Hundreds turned out to commemorate the centenary of the First World War at Dorchester's Corn Exchange, where a free event celebrated the town's wartime history with songs from the past.

People came to learn more about the history of Dorchester and it's role during the war as well as enjoy the entertainment on offer at this 'Homecoming' event.

The free event began with a welcome from Dorchester’s Mayor, David Taylor, who said: “This event today has shown how Dorchester comes together and the importance of commemorating the 100 years since the end of World War One.”

The Town Council launched a new Poppy Trail at the event, which traces the history of Dorchester’s landmarks and their wartime roles such as the prisoner of war camp and army barracks.

Music from the time of war was performed by The Decadettes and children from Manor Park school and St Osmund’s school, while authentic food and drinks were available in the form of trench stew, Nelson cake and camp coffee.

People were also invited to wear clothes of the time to add to the atmosphere and one lady who did that was Margaret Williams. She wore her grandmother’s wedding dress that was over 100 years old.

Historian Brian Bates held talks about his research into the town’s role in the war: “Dorchester’s Great War dead are listed on its war memorials. Behind each name there is a tragedy which, taken together, was a tragedy for the whole community.”

The Mill Street Housing Association created a map of Mill Street during the war, decorated with green dots to show the men who returned home from the war and red dots showing those that did not.

Judith Dearlove, secretary of the Association, said: “Over 100 men from Mill Street went to war and at least half did not return, leaving families to cope with their loss and children to grow up without a father.”

Emma Scott, Community Development Officer at Dorchester Town Council, said: “Now that we have reached this milestone, people are talking about what remembrance will look like going forwards and part of that is trying to remember how terrible war is and trying to find ways to avoid it.”

Following this event, the beacon in Salisbury Fields will be lit on Sunday in a tribute called Beacons of Light, signifying the light of peace that emerged from the darkness of four years of war.