THE inaugural conference of a four-year project to commemorate the centenary of the First World War took place in Crewe.

The first in a series of annual events to mark the conflict got underway at South Cheshire College on Saturday, July 12.

Fifty eminent delegates and speakers attended the symposium.

“This year, the focus was on subjects that had affected our town and county, as well as the battles around Ypres, in Belgium, in October and November of 1914, which claimed the lives of a number of local men,” explained Crewe town councillor, Joy Bratherton.

Speaker, Steve McGreal, spoke about the formation of the Cheshire Bantams: Three battalions made up of men under the statutory 5ft 3ins specified by the War Office.

Peter Hart, an eminent battlefield expert spoke about his work recording oral histories of war veterans, and spoke about the First Battle of Ypres.

Local author, Mark Potts, brought the day to a close with a talk on the research he has undertaken to create his new book, due out on July 19 entitled ‘Where the Fallen Live Forever’.

The book has taken six years to complete and involved Mark and his co-writer, Tony Marks, spending many painstaking hours collecting and collating facts and photographs.

Leader of Crewe Town Council, clr Kevin Hickson, said: “The conference provided an insightful example of the many difficult situations that our local men faced a hundred years ago and it is encouraging that so many people heard so many different speakers highlight the local sacrifices made.

“It’s crucial that Crewe comes together to pay our respects at such a time. We as a town council understand the importance of commemorating these people’s lives and hopefully the conference next year will be just as, if not more, successful in helping to educate us about the past.”