WW1 Remembered At Great Dorset Steam Fair

The 100th anniversary of World War One will be a big part of this year's Great Dorset Steam Fair, which starts today (Wednesday 27 August).

Organisers have announced a host of exhibits that will form the WW1 Special Display at this year’s event, which runs until Sunday (31 August). It is thought to be one of the biggest WW1 commemorative displays taking place in the UK this year.

The WW1 Special Display will be divided into three main areas, the “Western Front,” the “Home Front” and an Exhibition marquee being shared with the National Traction Engine Trust, which is celebrating its 60th Anniversary. Exhibits will include a Horse Remount Depot, The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment Living History Group, The LMS-Patriot Project known as “The Unknown Warrior,” steam engines, tractors, field guns, a tank, heavy artillery, cars, motorcycles, lorries, trucks, agricultural demonstrations and much more - all with unique WW1 stories to tell. Dr. Busker will even be performing some of the popular songs and tunes of the Great War on the piano.

Managing Director Martin Oliver says:

“With 2014 marking 100 years since the outbreak of the Great War, it is fitting that the Great Dorset Steam Fair marks this special anniversary with our own tribute display. Our WW1 display has been carefully and sensitively compiled and we hope that you will find it to be interesting and informative but most of all in honour and memory of all those who served their country in the 1914-1918 conflict, millions making the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.”  

The Horse Remount Depot will tell the true story of how horses and mules made it to the Western Front and what their lives was like when they got there, allowing visitors to ask questions and say hello to the animals. Just before arriving at GDSF, this group is riding 9 horses along the western front from Nieuwpoort on the Belgian Coast along the front through Ypres, Armentieres, Albert and Mons, and battlefields like Passchendaele and the Somme in period uniforms and tack to raise funds for the Royal British Legion and the Blue Cross

The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment Living History Group (50th & 97th) will aim to perpetuate the proud memory of those who lost their lives fighting for their Country by bringing history to life. As part of providing an accurate portrayal of the British soldier, the Group will be “manning” two lines of trenches that have been dug to re-create the image of life at the Front in France during the 1914-1918 conflict.

The WW1 Women’s Land Army Display is family based group that portray the vital roles played by women in the First World War. The formation of the Women’s Land Army led to over 20,000 women joining and this exhibit will seek to explore and explain the many varied and vital roles the Women’s Land Army took on.

Also on display will be The Lest We Forget Replica Mark IV Tank, a working scaled replica of a British Mark IV tank first introduced in 1917. It was originally built for a movie adaptation of the Magic Flute in 2003, though the film was not released until 2007.

The LMS-Patriot Project, a charitable group building a new steam memorial engine ‘The Unknown Warrior,’ will be transporting the partially complete locomotive from Llangollen to appear in the display. ‘The Unknown Warrior’ is the first all new standard gauge British built steam locomotive to be built entirely in Britain since 1960, and will commemorate the fallen from all conflicts since 1914.

There will also be a traditional Scout Group from Bournemouth, Dorset, wearing Scout uniforms from over 100 years ago and displaying traditional bell tents and campfires as used throughout the war. During World War One, Boy Scouts carried messages for the War Office and guarded important places, such as railway lines, water reservoirs and stretches of coastline. They learned to send semaphore messages with small flags, watched the skies for Zeppelin attacks and sounded their bugles to signal when an air raid was over.

A remembrance service in honour of all servicemen and civilians who lost their life in the First World War will be held in the Western Front Area of the WW1 display commencing at 4pm on Friday 30 August. The service will be conducted by The Rev’d Michael Foster, Chaplain to the Great Dorset Steam Fair.

Superintendent Pete Windle from Dorset Police said:

“Given the increased number of visitors to Dorset we would also encourage people driving into the county to take some practical steps for a smooth journey.
“Please ensure that you leave plenty of time, plan your journey and keep water in the car. You can keep updated with travel information at dorsetforyou.com/TravelDorset.”
The Great Dorset Steam Fair is located on the A354 at Tarrent Hinton, Blandford. The following routes are expected to be busy during the Fair:
- A354 between Puddletown to Blandford and Blandford to Salisbury
- A350 between Blandford and Shaftesbury
- C13 Dinah’s Hollow between Melbury Abbas and B3081 Cann Common is currently closed.

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