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Reliving the day which sparked the Great War

By Kent Messenger reporter
Re-enactment of assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in St Peter's
Re-enactment of assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in St Peter's

by Jan Thom

The shot that rang out on St Peter’s village green, Broadstairs, on Saturday was a haunting reminder of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand that sparked the start of the First World War in 1914.

The re-enactment was one of Thanet District Council’s series of events commemorating the start of the Great War, and was the idea of Broadstairs and St Peter’s Town Clerk Sarah Pengelly.

Archduke Ferdinand was heir to the Austrian throne and the Serbs were concerned that he wanted Serbia to be a part of the Austria Hungarian Federation, which they did not want.

Two other students thought about assassinating him and at least one committed suicide. Gavrillo Princip, played by Andrew Nolan of Broadstairs Dickens Players, actually carried out the deed. The Archduke’s wife Sophie, was pregnant at the time.

The re-enactment was co-ordinated by local actor Michael Flagg after an approach by St Peter’s Village Tour president Brian Sleightholm.

Costumed characters included Peter Shaw, John Palmer as the doctor, Margaret Chambers as a nurse, and police officers David Woodland, Norman Wilkes and Michael Flagg. Broadstairs and St Peter’s Mayor Cllr Rosalind Binks played the Mayor of Sarajevo.

David and Diana Moss of Moss Wedding Cars Cliftonville Margate supplied a magnificent 1914 vintage car free of charge.

Mr Flagg said more than 70 people, including South Thanet MP Laura Sandys, watched the acclaimed performance.

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