Talks and exhibitions planned for Deepings First World War commemmoration

Deepings First World War commemoration group members Jill Thomas, left, and Cathy Pridgeon, with a recipe book compiled at the time of the war by The Market Deeping Guild of Help, and inset, a poppy worn at the time of the first Cenotaph remembrance service
Deepings First World War commemoration group members Jill Thomas, left, and Cathy Pridgeon, with a recipe book compiled at the time of the war by The Market Deeping Guild of Help, and inset, a poppy worn at the time of the first Cenotaph remembrance service
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Preparations for Great War commemorations in The Deepings are soaring ahead and will centre around an exhibition over the Armistice weekend in November.

Judy Stevens of The Deepings’ First World War Commemoration Project said this week that things were coming together well.

“We’ve been going for about a year now, gathering artefacts and stories and are hoping we will be granted some lottery funding in the near future,” she said.

Researchers already have details of more than 200 men – and a few women – from the area who saw active service during the 1914-18 conflict.

A range of artefacts, on loan from local people, will be on display, including a fine collection of silk cards - hand-made embroidered cards that soldiers bought in France and sent home to their mothers and sweethearts.

A talk on the silk cards, embroideries and other memorabilia will be given by Elaine Harburn on March 11 at The Institute in Church Street, Deeping St James.

Project workers have gone to the other side of the world in their search for stories of Deepings’ people who went away to war, some never to return.

When Bill, the son of Market Deeping residents William and Rose Ellen Newborn Plowright, sailed off full of hope and expectation to start a new life in Canada in 1912, he could not have anticipated that just three years later he would be back in England as part of the Number 5 Canadian Field Ambulance Army Medical Corps.

He was en route to France and the unimaginable horrors that the war and, specifically, the Battle of Vimy Ridge, would hold.

On April 29, 1917, Bill and three other soldiers had just carried a wounded soldier on a stretcher to the Vimy First Aid Post when a shell came through the upper wall.

A piece of masonry hit Bill on the head, killing him instantly.

His brother Laurence, known as Thomas, a former Deepings’ boy scout, was one of the youngest who saw active service – he served in the trenches and took part in three bayonet charges before he was 19.

He was awarded the Military Medal for great courage and gallantry in capturing a German machine gun and crew single-handed and for devotion to duty during operations east of Ypres on July 31, 1917.

Thomas survived the war, married Clara Cooke in Stamford in 1925 and died aged 82 in 1978.

Nicola Allen of Australia whose great-grandmother Susannah was Bill Plowright’s aunt, is hoping to visit England to see the exhibition.

The Deepings’ project group has already published a book of First World War recipes and is holding a series of talks entitled Deepings Will Remember Them.