Bugle call will fill landscape as WW1 centenary beacon glows on Old Oswestry hillfort

The sound of bugle call will pierce the night sky over Old Oswestry hillfort on November 11 as a WW1 centenary beacon is lit on the 3,000 year-old monument.

Kath Gavan of the Porthywaen Silver Band will play the Last Post and Reveille
Kath Gavan of the Porthywaen Silver Band will play the Last Post and Reveille

Kath Gavan of the Porthywaen Silver Band will play the Last Post and Reveille from the top rampart during a special programme of remembrance which will unfold on the hillfort and Gatacre playing field below.

She said: “I have played the bugle in some unusual locations, such as in the middle of a football ground and also in extreme weather, including hailstones. But a hillfort will be the most unusual place so far. I feel honoured to be playing as part of this important centenary beacon and on a site with such important WW1 connections.”

The beacon will be lit at 7pm along with thousands across the country, concluding an emotional day of national ‘Battle’s Over’ commemorations on the centenary of the WW1 Armistice.

Cadets from 1165 Oswestry Air Training Corps will form the number 100 in lights on the side of the hillfort, while the crowd assembled on Gatacre will create a remembrance glow with torches, lanterns and glow sticks.

During the build-up from 6.30pm, James Bond of BBC Radio Shropshire will introduce songs performed by the Hillfort Choir led by Mike Coppock and accompanied by Barry Edwards on guitar.

There will be short readings paying tribute to Wilfred Owen as well as to local soldiers drawing on research projects into the names on WW1 memorials. These feature with kind permission of the QUBE’s Men on the Gates and the Hengoed Community Group which is researching WW1 fallen soldiers on memorials in Selattyn, Gobowen and Hengoed.

Thousands of soldiers who passed through Park Hall training camp would have spent time on the hillfort using the practice trenches on top before leaving for the Western Front.

The organiser, Oswestry Heritage Gateway, says residents of Oswestry and the surrounding area are welcome to attend, though details may be subject to change depending on the weather.

Those travelling in by car are being asked to use public parking in the town and walk to Gatacre, leaving the adjacent car park available for less mobile visitors.

Oswestry Town Council and Selattyn and Gobowen Parish Council have provided funding towards the event, which is also being supported by numerous local organisations, businesses and volunteers.