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Aston on Trent Local History Group, in partnership with the communities of both villages and the Royal British Legion has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to commemorate the impact of the war on both communities. Our project is not focused on the horrors of the conflict but on the impact on both villages. It is a community project that has at its heart the involvement of people young and old; a project for the communities, by the communities and provides an opportunity to raise awareness and learn about this critical part of our history and heritage. 

Our project will include:

• A major week-long interactive exhibition in All Saints’ Heritage Centre
• The construction of a replica trench
• A public Concert featuring the Derbyshire Constabulary Male Voice Choir
• Production of a Commemorative Book about the war’s impact on Aston & Weston villages
• Production of an audio CD featuring poems and letters from the trenches
• A short dramatic play
• Interactive school workshops and children’s play in both primary schools
• A themed village Well Dressing tableau
• Opportunities for volunteers to learn new personal & research skills
• This web page offering additional information and images

Key Project Dates 2014 Aston on Trent

• Annual village Well Dressing Festival 5th / 6th July
• WW1 interactive exhibition 6th-13th September: All Saints’ Heritage Centre
• Choral concert of songs and readings 1914-1918:  3rd October All Saints’ Parish Church
• Displays will be exhibited in Weston on Trent; dates to be announce

But first, the background to the war itself

1914 – How did it all start?

In the years leading up to the outbreak of the First World War Europe was in a very volatile state. Many issues, political, economic, imperialism and militarism were occupying the attention of the major powers. In southern Europe, which at this time was dominated by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, there were nationalistic problems, mainly surrounding the ambitions of Serbia which ultimately led to a declaration of war between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Serbia in late July 1914. A month before this declaration of war the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro- Hungarian Empire, and his wife Sophie, took place in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia Herzogovina, on the 28th June. The assassination was carried out by Gavrilo Princip, a nineteen year old member of a revolutionary organisation.

These events caused the other powers of Europe to begin mobilisation of their armies and to declare their support for one or the other belligerents. Russia mobilised in support of Serbia and Austro-Hungary was supported by Germany, the latter nation declaring war on Russia on the 1st August 1914. As this polarisation of nations gathered momentum Germany, two days later, declared war on France which was allied to Russia. On the day of that declaration Germany moved its forces into Belgium.