Bere Regis Village Website

Outbreak of WW1 - 100th Anniversary Church Service

BERE  14 - 18
The Parish Commemorations of the 100 years since World War One began and the Events during the War are ongoing. The Group helping coordinate it all are called BERE 14-18. We are working with Affpuddle, Briantspuddle and Winterborne Kingston when appropriate, as so many of the families who were caught up in the conflict were spread throughout the villages.
'Sing as we go!'
Performance by Pop in Performers 5/6/7 June -
The Pop in Performers staged “Sing as we go!”, a commemoration in song of war-time Bere Regis and the songs that kept us going.
(Photographs below are courtesy of Bernie Lightfoot , Matty Maunder & Robin Pitcher)
On Sunday 3rd August, there was a thoughtful and memorable service in our parish church at 7pm led by Ian Woodward, our vicar and by Pastor Jim Morris.
The Church was full to capacity and the service included hymns and readings including a number of First World War poems on the themes of reconciliation and peace.
The service ended with a procession to our War Memorial, led by children and young people from all sections of the parish carrying 28 candles in remembrance of our 28 war dead.
The candles were placed around the memorial and a Piper played from the Church Tower. 'Anthem for Doomed Youth', was read out and as the sun set in a clear blue sky, we all dispersed.
A beautiful Service marking the lights going out across Europe.
Remembrance Sunday - Sunday 9th November 2014
(Photographs below are courtesy of Amy Belcher)
Battlefield Tour in 2015
Sufficient interest has been shown for a small group to undertake a battlefield tour in 2015, and the proposed Battlefield Trip to France & Belgium is outlined below -

It has been proposed that we conduct a battlefield tour of various sites on the Western Front during 2015 as part of the Great War Commemorations.
The tour would concentrate on the actions of the Dorsetshire Regiment but there would flexibility to include sites of personal pilgrimage, if practical.

Indicative Programme
Day one: Travel to the Eurotunnel,(178 miles) aiming for a 1300 crossing; Drive to Arras (69 miles) spend evening and overnight in Arras

Day two:
visit Somme battlefields; Leipzig redoubt, 1 Dorset’s action 1st July 1916; Thiepval Memorial and visitor Centre; Mouquet Farm, 5 Dorset’s action 27 Sep 1916; Lochnagar Crater; preserved trenches at Newfoundland Memorial Park, Beaumont Hamel. Evening and overnight in Arras

Day three:

drive to Ypres, (55 miles) visiting en route the Canadian memorial, preserved trenches and tunnels at Vimy Ridge; visit the Flanders Field Museum in the Cloth Hall, Ypres. Evening and overnight in Ypres.

Day four:
visit Ypres Salient battlefields; Hill 60, 1 Dorset’s action, 1 May 1915; Hill 62 Museum & trenches; Tyne Cott cemetery, Passchendaele; in the evening attend the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate; overnight in Ypres

Day Five:
drive to Calais,(58 miles) visiting the Toc H Talbot House rest centre and exhibition in Poperinghe en route; Eurotunnel crossing around 1800; arrive Bere Regis (178 miles) approx 2100

The visits will be conducted by Philip Ventham, an amateur military historian who has recently completed an MA in First World War Studies at Birmingham University and is a member of the Western Front Association and the Guild of Battlefield Guides.
He has experience of conducting tours around the battlefields of France and Flanders and an interest in the actions of the Dorsetshire Regiment in the Great War.

We are looking at a five day, four night trip avoiding weekends and school holidays to reduce overall costs. Accommodation in the battlefield areas is at a premium over the next five years of commemorations especially during school holidays.
We would need to book accommodation shortly to guarantee success.
We are looking at the following dates: Mon 8 June to Fri 12 June

We have met a problem in organising the transport for this planned trip to the battlefields in 2015. With the numbers who have shown some interest, currently around 12 ‘possibles’ , we were planning to hire a minibus.
However, EU regulations now require the driver of a minibus (ie a vehicle with seating for 9-16 people not including the driver) to have a driving licence covering the D1 category for minibuses.
For this licence to be legal in the EU, it has to have been obtained by passing the appropriate minibus driving test, not by virtue of holding a UK licence since before 1 January 1997 which grants an exemption to drive a minibus in the UK on an ordinary car license.
None of the potential drivers can meet this new EU requirement for driving a minibus on the continent.

We suggest therefore that if anyone is interested in going on this trip, they make their own travel arrangements for the trip ( indicative costs for ferries and fuel are shown below) but that all other aspects of the tour are arranged centrally ie booking of accommodation, conduct of the visits to battlefields, cemeteries and memorials.

We are looking at middle-range hotel accommodation in Arras and Ypres on a bed and breakfast basis, with lunch and evening meals being purchased locally.
Both cities have a wide range of restaurants. The recommended accommodation, if available, is the Ibis Arras and the Novotel Ypres .. .
Both provide double/twin rooms with an additional couch.
Prices are quoted for double occupancy. If you want single occupancy, I’m afraid you will have to pay the double rate.

Indicative prices, based on the above dates, but at 2014 prices, are as follows:

Eurotunnel , per car inc passengers, return £120
Fuel, estimated 600miles, £120
Accommodation, B&B, double/twin room
Arras £52/night/room x 2 nights £104
Ypres £86/night/room x 2 nights £172
Extras, museums, etc , say £25

So, for 2 people, sharing car and accommodation, approx £285/person. Obviously, sharing the travel expenses between 3 or 4 people will reduce the individual cost further to around £225 per person.

Expressions of Interest

If you are at all interested in this trip, could you let Phil Ventham know as we need to make provisional bookings for accommodation as soon as possible.
You can contact him on 01929 471 215

Other plans under discussion for the Commemoration are -

Church Display
A rolling display of photos and news cuttings in the church reflecting the current news from 100 years ago.

WW1 related Lectures
A series of lectures on military and social themes in the Autumn and Spring of the four year period. The draft programme at present is:

Lecture 1 – Saturday 1st November 2014 about the naval battle of Coronel 1914 – speaker Rod Arnold of the Western Front Association (WFA). Drax Hall
This was a fascinating event.
You can see the Presentation Powerpoint by clicking here
Please note that the Presentation is fully Copyrighted

Lecture 2
– Saturday 16th May 2015 subject TBC speaker Dr Spencer Jones, Wolverhampton University

Lecture 3 – Autumn 2015 Training in Dorset for the Great War – speakers David Fletcher and Phil Ventham.

Lecture 4 – Spring 2016 The Parishes and the War at Sea – speaker John Tozer

Lecture 5
– Autumn 2016 The call to arms, recruitment and conscription in the local parishes – speaker John England

Lecture 6 – Spring 2017 The Dorset Regiment at War – speaker tbc

Lecture 7 – Autumn 2017 Nursing in the Great War – speaker Angie Tozer

Lecture 8 – Spring TBC

Lecture 9 - Autumn 2018 Remembrance – the War Memorials – speaker tbc

Research into the enlisted Villagers
A publication is being prepared based on research into the 310 men known to have enlisted or been conscripted from our parishes during the war

Tea Rooms
A re-enactment of the war time Tea Room that was established in the Drax Hall in 1914 and served tea and refreshments to recruits at Bovington all through the war.
There will be a display of photos and memorabilia in conjunction with the re-enactment

Memorial Garden Creation
The creation of a memorial garden in part of the open spaces of Bere Regis.

If you would like more information, or would like to become involved, please contact Amanda Crocker on 472 327.

Ian Ventham