On the evening of Sunday 11 November, to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, Tangmere Parish Council with the assistance of the Museum held a Beacon Lighting Ceremony on the village playing fields. Similar beacons were lit at the same time across the country.
For the lighting ceremony, our engineering projects team, led by Bob Goodrick, had built for the Parish Council a large brazier. During the evening, the Museum’s curatorial department ran an exhibition on the centenary of the RAF and Tangmere aerodrome, including screening a tribute to four famous aviators of the Great War, Albert Ball, James McCudden, Mick Mannock and Baron von Richthofen (the Red Baron).
At 7 o’clock, following a brief ‘setting the scene’ introduction by Museum Director Dudley Hooley, the beacon was lit by Major Grace Irvine-Thompson, a serving officer with the Royal Military Police, who had been brought up in Tangmere and educated at the Chichester High School for Girls. Tangmere’s new vicar, the Reverend Trevor Marshall, led the religious part of the ceremony and Andrew Irwin, the Parish Council chairman, unveiled a ‘Silent Soldier’, in the form of a Royal Flying Corps airman. The Museum’s Rosemary Coxon read three moving First World War poems, one by Siegfried Sassoon and the two by Wilfred Owen.
The ceremony ended with the playing of the ‘Last Post’ and the reading of the names of the seven men from Tangmere village who lost their lives during the Great War.
Photos by courtesy of The Tangmere Village Group