Although it has been a year since events to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the local community is still active in reflecting on the war and its aftermath.

A special show ‘Light into Darkness’, which was first performed in 2018, will return this month. Bridport History Society will host the show at its meeting on Tuesday, December 10. This programme was created by Bridport residents and looks back at the First World War. Using Bridport as an example of how local communities were affected by the war, it presents music, readings and poems which reflect the sacrifices made. The title reflects the hope that out of the horror of war there came the seeds of a better world.

It takes place on Tuesday, December 10, from 2.30pm to 4.30pm in Bridport United Church Hall, East Street. Doors open at 2pm and tea and Christmas treats will be served in the interval. It costs £1 for members £1 and £4 for non-members on the door.

Local historians have been vital in reflecting the war and its aftermath and are also continuing their research.

Bridport Heritage Forum presented its research in displays in the town hall on Saturdays throughout August over the past five years and highlights of their research were published last year in the book ‘War, Peace and New Beginnings’ .

The Forum is continuing to research what happened to individual service people who lost their lives in the war and is creating a comprehensive record. Member Sheila Meaney has recently completed research on the Wheadon family who lost three members in the war.

The heritage forum website includes many personal stories of those who fought.

Private William Wheadon was in the 7th Battalion Queen's (Royal West Sussex) Regiment.

He was one of fourteen children born to William and Mary Wheadon – 12 of whom survived into adulthood.

In the early 1900s, the family lived at 39 Rope Walks and later at the Foundry on West Road.

In July 1916, William married Mabel Swaffield at St Mary’s Church, Bridport. The couple made their new home just down the road at 81 South Street. It is unclear from the marriage certificate if William was already serving in the Army, but it is highly likely, since his records show that he initially enlisted with the Dorsetshire regiment before transferring to the Queen’s (Royal West Sussex) Regiment.

The Regiment had been in France and Flanders since June 1915 and after his wedding, William served with the 7th Battalion there, involved in the battles of Scarpe and Arleux.

After action in August, William was reported missing – killed in action.

His body was not recovered, and death was presumed ‘on or since August 10th’ 1917.

William is remembered on the Ypres Memorial – Menin Gate

Sheila has also worked with Terri Weller and Mary Stevens on files which will eventually cover the life stories of all the Bridport casualties of the War. It is fitting therefore that they will be part of the local Rock Choir performance at the Last Post Ceremony, which takes place each night at the Menin Gate Ypres. They will be there on Friday, December 6 and hope to read out the names of the three Bridport casualties commemorated there - Private Cornelius Joseph Bartlett, Private Charles Cecil Caddy and Private William Wheadon .

Following the First World War, the desire never to go to war again in 1919 led to the creation of the League of Nations. Although the league was unable to stop the aggression of the fascists in the 1930s it did set the groundwork for the UN Declaration of Human Rights. The work to promote these rights goes on to this day and Bridport in 2018 became the first Rights Respecting Town in England, a recognition which followed work by and with the young people in local schools.

The day after the signing of the Armistice, the British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, pledged a major house building programme - 'Homes fit for heroes'. In Bridport, houses were built on St Andrews Road and Skilling. They were designed by Barry Parker an architect closely associated with Garden Suburb movement. The houses were to have large back gardens where residents could grow their own food and elevated views across the town at the front.

The Halletts applied for one of the houses and moved into 24 Alexandra Road. Sadly, William was not there to join them. He had signed up with the Dorsets early in the war. He later served with the Somerset Light Infantry. He almost survived the war but five weeks before the Armistice, he was killed in Armentieres. His wife Bertha and their children Winnie, Lucy, Jim, Alf and Lewis moved in without him.

William Hallett is remembered on the town’s war memorial outside St Mary’s Church. For many families such as William Wheadon’s, there was no grave because his body has not been identified. For others there was a Commonwealth War grave near where they died. To provide a focus for the families and town to remember the fallen a public subscription funded Bridport's war memorial.

When it was unveiled in May 1920 Lt Colonel Colfox spoke for the town: "We are today setting up this beautiful memorial which will last for many generations, so that we, and all those that come after us may always be reminded whenever we pass up and down this busy street, of what these Bridport men and boys did at the time of the great crisis in our country’s history.

Many towns created a Peace Mug to mark the end of war. Andy Violet’s family have one of the Bridport ones. Across the country there was a similar front view with flags of the victorious powers, the word PEACE and a dove. On the rear of Bridport’s we see the name of the mayor from the historic rope and netting company, WS Edwards.

Local historian Frances Colville has also carried out extensive research into Chrissie Squire. The Bridport area responded to the national campaign to provide eggs for the soldiers at the front. Chrissie hit on the idea of decorating the eggs and writing short messages. These were highly appreciated by the soldiers who wrote thank you letters to her. Many of these letters are stored in the Bridport Local History Centre.

Karen Hunt and other members of the Bridport Women's History Group have researched the role of local women during the war. The exhibition last year in Bridport Museum highlighted just how essential women were in maintaining the home front. The Women's History Group has flagged up how women came together during the war. The West Dorset Women's Suffrage Society continued to meet during the war to keep alive the progress towards votes for women and in 1917 the Bridport Women's Institute was established. The WI Hall was donated by Agnes Suttill who had been very active in helping on the home front and who was to be Bridport's first female town councillor.

An exhibition guide in newspaper format 'Home Front Home' gives an overview and can be studied at the museum and local history centre. Karen continues to research and lecture on the Home Front in Bridport.