A commemoration of the end of World War One

Our tribute on the 100th anniversary of the armistice  was performed on 11 November 2018 at the Adel War Memorial Association to an audience of over 120 from the local community. Huge thanks go to Pat Riley for her work in compiling the piece, aided in research by Bernard Riley, Val Crompton and Ann Lightman and of course to all who came, all who took part and the staff and Executive members of the AWMA who helped with preparation. All those who attended agreed it was a very fitting way of marking the anniversary, as well as reminding us of the origins and purpose of the AWMA itself.

"We will remember them..."

Gordon Hartley (on the left), grandson of William Hartley who was killed in WW1 and whose story featured in the commemoration. Pictured here with cast members, Harry and Shell Peart.

On the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 the guns finally fell silent after a bloody global conflict that had been billed as the war to end all wars.  By then there had been 40 million military and civilian casualties and 6 million British and Irish men had been sent into battle, 82,000 of whom were from Leeds and its surrounding villages.

18 of those who died in the Great War were from Adel.  Most communities chose to erect conventional war memorials but the people of this village had a different idea about how they wanted to commemorate the lives of those who weren’t coming home.  Find out what happened in France and Leeds from the hour the guns fell silent on 11 November 1918 until 14 November 1928 - the day when determined fund-raising by a small farming community of 400 households enabled Adel Memorial Hall and its many acres of sports fields to be opened as a charitable trust and a vibrant living memorial to the brave young men that Adel had lost.   

Coming Home to Blighty, an hour of stories, popular songs and poetry from the time when Leeds laughed, sang, cried, and fought its way back to peace, and its soldiers came home to a changed world.  

Review and audience reactions

A big thank you to Professor Mark Seaward for this review of our commemoration:


"[Remembrance Day] emotion was further aroused by the Adel Players’ performance to a packed house in Adel Memorial Hall of ‘Coming Home to Blighty 1918-1928’ – a moving experience for the players and a tour de force for the audience. For one hour, through memories, poetry and songs, the local story unfolded from the ‘time when Leeds laughed, sang, cried and fought its way back into peace, and its soldiers came home to a changed world’. Eighteen of the Adel men sent into battle never returned, and the local community at that time chose not to erect a conventional memorial, but to commemorate their lives in a different way. In consequence, this small farming community of 400 households, through determined fund-raising, enabled Adel Memorial Hall and its many acres of sports fields to be opened as a charitable trust and a vibrant living memorial to the brave young men that Adel had lost. 


It would be wrong of me to pick out particular contributions as every one of the Adel Players put their hearts and souls into their performances, but the beautiful rendition of the folksong ‘The Green Fields of France’, the words and music composed by Eric Bogle after his visit in 1976 to the battlefields of northern France and Belgium, at the conclusion of the presentations, followed by a recording of theBenedictus from Karl Jenkins’ oratorio ‘The armed man – a mass for peace’ sung by the soloist Haley Westenra left us all spellbound. Even a prolonged round of applause could barely do full justice to the thought and effort by both the cast and production team to research, write and deliver such a heartfelt programme. The significant sum of money raised for the British Legion and AWMA charities at the performance is duly acknowledged, as was the time for reflection. 


Remembrance Day 2018 was indeed a day to remember!"


This from another audience member:


"I just wanted to say what a fantastic and informative performance the Adel Players did tonight. I thought they were brilliant".


And thank you to Alison Garrett for this:


[Thank you to] Adel Players for producing such a memorable show to mark the centenary of the end of World War 1.  In Adel we feel so lucky to have Adel Players and everyone I spoke to marvelled at the performances on Sunday.  Also, some people did not know the history of the club, the Memorial Hall and the significance of the large boulder outside the hall.  So, thank you for including all of that in your 'Peace and Remembrance in Adel' evening. 
It was a treat and the hall was packed.  The displays, the propelers, the naming of The Blighty Bar and the singalongs were all greatly appreciated.  It was truly a great end to a memorable day and Adel Players marked the occasion with, we thought, the right balance of solemnity and humour.  Bravo!  
This type of event really helps to bring our community together.  Special mention must go to Pat who ended the evening so appropriately and the song she sang was word-perfect.  We were in awe.  What a way to end such a moving evening.