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A blue plaque will be unveiled in the city centre this weekend to commemorate a building which played an instrumental role in World War One.

The plaque will be located on a wall outside the Boots Opticians building in Long Causeway, which was used as a recruitment office between 1914 and 1917 to recruit over 8,000 soldiers from the city, 2,000 of which enlisted shortly after the outbreak of war.

It will be unveiled by Peterborough Mayor, Cllr Chris Ash, along with dignitaries, and Group Captain A Keeling, Station Commander at RAF Wittering along with city cadets on Saturday June 30 at 10.25am.

Armed Forces Day celebrations will start at 9.45am with a parade from the back of the Town Hall, arriving in Cathedral Square at 10am. There will also be performers and independent stalls, run by charities connected to the armed forces.

Toby Wood from the Peterborough Civic Society (pictured above at a previous plaque unveiling) said: “The unveiling of this blue plaque is important as it recognises the city’s contribution in the First World War. We will be including this building in any future blue plaque trail so that residents and tourists can remember the brave actions of Peterborians.”

Councillor Chris Ash, Mayor of Peterborough said: “When the First World War began in August 1914, I suspect that people never really knew the struggle, stress and carnage the recruits would face or for how long. 

“It’s so sad to think that of the 8,000 men from the City and Soke of Peterborough who signed up, many never returned. In commemorating the part this building played in the city’s war efforts, we must never forget the sacrifice of the recruits who went through the doors of this recruitment office.”

Councillor John Fox, Chairman of the Armed Forces Partnership Board, who spearheaded a motion for the plaque which was passed by full council back in 2016, said: “This plaque is a poignant reminder to never forget the brave men of all nationalities from this city who served the Commonwealth.

“It’s also fitting that this plaque will be unveiled in 2018, 100 years after the war ended. The efforts of these brave soldiers will be remembered for years to come by everyone who walks past this building and by those who take part in the city’s blue plaque trail.”

Ray Preston, Chair of Peterborough’s Armed Forces Committee, said: “It’s only when you stop and think about it that you realise the 8,000 men who enlisted to go to war represented 43 per cent of the entire city’s population at that time (18,360). That’s everyday city fathers, brothers, uncles, and cousins.

“When you consider that many never returned, you will understand just how much of an impact the First World War had in Peterborough and the UK as a whole.” 


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