Unveiling ceremony for Joseph Blackburn benchPublished Friday, 29 June 2018
On Thursday 28 June Wyre Council held a dedication service and unveiling ceremony of Joseph Blackburn and the centenary bench to commemorate the end of World War one.
Guests and members of the public attended the ceremony at Thornton cenotaph including members of the Blackburn family, Armed Forces Champions and Mayor of Wyre, Marge Anderton.
During the ceremony Lancashire and Wyre Councils Armed Forces champions read aloud the poem ‘Ode to the fallen’, followed by a two minutes silence in a moving tribute to remember those who lost their lives.
Joseph Blackburn was a market gardener in Thornton during the First World War. The then, Thornton Urban District Council said it was in the national interest that he should follow that trade and so was exempted from going to fight. His exemption wasn’t absolute, and soon it was overturned at a central tribunal in Westminster. Consequently Joseph was sent off to war.
Joseph Blackburn was killed in action close to the River Somme. He is one of more than eighty Thornton men commemorated on the town’s war memorial.
Joseph’s story has been brought to light by writer and lawyer David Hewitt. David told the story of Joseph Blackburn during the ceremony but you can find out more about Joseph’s story told in David Hewitt’s book Joseph, 1917.