Clay Mills Commemorates the Gallipoli Centenary

Saturday 25 April 2015

On Saturday 25 April 2015 I attended an event at the Clay Mills Victorian Pumping Station near Burton on Trent to commemmorate the centenary of the Battle of Gallipoli.

For this event I went as a member of The Birmingham Pals Living History Association.

The event, a joint venture between the Pumping Station and Stretton Parish Council, started with a drumhead service in the pumping station engine room at which the casualties of the war, and the battle of Gallipoli in particular were remembered. The service to honour those who died was led by Reverend Kim Thomas.  Fourty seven locals from Burton and the surrounding area were killed in action at Gallipoli.

The nephew of one of the Burton men killed during the Gallipoli campaign in the First World War officially opened the event to commemorate the centenary of the action.

Arthur Scattergood opened the gates at Claymills Victorian Pumping Station, in Stretton, in honour of his uncle William Pountain, who was killed in action during one of the battles which were planned in a bid to bring the Great War to an end.

Members of The Birmingham Pals performed drill for the public, as well as demonstrating weapons, uniform and kit of the era.

The Medical Section reconstructed an aid post, while the Tunnellers explained how local miners would have helped the war effort on the Western Front by digging under German positions and planting explosives.

The German Section staged a display of German kit and explained how they acted as military advisers to the Turkish troops during the conflict.

The event also recognised the part played by the ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) and other Commonwealth troops in the conflict.

In addition to The Birmingham Pals there were many other attractions:

The pumping Station was in steam, and there was a model traction engine giving rides to the public. There were also vintage vehicles on display.

There were exhibitions from The Staffordshire Regiment Museum and The Royal British Legion.

One of the highlights was a fly-past by a German triplane in the colours of The Red Baron.

As he made several passes over the venue the ground troops opened fire with SMLE rifles and a Lewis Light Machine Gun.

Unfortunately the Red Baron escaped from the engagement unscathed.