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Keighley's 'flag of the World War One brave' gets a safe home
A standard honouring Keighley district men who were among the first British troops to serve on the First World War’s Western Front has been found a safe new home.
Keighley Town Council’s Civic Centre is looking after the standard of Keighley branch of the Old Contemptibles Association amid fears it could be “chucked away”.
The standard had been in Keighley Shared Church for decades after it was officially retired in May 1968.
However, Ian Walkden, of the Men of Worth military history project, took responsibility for the historic artefact, as there was nowhere suitable for the church to put it on display.
He thanked the town council for supporting his efforts to take care of the standard, which is in a heavy wooden case.
“I’m really pleased the council feels the same way as I do about this,” he said. “I thought there is just no way the standard can end up being chucked away. We’re hoping it will be paraded at the next Remembrance Day. The council has kindly allowed me to leave it in the civic centre while we discuss its future.”
Councillor Brian Morris said: “We’d like to find somewhere to put the standard up where people can see it.
“It’s not just any old flag – it’s a very important part of Keighley’s heritage.”
Mr Walkden explained the original 80,000-strong British Expeditionary Force, which travelled to the Continent to fight in 1914, was reputed to have been described as a “contemptible little army” by German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm.
As a humorous gesture of defiance, the surviving British soldiers later enthusiastically adopted part of this dismissive label – referring to themselves as the Old Contemptibles.
The expeditionary force acquitted itself well in the early days of the war, delaying larger numbers of invading Germans at the Battle of Mons.
Mr Walkden wants to hear from anyone who has more information about the standard. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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