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Centenary plans to honour town's fallen

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: January 31, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

  • Leek Battery marching through Derby Street on August 14, 1914.

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THIS year marks the centenary of the start of the First World War.

Across the world, nations, communities and individuals of all ages will come together to mark, commemorate and remember the lives of those who lived, fought and died.

The First World War began on July 28, 1914 and lasted until November 11, 1918. From the time of its occurrence until the approach of the Second World War in 1939, it was called simply the World War or the Great War.

More than nine million combatants were killed including 21 members of the Leek Battery.

The Leek Battery, which left the Staffordshire Moorlands town ton August 14, 1914, was a horse drawn artillery unit that had barracks in Alma Street.

At the start of the war on mobilisation the Leek Battery strength was 148 men.

Horses played a vital role in the movement of military equipment and resources. The Leek unit had some 130 horses on the Western Front but only three made it back to England after the war. One requisitioned horse came from a firm of local undertakers and was called 'Sigley' in recognition of its former owners. Sigley was teamed up with a group of French horses in the unit but his driver often complained that Sigley would want to pull the team to the British side of the road while his Continental companions would pull the other way. After his war service, Sigley returned to Leek to carry on pulling hearses.

Leek Town Council is currently awaiting a decision on its Heritage Lottery bid for £25,000 to help fund events in the Staffordshire Moorlands town. It is hoped, if the Leek bid is won, that the council, along with the Friends of the Nicholson War Memorial, will be able to enhance the educational programme at the Nicholson War Memorial with a focus on this year's centenary, as well as to host a 'First Mile' march through Leek and have a schools exhibition to mark the anniversary.

Leek Town Council is expecting a decision on the bid on February 17.

ARE you organising an event focusing on the World War 1 centenary? Email newsdesk@thepostandtimes.co.uk or call 01538 392237.

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