Keighley to mark 100 years since the start of the First World War

From left, Men of Worth members Ian Walkden and Andy Wade with First World War archives in Keighley Library

From left, Men of Worth members Ian Walkden and Andy Wade with First World War archives in Keighley Library

First published in Keighley by

KEIGHLEY district people have been invited to attend a ceremony in Town Hall square to mark the centenary of Britain's entry into the First World War.

The event at the cenotaph will focus on Keighley's contribution to the army Britain sent to France in 1914. It will take place on the morning of Monday August 4.

Keighley mayor town councillor Graham Mitchell will address the gathering. He and other town councillors will be joined by representatives from the Men of Worth military history project, Keighley Royal British Legion and the Soldiers, Sailors & Airmen's Families Association.

The occasion will feature an ensemble from Haworth Band, and the standard of the Keighley branch of the Old Contemptibles Association will be paraded to the cenotaph.

The association's name comes from a dismissive comment allegedly made about the 80,000-strong British Expeditionary Force, which travelled to the Continent in 1914. The German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm reputedly branded these troops as a “contemptible little army”.

As a gesture of defiance the surviving British soldiers later adopted this insult - referring to themselves as the Old Contemptibles.

Andy Wade and Ian Walkden, of Men of Worth, said the ceremony on August 4 would feature a reading out of the names of 79 members of the Keighley Old Contemptibles branch who survived the First World War.

Mr Wade added: "We've got three descendants of members of the Old Contemptibles branch who should be attending.

"This is a signature occasion to remember those men who went away to the war, and we'd like as many people there as possible.

"It'll last about half an hour to 40 minutes. There won't be a silence, as we want to distinguish this from Remembrance Day."

Coun Mitchell said: "I don't know if our Old Contemptibles standard is the last one, but it's one of very few such surviving standards. We thought that it would give us a unique chance here in Keighley to pay tribute to those men who went out at the beginning of the war.

"The standard is now a bit frail and fragile, and there won't be many more opportunities left to parade it."

People wanting to attend are advised to come to the cenotaph at 10.45am for an 11am start.

Coun Mitchell said people who come to the event will afterwards be invited to a lunch in the nearby Keighley Civic Centre.

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