November 11th 2018 saw the 100th anniversary of the armistice and the end of the Great War. Rotary clubs across Brighton and Hove came together to celebrate this with an evening based on the local effects of the war and the experiences of people involved. There was a harrowing presentation from renowned Sussex University historian Dr Chris Kempshall focusing especially on the immense loss of life in Sussex. Chris explained quite clearly how badly the war affected the lives of people on the South Coast, but for those within Brighton and Hove in particular, where the sound of the guns and explosions echoed across the city day and night.
The Brighton and Hove Heritage bus was a central feature, parked outside the Hove Club in Fourth Avenue, decorated throughout with period images and reproduction recruitment posters. Some club members were able to share personal stories of their own family’s experiences of World War 1, including a display of about 25 photos of Sir William Orpen’s paintings from WW1 reproduced with kind permission of the Imperial War Museum. Members of the public were invited aboard and helped make this a memorable occasion, offering their memories of family members stories from this time.
Councillor Dee Simson, the Mayor of Brighton & Hove, attended our commemorative dinner and gave this poignant speech –
The local coordinator of the Royal British legion poppy sellers set up a stall for the night, selling the special 100th anniversary poppy products, and the Loose Cannons, our closely affiliated choir, entertained the crowds by singing tunes from the era, bringing a tear to the eyes of many present.