain, suffering and death.
Directed by Lewis Milestone and winner of the Best Picture Oscar in 1930.

First World War Season: Oh! What a Lovely War (PG)
19 April / NST City
Based on the stage show developed by Joan Littlewood at the Theatre Workshop, this musical treatment of WW1 follows the Smith family whose optimism is shattered as they come to realise the reality of warfare.
Directed by Richard Attenborough and winner of five BAFTAs.

Birdsong
17 - 21 April / NST Campus
A mesmerising story of love and courage based on the bestselling novel by Sebastian Faulks, live on stage during the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

First World War Season: A Very Long Engagement (15)
20 April / NST City
Jean-Pierre Juenet’s French war drama follows a young woman’s fight to discover the fate of her lover at the close of WW1. Directed and co-written by Jeunet, the film was nominated for two Academy Awards and won five César Awards. Starring Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel and Marion Cotillard.
 

Finding a Way Back Home from War: English Literature after 1918
26 April / University of Southampton 
As part of the 'Great War: Unknown War' lecture series and given by Professor Dan Brown, exploring how World War I was seen by many writers working from 1914 to 1930 as a cultural as well as a political crisis - as the culmination and damnation of traditional Western culture. 

Bully Beef and Whizzbangs
7 May / Empire Room, Royal Victoria Country Park 
Royal Victoria Country Park, in partnership with SUP Theatre Company, presented this new award-winning production written to mark the centenary of the 1918 Armistice.  It takes a wry and often humorous look at life in a WW1 trench through the eyes of its two reluctant heroes.

Healing the Wounds of War: Nature and the Therapeutic Arts in the First World War
10 May / University of Southampton 
   
Injury and rehabilitation among soldiers of the First World War is the subject of the next lecture in the 'Unknown War' series at the University of Southampton. 

A Crude History of the Great War: Middle East Oil and the Great Powers, 1908-27
24 May / University of Southampton 

As Mosul and its oil continues to fuel conflict in Iraq and the wider region, Jonathan Conlin considers the race to develop its oil reserves that took place a century ago, which saw the emergence of energy security as a paramount concern for the Great Powers, in war and in peace - as well as the emergence of the multi-national oil companies we know as Shell, BP, Total and ExxonMobil. This lecture considered four moments in the struggle to establish who owned the region's vast oil reserves: from pre-war claims staked by Arab sheikhs facing the venal regime of the Ottoman sultan, Abdülhamid, through the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement and on, to the 1923 Lausanne Conference, which saw the haughty British diplomat George Nathaniel Curzon trying to hold erstwhile allies together in the face of a resurgent Turkey led by Mustapha Kemal. Was Mosul's oil Ottoman, British, French, Arab...or Iraqi? 

War Horse
16 May - 9 June / Mayflower Theatre
Following 8 record-breaking years in London’s West End and having played in 11 countries around the world to over 7 million people, the National Theatre’s acclaimed play War Horse will return to Southampton in Spring 2018.  

'Dazzle': Disguise and Disruption in War and Art
30 June University of Southampton
As part of the University’s Great War Unknown War programme to mark the centenary of the First World War, a study day, ‘DAZZLE – Disguise and Disruption in War and Art’, featuring specialist speakers on dazzle camouflage, and its relationship to modern art movements such as Vorticism, the study day complements a major exhibition at Lymington’s St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, and a variety of activities planned to take place in Lymington and Southampton. 

Armed Forces Day
Sat 30 June at Royal Victoria Country Park
A fun family event to celebrate the role of the Armed Forces, linked to the history of the Royal Victoria Military Hospital that once stood on the site of the country park.  With historical re-enactments, museum and heritage stalls, charity display stands, brass band, guided walks, carriage rides and family activities.
 

Southampton Armed Forces Day
Sunday 1 July in Guildhall Square 
Southampton has a long military history and 2018 is the centenary year of the Royal Air Force, 100 years since the end of WW1 and the 10th anniversary of Armed Forces Day took place with a  Parade and static displays including a Chieftain tank and entertainment to celebrate, support and thank our Armed Forces personnel.
 

Southampton from Blitz to D-Day walk
1st July 
In support of Armed Forces day Southampton Tourist Guides Association offered FREE walks telling the story of Southampton in the Second World War.  

FoSOC Memories of the Great War Walk
19 August / Southampton Common
Join the Friends of Southampton Old Cemetery on this special themed guided walk. All walks start just inside the main gates at the end of Cemetery Road where parking is available. 
 
WWI Hollybrook Memorial Q&A
15 September  10am - 12noon
Hollybrook Cemetery, Tremona Road, Southampton SO16 6HW

As part of the HLF Funded Forgotten Wrecks of the First World War project, the Maritime Archaeology Trust have produced a booklet, video and a 3D virtual tour of the First World War Hollybrook Memorial.
This national memorial commemorates 1,930 personnel of the land and air forces who have no grave but the sea. Many of the ships and personnel commemorated here had Southampton connections. The memorial is located on the right, just inside the main Hollybrook Cemetery gate, Tremona Road.
 
Flower Festival    "PEACE" St Joseph's Church, Bugle Street
15 September 2018 - 22 September 2018  10am - 2pm (Excluding Mass times)
Commemorating The Centenary of World War 1 1918 - 2018
"Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God"  Matthew 5v9
Commemorating the Centenary of the ending of the First World War in 1918. The Flower Festival banner will be entitled "PEACE".
A lot of research, reading, designing and planning has taken place behind the scene, so as to ensure that this festival will be worthy of commemorating the thousands of men, women and children from Britain, and her far flung Empire, who gave up so much for World Peace.
 
Journey's End (12A)
26 Sept 7.30pm - 9.30pm / Royal Victoria Country Park / £10
To mark the centenary of the First World War Eastleigh Film Festival has teamed up with Royal Victoria Country Park to screen a critically acclaimed war film in the park's stunning refurbished Chapel. Asa Butterfield and Sam Claflin star alongside Paul Bettany in the newest adaptation of R. C. Sherriff's story of British soldiers in French Warfare in the First World War. 
 
Saints at War - The Great War
18 October / SeaCity Museum / 3pm - 4pm / £4
The First World War was a pivotal moment for Britain. Join Saints FC historian David Bull in exploring the fascinating stories of Saints during this period. Ticket includes book signings of David’s new book and admission to exhibition. 
 
The Flanders Poppy - Symbol of Remembrance
25 October - Bitterne Library 7pm
Friends of Bitterne Library organised a talk by Geoff Watts entitled The Flanders Poppy - Symbol of Remembrance. There was also be a display in memory of those lost during WW1 who came from the Bitterne area, courtesy of Bitterne Local History Society.  
 

Festival of Remembrance
11 November / 7pm / Mayflower Theatre
The Royal British Legion organised a special performance to commemorate those who have lost their lives in conflicts. 100 years to the very day since the end of World War One, everyone enjoyed an evening of music, song, poetry and special memories. Performed by a 300 strong cast of choirs, military drums and the professional Showcase Philharmagic Orchestra, who are all volunteering their time, for an unforgettable evening. The performance embraced the Act of Remembrance with time to reflect and give thanks to our fallen heroes. Music included well known favourites by Eric Coates, Vera Lynn, Edward Elgar & Karl Jenkins plus your chance to sing along with memorable tunes such as Keep the Home Fires Burning & Roll Out the Barrel.In collaboration with the Showcase Performance Company.

Remembrance Service
Sunday 11 November / 10.55am / The Cenotaph
The City of Southampton Annual Civic Remembrance Service was held at the Cenotaph, Southampton at 10.55am. Conducted by The Venerable Dr Peter Rouch, Archdeacon of Bournemouth, Monsignor Canon Vincent Harvey Dean of Southampton, with John Attenborough, The Mayor's Chaplain / Port Chaplain, Mission to Seafarers - Southampton and assisted by representatives of the Churches and Faith Communities of the City.
Before the Service started, at approximately 10.35am, there was a Military and Veterans Parade to the Cenotaph starting from Guildhall Square. The Parade was then followed by the Mayoral Civic Procession.
Music and singing was led by The City of Southampton Albion Band and the Southampton Choral Society.
All Welcome to Attend.
 
Southampton from Blitz to D Day Guided Walk.
Sunday 11 Nov at 11.30am / Meet in Guildhall Square
The Remembrance Day walk with the Southampton Tourist Guides Association, recalled the struggles of the people of Southampton during the darkest days of war. 
 
Remembrance Sunday Ceremony
Sunday 11th November / 3pm / Southampton Old Cemetery
The Friends of Southampton Old Cemetery Remembrance Sunday Ceremony.
 

Armistice Talk: 1918 - An Orderley Abroad

Thurs 15 Nov / 7.30pm - 8.30pm / Tudor House / £5 (£4 FOSMAG, SAS, S&H Volunteers) / Prebook 023 8083 4536
Commemorating the centenary of the end of the First World War, Museums Learning Officer Andy Skinner uncovered the story of a medical orderley, Albert Dartnell, on the Front Line in 1918.
The work of medical staff in wartime is often overlooked, but an intriguing diary sheds new lights on their vital role.