Communities across Sussex have come together to commemorate the First World War with displays and events at railway stations.
Sussex Community Rail Partnership has worked with communities to create the displays, based around ‘Silent Soldier’ silhouettes of First World War soldiers, airmen, nurses and suffragettes, provided by the Royal British Legion and kindly supported by Southern.
At Angmering, children from Georgian Gardens school read out their poems and displayed pictures and a poppy ‘shawl’ around a suffragette, in a ceremony attended by parents, station staff and the Mayor.
At Horsham station, our friends at HMP Ford stepped in to lend a beautiful Remembrance metalwork sculpture made in their workshop, for the display. The solemn event was attended by the Mayor and soldiers stood to attention.
At Bishopstone, Denton Community Primary children made a huge poppy with collage and paint. The poppy is displayed along with a soldier silhouette, flag and artwork at Bishopstone station – the only station in the country to have a gun emplacement and look-out post on its roof. Maria Caulfield MP is to attend a ceremony and the official signing of the station adoption by the Friends of Bishopstone.
At Ford station, the silhouette of an airman was chosen to reflect the nearby Ford Airfield, construction of which began in 1917.
At Appledore, the local community contributed three silhouettes which line the platform as if wearily returning from the battle front.
At Lewes, a soldier silhouette complete with sandbags, poppies and poppy bunting was the focus of a ceremony. A suffragette silhouette will take its place in a soup kitchen organised by the Mayor and the independent Runaway station café.
Kevin Boorman, volunteer Director of Sussex Community Rail Partnership, said, “Sussex Community Rail Partnership is proud to remember the contribution of our communities and railways to the First World War. It is very fitting that railway stations can be the focus for community displays and ceremonies. We are very pleased that we could help to make this happen, together with Southern.”
Many railway staff volunteered for the armed services in the First World War and it is thought that 20,000 died. The railways played an important part in transporting troops and supplies to the front, and ambulance trains cared for wounded troops.