‘Armistice Tea’ event showcases stories behind the names on Warwick war memorial

The Armistice Tea event in Warwick. Photos supplied by Unlocking Warwick.
The Armistice Tea event in Warwick. Photos supplied by Unlocking Warwick.

A special ‘Armistice Tea’ event was held in Warwick at the weekend where guests were able to hear the stories behind the names on the town’s war memorial.

The Warwick Armistice Tea, which was organised by the team at Unlocking Warwick, was held on the final day of the Warwick Words History Festival in the Court House ballroom.

The event featured the stories behind the names on the war memorial in church street, poems and contemporary songs performed by mezzo-soprano Imogen Parker accompanied by the Director of Music from St Mary’s Church Oliver Hancock.

Karen Parker, chair of Unlocking Warwick, said: “It was clearly a rather emotional occasion, with quite a few people in the audience dabbing their eyes.

“But they all said it was very informative and enjoyable as well as moving. Marking the centenary of the Armistice coming up next month, our presentation used material unearthed by the volunteers who have been searching the records to find the human stories behind the 358 First World War names on the Warwick War Memorial, and what happened in the town between 1914 and 1918, as reported in the Warwickshire Advertiser (now The Courier).”

Rick Thompson, secretary of Unlocking Warwick said: “It was appropriate to hold the Armistice Tea in the Court House. The building and the adjoining Pageant House had become the headquarters of the Army Pay Corps, the administration for the troops, with 300 hastily-recruited staff organising the billeting and equipping of more than 300,000 troops from across Warwickshire.

“The guests heard about the requisitioning of large houses to turn into hospitals as mounting numbers of casualties came home from the Western Front, and about the food shortages and the harsh conditions endured by the Warwickshire Land Army Girls who replaced the farm workers who had gone to war.

“The afternoon tea itself was true to what would have been available in 1918 – hot bacon batches, home-made cakes, jam tarts and jellies, though the volunteers had used real flour, not the mashed turnip that had to be used instead during the war”.

The database of The Fallen with information about the Warwick men who died in the First World War can be found on Unlocking Warwick’s website {https://www.warwickwarmemorial.org.uk/by clicking her