Newmarket Local History Society

The Great War 1914 - 1918

Lest we forget

November 11th 2008 commemorated the 90th anniversary of the ending of World War I, the bloody conflict that lasted more than four years and claimed the lives of over a million British and Commonwealth servicemen.
In 1914 the young men of Newmarket and district, joined the nation in responding to the call to patriotic duty, eagerly volunteering to take up arms in the widespread belief that it would all be over in six months. Little did they know of the horrors that awaited them during in France and Belgium.
During the early part of the war large numbers of troops were present in Newmarket, with tented camps set up on Warren Hill and other parts of the Heath. Columns of marching soldiers, others on horseback, passed along the High Street and Old Station Road, cheered on by enthusiastic crowds.
It was not long before families were receiving fateful 'With great regret ...died in Action' telegrams and the wounded were arriving back at Newmarket station. The grim reality of war began to sink in.
The pictures below, mostly from the Rodney Newman collection, give some idea of what life was like in Newmarket during those years.

Wounded Soldiers arriving at Newmarket Old Station

The dedication of Newmarket's War Memorial, 16th October 1921

This beautifully maintained Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery at 'Caterpillar Valley' Longueval Somme is one
of many in France and Belgium, the final resting places for the men and boys who sacrified their lives during the Great War.

Go to Newmarket's War Memorial page
Newmarket Roll of Honour with details Website created by Tony Pringle
A letter sent home by a young soldier soon to embark for the Western Front
Go to Great War Centenary page, added August 2014.

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