A century ago, Colne boasted 26,000 people, a number of cotton manufactories, some iron foundries, works for the manufacture of looms and mill furnishings, a brewery, a brick works and a goodly amount of cattle dealing.
The Colne Times of Friday, 7th August 1914, reported the immediate impact of the declaration of War, with Ambulance men from Trawden and Colne leaving to serve on ships, hospital ships and in shore-based hospitals. The men marched to the railway station with cheering crowds led by a band. Many other men and women left Colne and surrounding villages to fight or serve in other ways in the weeks, months and years that followed. All those who stayed were affected in some way.
Many men joined the East Lancashire Regiment, famous for the Accrington Pals. The Regiment served on the Western Front, at Gallipoli, and in Macedonia, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. In all, they earned a total of 120 Battle Honours and suffered a total of 7,000 casualties.
Colne changed forever.
Colne Commemorates the Great War was designed to help us all remember and to educate us about lesser known aspects of The Great War.
In 2014, we held our first event and despite the rain, Colne turned out en masse – with many visitors from farther afield – to remember. The focus was very much on recruitment and how the Home Front was bound up in the jingoism of the beginning of The Great War. Our lively Poster Campaign and Recruitment Events deployed the same psychological tactics as events a century before.