Naming The Men WWI Commemoration Event by Charron Pugsley-Hill WWI Commemoration Artist

NAMING THE MEN and a Woman-from Peterborough who died in WWI A WWI Commemoration  event to be held at The Guildhall Cathedral Square Peterborough on the 9th and 10th November 2018 will be led by myself Charron Pugsley-Hill WWI Commemoration Artist in partnership with Peterborough City Council.

On Sunday the 11th November 2018 it is a hundred years since the signing of the Armistice  that led to the cessation of fighting on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. The formal ending of The Great War occurred some months later in 1919. It is thought that 9 million service personnel and 7 million civilians died during the war worldwide. The war to end all wars.

On Friday the 9th and Saturday the 10th November 1177 men and the 1 woman who died from Peterborough in service or as a result of enemy action will be named and each remembered as an individual, a son, a father, a husband, a brother, a daughter, a friend who walked the streets  of Peterborough as we do today.

In Peterborough 1177 men died fighting in WWI and one woman who died when the ship RMS Hesperian sank after hitting a mine. This was a huge proportion of the population of the city which at the time numbered about 30,000. These men may be the relatives of people living today a hundred years on in the city or further afield as families have moved away since that time. Many of the people who now live in the city will have relatives who fought and died in WWI as there were not many countries around the world who were not involved in this widespread conflict.

The event NAMING THE MEN will speak aloud the names of all these men and the 1 woman who died as a result of enemy action in The Great War. It will also tell some of the fascinating stories from the time some of which are told below.

Commemorative postcards will be given to the public with the individuals names on the cards as the name is read aloud in the square. 

Members of the public will be invited and encouraged to read aloud the names of the men during the event.

Nurse Edith Cavell (which rhymes with Gravel when spoken) was executed in 1915 for helping hundreds of allied soldiers escape the Germans in occupied Brussels. She had been a pupil teacher at Laurel Court School in 1884. She learnt fluent French at the school which is situated to the right of the Cathedral (image overleaf)

In 2015 THE BLANKET OF POPPIES  created by Artist Charron Pugsley-Hill and Eve Marshall Artisan Felter with 49 women was laid on Peterborough War Memorial to commemorate the centenary of her execution in Brussels at dawn on a cold October morning. See a previous blog at

You can see a film of her story  and the laying of the blanket in Peterborough with Artist Charron Pugsley-Hill at–nc&t=1525s

Ethel Bannister was the only Peterborough woman killed as a result of enemy action in WWI. She was the third daughter of Mr and Mrs T Bannister of the “Greyhound”public house, Market Place Peterborough.

 Ethel was  on the passenger liner RMS HESPERIAN when it was hit by a  torpedo off the coast of Ireland on the 6th September 1915. It was the same submarine that had blasted the LUSITANIA  a few months earlier. The HESPERIAN took over a day to sink  whilst being towed gently to the nearby coast of Ireland. 32 passengers died when a lifeboat turned whilst being lowered into the sea. Ethel unluckily became Peterboroughs only female casualty of The Great War.

William Harold Jolley was born on 18th October 1889 at 9 Exchange Street, Peterborough. His parents were Elizabeth Jolley and James Jolley, who was a master tailor. Their clothiers shop was located where Queensgate Shopping Centre now stands. William was the youngest of twelve children. 

William joined the army at the outbreak of war in August 1914 and was with C Company, 1st/3rd Royal Fusiliers, City of London Regiment.

William was killed on 1st July 1916 after taking part in the opening attack on the first day of the Battle of the Somme at Gommecourt. His name is on the Thiepval Memorial, France as he has no known grave. Peterborough Artist Charron Pugsley-Hill was on the frontline at Gommecourt at dawn a hundred years on commemorating all those who died that day-the first day of The Battle of The Somme.

The local paper The Peterborough Advertiser was keeping a weekly count in 1914 of what it called The temperature of Peterboroughs patriotism. It kept a count of the men aged 19-38 who had joined The Northamptonshire Regiments. The first thermometer dated the 21st November stood at 1320, this was only a few months after the war began.

I have been creating a series of paintings and installations commemorating  and telling stories from WWI since 2014 many of which have been created on site in France and Belgium. The installations have included THE SKY OF POPPIES in Queensgate Peterborough to commemorate The battle of The Somme and involved hundreds of people in its creation as well as felted blankets to commemorate nurse Edith Cavell and The Lonely ANZAC that were laid on The War Memorial to commemorate their deaths. More of my work can be seen on Youtube and in my blogs.

Thank you to:

 Peterborough City Council for their enthusiasm and partnership in much of my work including Naming the Men , The Follett Trust, Earl Fitzwilliam Trust, PPS Print for creating the postcards and banners, David Grey and his amazing book Peterborough at War that has become my bible and The Royal British Legion for their support again with this event but all the others I have been involved with, and all the volunteers including Helen Catling who collated all the names into a format for the readings. Thank you all.

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