Lyme prepares for Great War centenary

PUBLISHED: 07:01 11 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:49 19 September 2018

The Rifles on parade. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The Rifles on parade. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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The Rifles will exercise their Freedom of the Town, marching through the streets with bayonets fixed

FO William Hay. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDFO William Hay. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The flags are already flying in Lyme Regis ready for a day of First World War centenary commemorations later this month.

Union Flags are lining Broad Street to mark 100 years since the end of the Great War in 1918.

As part of the centenary commemorations, The Rifles will exercise their Freedom of the Town when they march through Lyme Regis on Saturday, September 22.

The resort granted the Freedom of the Borough to the Dorset Regiment in 1945, and today is one of 12 towns in the county which has granted the same right to its successor regiment, The Rifles.

The Rifles on parade. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDThe Rifles on parade. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The county regiment will be among the guests of honour when the enhanced war memorial is officially unveiled in Georges Square.

The Rifles will march through the town at 11.45am, with drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed, assembling at the war memorial at 12pm.

The war memorial has been enhanced with two new grey granite plaques, with five names added, as well as the rank and service or regiment of the 63 servicemen of Lyme Regis who lost their lives during the Great War.

The updating of the memorial has been led by the local branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) and Lyme Regis Town Council and is the culmination of seven years of research by RBL members Vernon Rattenbury and David Humphrey.

The memorial will be officially unveiled at 12pm.

The Rev Jane Skinner will dedicate the war memorial and after the unveiling, at 12.20pm, The Rifles will march along Coombe Street, Bridge Street and the Cart Road, and will form up on the Marine Parade at 12.30pm where the civic party will take the salute.

* Mayor Michaela Ellis said: “I had hoped The Rifles would be able to come to Lyme Regis during my previous term as Mayor, so I’m pleased they will be exercising their Freedom during my current term.

“It is especially significant as it is the centenary year and I’m thrilled they will be among our special guests when we unveil the enhanced war memorial.

“I hope the townspeople will all come out to enjoy the occasion – it could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see The Rifles marching through the town.

“I also hope many people will see it as an opportunity to pay their respects to the Lyme Regis servicemen who gave their lives during the war, and honour the five servicemen whose names have now been rightfully added to the town’s war memorial.”

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Trelawny, Rifles regional secretary for the South West, said: “We are very much looking forward to it.

“We are looking forward to marching through the town centre and taking part in the rededication of the war memorial, then marching along the seafront, where people will hopefully be able to get a good view.

“It’s a fairly short march but lots of opportunity for people to see.”

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