Wolverhampton’s Mayor is to join local war veterans and young people from Germany and the Black Country at a unique service of remembrance and reconciliation next weekend. A century after the end of the Battle of Loos in the First World War, students from the Academy of English in Oldenburg, Germany, and its partner institution, High Arcal School in Sedgley, will be taking part in the second in a series of annual Anglo-German Services of Remembrance and Reconciliation.
They have been organised by the Academy of English with support from the Royal British Legion’s Wolverhampton Central Branch to bring together young people from both countries to reflect on specific events in the First World War.
This year’s service takes place at the German War Cemetery on Cannock Chase on Sunday 18 October, and follows a successful first event held at Wolverhampton’s cenotaph in 2014.
Wolverhampton Mayor Councillor Ian Brookfield, who will be leading the tributes, said: “It's important that young people today are able to remember the sacrifices their ancestors made in what were terribly dark times for both our nations.
“The students from the Academy of English and the High Arcal School first came together for a service of remembrance and reconciliation at the cenotaph in Wolverhampton last year. It was very poignant, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, and I am honoured to have been invited to take part in this year's service at Cannock Chase.”
Explaining the choice of location, Dr John Goodyear of the Academy of English said: “In the beautiful Staffordshire countryside, the site is like so many others containing fallen soldiers buried far away from home; and that is the story we would like to tell to the students from Germany and the UK.”
Lyndon Purnell of the Royal British Legion’s Wolverhampton Central Branch said: “It is important for us, like our last ceremony at the Wolverhampton cenotaph, to involve the German and British students as much as possible.”
The service at the German War Cemetery on Cannock Chase is open to all and will start at 10.45am. The cemetery is signposted on the A34 when travelling from either Cannock or Stafford.