With its Mayoress a casualty of the Black Country Zeppelin bombings and Victoria Cross awards for two borough servicemen, Walsall has plenty of memories from yesteryear to mark the 100th anniversary of Britain’s entry into World War One.
The Mayor of Walsall, Councillor Peter Smith, will host a commemorative day which begins at 11am on Monday 4 August with a veterans’ parade featuring the 143 Plant Squadron, the Royal British Legion, the Mercian Volunteer Regimental Association, Bloxwich and Walsall branches of the Royal Artillery Association and the Staffordshire Regiment Association.
The parade starts at The Crossing at St Paul’s, passes down Lichfield Street and the Council House before finishing in Leicester Street outside the Town Hall. The Mercian Regiment mascot, Private Derby, a Swaledale ram, will also take part accompanied by his two handlers.
The Mayor and Mayoress and their invited guests will take the salute from the veterans; a bugler will play the Last Post followed by a minute’s silence in memory of the war.
Following the parade, a free event will be held in the Town Hall from 11.30am. A number of Walsall-related stands, pictures and information relating to World War One will be on display including John Carless VC’s Victoria Cross.
In the evening Walsall Council will mark the exact hour of the anniversary by turning off the council house lights between 10pm and 11pm, leaving a single lamp turned on in the Mayor’s Parlour.
Other council buildings taking part in the national LIGHTS OUT initiative from the Department of Communities and Local Government include Walsall Central Library, Gala Baths, Leather Museum, Forest Arts Centre, Local History Centre, Darlaston Town Hall and the Environmental Depot in Brownhills.