World War One medallions to be re-struck in honour of war hero Major Cecil Wedgwood and comrades

Work is underway to create a unique tribute to Cecil Wedgwood.

Cecil Wedgwood (1863-1916) was a towering figure in North Staffordshirehistory and is celebrated as a war hero, chairman of iconic Wedgwood brand and the first Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent.

The Wedgwood Museum is working with award-winning Stoke-on-Trent    filmmakers Inspired Film and Video to produce a documentary film and  accompanying exhibition about the men from the Wedgwood factory who went to fight in the Great War.

And the project will see the re-creation of the Peace Medallions given to   the 167 Wedgwood workers who followed Cecil Wedgwood into battle,  with funds from the sale of the limited edition medal going to finance the  film.

Members of the media are invited to join Tom Wedgwood, an eighth generation descendant of Josiah Wedgwood and the Great Great Nephew of Cecil, at the Wedgwood Museum, Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent, on  6 August to see the initial medals and learn more about the film at a  launch event for the Cecil Wedgwood memorial project.

There will be a chance to see museum artefacts and to hear from Tom Wedgwood, the film’s narrator.

Cecil Wedgwood died during the World War One Battle of the Somme  while leading a battalion which included workers from the Wedgwood  factory.

Having previously seen service in the Boer War, Wedgwood volunteered   to raise his own battalion of the North Staffordshire Regiment and  shunned the chance of a strategic role to personally lead his men in the   trenches of World War One.

His last words were said to be “Forward North Staffords” as he stood  facing the enemy in the heat of battle. Surviving members of the regiment paid tribute by writing “One of England’s Best” on a wooden cross where he fell at La Boiselle.

The film will be presented by Tom Wedgwood and follows his personal  journey as he discovers more about his Great, Great Uncle Cecil and the men who followed his lead, leaving their jobs as skilled potters to fight the enemy.

Tom Wedgwood said: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to be involved with and present this film about Cecil Wedgwood and the men from the Wedgwood Factory who fought in the Great War.

These great stories of social conscience helped to make Wedgwood the company that it is today.

The sacrifice made by these men and the impact that they had, not only  on the factory but also on the community, is critical to our understanding of the bloodiest conflict of the twentieth century.

This is an incredible opportunity to find out more about the response of  the Wedgwood family and the workers from the factory during these very challenging times.”

Wedgwood originally struck 168 Peace Medallions – one for Cecil Wedgwood and each of the men from Wedgwood who fought alongside him in the Great War.

They were given to survivors and relatives of the men who lost their lives.

All of the original medals now appear to have been lost but the original    casts are being used to create copies for the new limited edition.

Mike McDonald, a Director at Inspired Film and Video, said: “It is an honour to be asked to work on this unique project which reflects the life  of one of Staffordshire’s greatest sons and the men who went into battle alongside him.

“We believe the plans to fund the project by recreating the campaign medal are unique. Just 168 will be made, one for each of the original  medals struck, and Wedgwood are confident they will be highly sought after.”

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact Nigel Howle on 0776 2043436, email  nigelhowle@o2.co.uk