On Remembrance Day, and as we remember and honour the servicemen and women who lost their lives in World War I, we wanted to consider the role that Victoria Park played during the war.
It is with real pride that the place we call the home of English bowls, host to our annual National Championships and the chosen location to host the upcoming Commonwealth Games, played a pivotal role for the local community during the First World War.
The town became a staging point for elements of the various Warwickshire regiments, including the Royal Fusiliers who would have barracked around the town.
Victoria Park, renamed in 1899 in honour of the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria, was a central point for rest and recreation for the troops. They were able to enjoy the extensive landscape that the park offers.
Already a location for tennis and cricket, it played a crucial role in supporting and preparing troops heading for France and the trenches.
As the war progressed, the pattern of life in the town changed, and the need for care and rehabilitation became as key to the war effort as the preparation of troops to the front.
The town was full with the sounds of marching troops and horses’ hooves with a daily march from Greatheed Road to Victoria Park for exercise and to complete drills and manoeuvres.
The park was an integral part of the war effort supporting both these logistical and training needs, with an added benefit as a leisure resource to these troops both preparing for war, as well as the recovery of many of those sadly wounded.
This Remembrance Day, it is with a real sense of pride that the park, home of bowls in England, played such an important role in many aspects of supporting the war effort.