Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Thurrock to mark entry into First World War

THE 100th anniversary of Britain’s entry into what was to become the First World War, or the Great War will be marked on Monday, 4 August.

Tilbury Fort will be the focus of the day-long free Great War Open Day which will start with a short remembrance service to acknowledge the sacrifice made by at least 883 Thurrock soldiers and the many others who suffered.

Throughout the day there will be a wide range of activities, including re-enactment displays, Edwardian games to play, a play about the emotions of war, a poetry workshop and a chance to capture family reminiscences of the 1914-18 conflict with Thurrock Local History Society.

The fort’s 18 pounder field gun will also be fired and there will be a Royal Army Service Corps horse and mule display, another of infantry soldier equipment, and other displays include a cook house and period carpenter’s workshop.

Guides will help visitors discover the history of Tilbury Fort and the riverside area up to the ferry

Another experience on the day will be the re-creation of a font line trench, giving visitors a chance to see what life was like for soldiers at the time.

There will also be a number of exhibitors putting on displays including Thurrock Museum with a Great War Exhibition – Life on Thurrock’s Home Front. Other displays by local groups and schools are planned.

A feature on the day will be to encourage all local veteran organisations to showcase their aims and work in supporting the needs of ex-service personal in Thurrock.

Cllr Lynn Worrall, Thurrock Council’s portfolio holder for communities said: “First and foremost I would like to pass on our thanks to English Heritage for their support and co-operation in pulling this event together.

“Tilbury Fort has played an important role in British History since Tudor times and is a very apt centre-piece for Thurrock’s commemorations this year.

“It will be exactly 100 years since the First World War started, the hopes it ‘would all be over before Christmas’ were soon dashed, and the horrors of trench warfare on the Western Front became a reality.

“The sacrifices made by so many must never be forgotten, which is why it is so important we mark the anniversary in this appropriate way.”

The fort was used throughout the Great War as a major coastal defence site and logistic store for war equipment to be shipped out via Tilbury Docks and English Heritage – which runs the fort – says it is very pleased it “will be used to commemorate the start of the Great War, possibly the only English Heritage site to do so this year”.

This is a start of a six year project and plans are being developed to visit different parts of the borough with at least one major event each year.


  1. This type of event is crucial if we are to ensure that future generations retain an understanding of events from our past.
    I hope that local schools will make the effort to engage.


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