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Berwick’s Contribution to the First World War

This project was run in 2015/16 by Cittaslow Berwick, in partnership with the Berwick Branch of The Royal British Legion and in association with the Berwick 900 Festival, and is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The project provided opportunities for people of all ages and interests to explore and engage with Berwick’s World War One heritage through a variety of activities, exhibitions and events exploring four main themes:

  1. Life on the Home Front in Berwick-upon-Tweed during World War One.
  2. The experiences of local soldiers in 1915 (e.g. 1st KOSB in the Gallipoli Campaign and 7th Northumberland Fusiliers at St Julien during 2nd Battles of Ypres).
  3. The stories of World War One Berwick servicemen whose names are recorded on the town’s war memorials or who were made Honorary Freemen because of their service.
  4. Investigating contemporary accounts and local newspapers of the time.

Volunteers were trained in skills needed to research, record and present material related to the First World War, including using the collections of Berwick Record Office and the King’s Own Scottish Borderers Museum.  

Interactive sessions led by staff from Berwick Record Office and experienced living history presenters were organised for Year 5 children in local schools, together with a series of workshops hosted by Longridge Towers School on 23rd and 24th April.

Key events in the project took place in April 2015, as April 25th marked the centenary of the first day of the Gallipoli Landings and of the Battle of St Julien (2nd Battle of Ypres) in which battalions recruited in Berwick-upon-Tweed and the surrounding area played significant roles.

A weekend of exhibitions, talks and activities was staged in Berwick Town Hall on 25th and 26th April as part of the Berwick 900 Festival. The commemorative event programme included: