Forget Never

Forget Never

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Centenary Exhibition Launch at Wat Tyler

Saturday 27th September saw the launch of the First World War commemorative project “ Forget Never, Oublier Jamais, Vergessen Niemals” held at The Green Centre, Wat Tyler Country Park.

MP Stephen Metcalfe and Robert Sheridan looking through the Roll of honour list

Setting up artefacts ready for public viewing

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe launched this collaborative project in Parliament earlier in the year and has been working with Basildon Heritage Group and others to create a truly memorable local exhibition that will stand as a reminder of the sacrifices made 100 years ago.

The unique nature of this project, as recognised by the Lottery Heritage Fund (who awarded the project over £50,000), is that it also brings together Basildon with it's two Twin Towns of Meaux in France and Heiligenhaus in Germany to create a mobile, tri-lingual exhibition. Over the next four years the exhibition will grow as it travels to France and Germany as well as all corners of the Borough.

The exhibition explores life in the three townships; attitudes from three points of view and, most importantly, allows us to remember the people – those who died, those who suffered incredible injuries and of course those who survived and kept the communities running during this important period in our history.

Prominent displays in the exhibitions feature:

  • Images of what Basildon was like during the First World War
  • A display that discusses the Heiligenhaus Youth Visit held in August 2014, where youths from Basildon, Heiligenhaus and Meaux met to plan a youth conference for 2015 based on the themes of conflict resolution and reconciliation.
  • Research into 3 soldiers, George Burnett from Basildon, Louis Vallin from Meaux and Albert Kiekert from Heiligenhaus
  • Research, images and information on Basildon's MP during WW1, The Right Honourable Rupert Edward Cecil Lee Guinness, 2nd Earl of Iveagh 
  • Images and information on a commemorative cricket match held at Wickford Cricket Club to raise funds for a commemorative plaque for the club
  • Images of the 9 War Memorials across the Basildon Borough
  • A selection of properganda postcards from across Europe
  • A selection of artworks created by School pupils and local artists
Here are a few pictures from the exhibition launch
Marion Cunningham presenting her book, a true story of War Time Britain -'For the love of Ameila' based on the real life story of her grandparents

Our Edwardian lady welcomes visitors to the exhibition

A busy bustling exhibition

Visitors were invited to look through the roll of honour and write the name of a solider onto a cross to lay by our commemorative mosaic made by local pupils and local artist Lisa Smith

Our Edwardian volunteers 

Visitors spent time designing their own medals in our art and craft area

"Read all about it" our paper boy made announcements throughout the day, of key facts that lead up to the outbreak of World War 1 t

Laindon Community Choir provided visitors with beautiful renditions of famous World War 1 tunes
Stephen Metcalfe chats with Matthew Edson, one of our young people that took part in our youth visit to Heiligenhaus

Trying on soldiers helmets 

Meeting serving soliders

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe officially opens the exhibition

Local funeral directors Cribbs, provided the horses for the famous War Horse film, at the exhibition visitors enjoyed watching the Real War Horse documentary that  Tells the true story of the million of British horses who served in WW1

Creative crafts and the opportunity to view propaganda postcards from around Europe

Calling everyone to attention!

Visitors viewing a short film that was produced by Pitsea Junior School on the history of Basildon during WW1

Matthew Edson reads his presentation regarding his experiences, thoughts and impact that the young peoples visit has had on his views regarding the education of young people on World War 1

Ken Porter showing St Martin's Church Reverend Esther Mcafferty and husband Peter around the exhibition

A father and son place a cross around the commemorative mosaic

Thomas all dressed ready for parade with a replica Enfield rifle

Tony Ball and Stephen Metcalfe discussing Basildons MP during World War 1, The Right Honourable Rupert Guinness 2nd Earl of Iveagh

Stunning glass work donated to Forget Never by Spellbound glass, featuring images of Louis Vallin, George Burnett and Albert Kiekert
Angie and Debbie from Spell Bound Glass

Basildon Heritage have spent the last two years researching facts and information about local people who fell during the conflict one hundred years ago, which has been culminated into a Roll of Honour Book with the names of 342 soldiers. A copy of the Roll of Honour was presented to each parish during the remembrance services held on the 4th August.

A variety of local archive and historical groups attended the opening to showcase research and findings relating to their parishes history during World War 1.

The exhibition will be open daily 10am -4pm until the end of October 2014 before moving on to Meaux in France in December and then Heiligenhaus in Germany in February.

If you would like any further information regarding the exhibition please contact the project manager, Lisa Smith. No 1, The Laboratory, Wat Tyler Country Park, Pitsea Hall Lane, Pitsea, SS16 4UH - Email: the_laboratory@ or Phone: 07970 332097