HAY-ON-WYE turned back the clock for a tribute weekend in memory of all those young men from the town and surrounding villages who lost their lives during the First World War a century ago.

In searing temperatures, re-enactors clad in khaki marched with regular soldiers, veterans, members of the Royal British Legion carrying standards, nurses in vintage uniforms, scouts, even a group of women from Hay who were attired in Suffragette colours.

An authentic horse-drawn battle wagon made a dramatic entry into Memorial Square, while 19-year-old Vika Engel, who lives near Hay, joined the procession in the uniform of a ‘Tommy’ on her horse, Boo, representing the renowned warhorses’ role during the Great War.

Former serviceman Kelvyn Jenkins and his team spent two years planning Hay’s tribute, with encampments and re-enactments on Saturday and a special service beside the war memorial on Sunday. However, his involvement was limited due to a trapped sciatic nerve in his back. Clearly in agony, he managed to stand for the British and Welsh national anthems. Later, Mr Jenkins thanked all who were involved, and praised his son, Edward, a Royal Marine, for carrying him to the service.

Music, both rousing and solemn, was played by Surrey Police Band and Swansea City Pipe Band and nostalgic wartime songs were performed by Talgarth Male Choir, Wern Fach Singers and Rhayader Voices in Unity Choir., while moving solos were sung by Emma Brown including Keep the Home Fires Burning.

Overhead, a wartime bi-plane saluted the crowds gathered in Memorial Square, the aerial display joined by flocks of rooks and jackdaws disturbed from their roosts in the huge sycamore trees beside Hay Castle.

Lord Lieutenant of Powys, Shan Legge-Bourke laid the first of a series of poppy wreaths on the war memorial, while the roll of honour was read out to spectators, some of whom placed red roses at the memorial. One veteran from Merthyr Tydfil, Des Magness was moved to hear Private Albert Magness, his great-uncle’s name called out from the memorial.

Veteran Colonel Timothy Van Rees, a Powys county councillor, called for three cheers for Kelvyn Jenkins and his team whose organisation had been “impeccably conducted”, he said. Col Van Rees presented a tribute entitled ‘Lest we Forget’ to the hushed gathering. “In early August 1914, young men from Hay and villages around the town, who were used to training in the Drill Hall, suddenly found themselves called from working in the fields and dressed in uniform,” he said.

“We have lost a considerable number of soldiers and lest we forget, we must instil in our children and grandchildren to remember those who died in two world wars. Do not ever forget,” he added.