The Battle of the Somme began on 1 July 1916 and ended in November of that year, when the weather and the exhaustion of both armies brought the battle to a ragged close. More than a million men lost their lives in this infamous battle, the British army alone lost 420,000 men and advanced only 2 miles over that summer and autumn. 12 of the 47 men on the St Margaret's War Memorial were killed during the Battle of the Somme. JRR Tolkien, who fought there, wrote: 'I lost my best friends on the Somme'. Churchill called it 'The Graveyards of Kitchener's Army'.
100 years after the end of the Battle of the Somme, over the weekend of the 19th and 20th November 2016, we will commemorate the Battle and honour some of the Oxford men who died fighting there in events at St Margaret’s Church and St Margaret’s Institute.
Saturday 19th at 8:00pm in St Margaret's Church, The Cherwell Singers present the concert “Witnesses to War” with music by those who fought, fell and lived through the Great War. There will be choral works and solo songs by Moeran, Butterworth, Gurney, Dyson, Sumsion, Parry and Vaughan Williams. Especially poignant in our concert will be a song by George Butterworth, who fell at the Somme, and a setting of the Magnificat by the promising young composer William Denis Browne, killed during the Gallipoli campaign the previous year. The baritone soloist will be Gareth John, winner of the Kathleen Ferrier prize, and the organ and piano will be played organist of the London Oratory Church, Benjamin Bloor
Sunday 20th from 2:00pm in St Margaret’s institute, there will be a Commemorative Exhibition featuring the men of St Margaret's, St Giles and St Matthew's Grandpont who fought in the Great War and a continuous showing in the hall of The Battle of the Somme - a film made in 1916 and shown both to people at home and to soldiers in the trenches that autumn - with the original cinema piano score. You are free to drop in or stay for the entire film.
At 3.45 p.m. there will be talks by Dr Kate Tiller, Reader in English Local History at Kellogg College on 'War Memorials and Local History' and by Liz Wade, Alison Bickmore and Liz Woolley on the men of the three parishes they have researched.
This will be followed at 4.55 p.m. by a new documentary film 66 Men of Grandpont 1914-1918 about the innovative community history project undertaken by Liz Woolley and her team. The Commemoration will end at about 5.45 pm.
Sunday 20that 6:00pm in St Margaret’s church you are then most welcome to attend a special Evensong at which the men who died at the Battle of the Somme will be remembered.
Globalising and Localising the Great War
Contact name: Liz Woolley
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Audience: Open to all