Book Group report – November 2018

By Jane Wilson

To coincide with the Museum’s WW1 exhibition “To Serve King and Country”, our next few Book Group meetings are being held as open meetings, so that members of the public can listen in to our discussions and hopefully be inspired to do a little of their own WW1 reading.  The next meeting is on Tuesday 22 January.

Our first recommendation for November was ‘Ring of Steel – Germany and Austria/Hungary at War 1914 – 1918’ by Alexander Watson. He tells the history of WW1 from the perspective of its instigators, and ultimately its losers, a side of the story that has not been commonly reflected in a lot of the book choices we have had in the Book Group so far. Watson investigates why the loss of the war for these once dominant nations led to the instability of the states in that region, and thus the effects on the populations of that area of Europe.

Shifting the literary emphasis to India, our next book was ‘Across the Black Waters’ by Mulk Raj Anand, a pioneer of Indo-English fiction. First published in 1939 and informed by many conversations with Indian WW1 soldiers, the fictional story follows the military life of Lalu, a sepoy (or private) in the Indian Army. From landing in Marseilles in 1914, we hear of Lalu’s experiences as he and his compatriots make their way through France, getting used to many new things – language, culture, countryside, the bitter winter cold, as well as the horrors of trench warfare and inevitably, death. A good read, our Book Group reader at times forgot the book was fiction as it felt such an accurate portrayal of an Indian soldier’s experience in France.

As a change, our next recommendation, rather than being for a book, was a highlight of recently read newspaper and magazine articles.

The first item was about the WW1 experiences of Norman Manley, a Jamaican lawyer and politician who eventually became the first Jamaican Premier after Jamaica gained independence. The article recounted a little of his WW1 experiences in the Royal Field Artillery and how he never truly got over the death of his younger brother, Roy. They had served along side each other and Manly was to comment “I cannot speak how I felt. We were good friends, and I would be lonely for the rest of the war.” This article was of extra interest to the group as two members had lived and worked in Jamaica for many years and had knowledge of the politician.

A second article told the story of another WW1 veteran, Harry Patch, a name well known in Britain as one of the last war veterans to have survived well into old age, dying in 2009 at the age of 111 years. In an extract read out from the article, Harry talks about having a pact with his fellow soldiers about not killing any of the enemy unless they really had to, and about aiming to injure and not kill when firing at the German troops. He described his thoughts on the futility of war, and how his war experiences haunted him for the rest of his life.

Moving back to book selections, we heard next about ‘Passchendaele – The Sacrificial Ground’ by Nigel Steel and Peter Hart. Passchendaele was the 3rd Battle of Ypres and by using accounts of men ranging from privates to majors, the authors cover the conflict in great detail. Starting with the planning and preparation for the battle from both the military and political viewpoint, the authors then brilliantly reflect the horror of the conflict, with first hand accounts painting an accurate portrait for the reader of the sights, smells and sounds that bombarded the troops. The book then goes on to cover the considerable losses of men on both sides, and to consider where blame may have been apportioned for the outcome of the battle and the loss of life.

Our last reading suggestion was John Keegan’s ‘The Face of Battle – A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme’. This is a seminal work that has influenced many books to be written since about the Somme. Keegan’s writing covers the Somme from the point of view of the soldier directly involved on the ground, and their experiences of being directly in the danger zone. Some interesting sections of the book discuss the concept of Pals Brigades, recruitment from public schools for officer training and relationships between officers and their men. More specific chapters look at why armies go to war, different sorts of weapons used, military tactics etc. and compares and contrasts the three battles in the book title. Keegan was a military historian, lecturer and author and has a prolific number of published works to his name, covering a wide range of conflicts and wars.

All underlined titles are available to borrow from the Durham County Council library system.

Knit and crochet

By Judith Phillips

It’s many years since I did any serious knitting and I have to confess that doing crochet has never been one of skills.  But I decided when thinking about the exhibition based on the project that we ought to include knitting and crocheting as so many people on the Home Front used these skills to make ‘comforts’ for those serving at home and abroad.  The Teesdale Mercury is full of reports of groups getting together to knit gloves, mittens, scarves, helmets, socks and other articles to send to local men (and women, sometimes).  And there are frequent quotations from letters of thanks sent from the front.

‘Knitting for Tommy’ includes several patterns for garments and I was really lucky to find knitters happy to knit socks, gloves and helmets on four needles – it brought back memories of my grandmother teaching me how to turn a heel – so we have several knitted articles in the exhibition.  The Knit and Natter group who meet regularly in the museum agreed to help out with knitting various coloured flowers to add to the community artwork ‘Behind the Trenches’ currently on display in the museum entrance area.  On Thursdays 17 and 31 January, 14 and 28 February they will be meeting in the middle Picture Gallery from about 2.15 to knit, crochet and natter, much as people did a hundred years ago.  And now they’re creating blankets that will go to charities helping ex-service personnel and families affected by 21st century wars.

Have you some time to spare?  And perhaps some odd balls of yarn lying around?  How about making a few blanket squares?  I’ve had a couple of long journeys and several very quiet evenings over the Christmas and New Year break, and I’ve been amazed at what I’ve managed to make – and I’m not a speedy knitter!  I’ve used a basic pattern and then made up variations; you have a free hand in what pattern and variations you use.

Blanket square pattern

Use 3.25mm (No. 10) or 4mm (No. 8) needles and double knitting yarn

Cast on 22 stitches

1st row: Knit 1, purl 1 to end

2nd row: Purl 1, knit 1 to end

Repeat these two rows twice

7th row: knit, 1 purl 1, knit 1 purl 1, knit 16, knit 1 purl 1, knit 1, purl 1

8th row: purl 1, knit 1, purl 1, knit 1, purl 16, purl 1, knit 1, purl 1, knit 1

Repeat these two rows 8 times

25th row: knit 1, purl 1 to end

26th row: purl 1, knit 1 to end

Repeat these two rows twice

Cast off.

Any colour, any pattern welcome! 

As I said, I’m no crocheter, but I’ll happily accept any large or small squares you can make.  Perhaps you have a pattern I could put into another newsletter? 

You can leave squares at Reception in the museum for me.  Or you post them to me at the museum.

After the Armistice

By June Parkin

For many people in Teesdale the armistice was not an end to their worries and their suffering. Armed forces personnel were only gradually demobilised. Some were prisoners of war who returned home in poor health.

Moreover, the population had to cope with an influenza epidemic, mistakenly called Spanish ‘flu.

In Teesdale , as early as July, cases began to be reported. In October there were 12 deaths in Startforth and by November the numbers had increased. In December the epidemic was described as ‘alarming’. Social meetings were cancelled and the North East County School ended the term early because of the large number of cases among boys and staff.

On February 26 1919 the ‘Teesdale Mercury’ deaths column carried two sad reports in its Roll of Honour.

Private Sidney Carter 75440 of the 6th Battalion DLI, who had been a prisoner in Germany, had died age 19 in St.George’s Hospital, Waterloo, London. He was the fourth son of Thomas and Mary Hannah Carter of Cross Lanes. His older brother, Alfred Victor, served with the Royal Engineers and survived the war. Sidney Ralph Carter’s grave is in Rokeby St Mary Churchyard and has the inscription ‘PEACE PERFECT PEACE’.

The other death was Thomas Wilfred Wearmouth, eldest son of Joseph and Margaret Wearmouth of Hanging Shaw, Forest-in-Teesdale. Wilfred, as he was known, had enlisted in October 1917 and was Private 20328 in the 6th Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment. Sent to the Western Front on March 10 1918 during the German spring offensive, he fought at Amiens, Albert and Cambrai. He was wounded, underwent an operation at Le Havre and was then transferred to the Tayside Auxiliary Hospital in Perthshire. He made good progress and it was expected that he would soon be discharged. However, he contracted influenza on February 13 and died of pneumonia on February 18, aged 28. His grave is in Forest churchyard with the inscription ‘ONE OF THE BEST’. He is commemorated in the Church of St. James the Less, Langdon Beck and on the Forest-in-Teesdale Primary School Triptych.

Peace on earth

By Judith Phillips

“Peace on earth”: singing those words during the Christmas season in 1918 must have meant so much to families in Teesdale.  The armistice that brought an end to fighting in Europe (and gradually in other parts of the world) had been agreed only just over six weeks earlier, signalling the end of a war that had been going on for four and a half years. 

More than 2,000 men with Teesdale connections had fought in British or colonial and dominion forces; several hundred would never return, and many who survived were often damaged physically or psychologically. At Christmas 1918 you can imagine that families were hoping their loved ones who were still in the forces or engaged in other war work would soon be returning safe and sound.  Unfortunately for some, that never happened.  The so-called Spanish ‘flu epidemic killed millions throughout the world, and Teesdale suffered losses at home and abroad.  Prisoners of war took months to return and some men were still in the armed forces until 1921.

The wartime Christmases were different each year, and yet in many ways so alike.  With the war only a few months old in 1914, people could still hope for a quick end to the fighting, even if ‘It will be over by Christmas’ was never a likely military option.  The Victoria Hall in Barnard Castle hosted a Christmas treat for over 300 wives and children of soldiers with a visit by Santa Claus and a gift for everyone.  The town also arranged an evening of food and entertainment – a concert and a picture show – for the 17th DLI, billeted in Barnard Castle. Gifts were sent to every Teesdale man in the 6th DLI as well as to men from Barnard Castle serving with other regiments.

A short note in the Mercury (6 January 1915) notes that two sons of the Reverend Lightfoot, the Primitive Methodists minister, were at home for Christmas 1914.  Hugh was a driver with the 1st West Lancashire Regiment and Harold was a wireless telegraphist with the 5th Dragoons.  I looked up both men in the Roll of Honour we’re researching (www.thebowesmuseumww1.org.uk) and I was delighted to discover that both survived the war.  Christmas 1918 must have been a happy one in the Lightfoot household.

By Christmas 1915 there had been heavy losses in battles and it was clear that the war wasn’t going to end quickly.  In the run-up to Christmas men from the 20th DLI provided an entertainment for the townspeople to raise funds to send ‘comfort parcels’ to men at the front.  In the current exhibition at The Bowes Museum – “For King and Country”: Exploring the Role of Teesdale in the First World War – you can see instructions for packing up a comfort parcel and modern versions of the food and clothing that was sent out.  A special benefit night to raise funds for Christmas parcels was held in late November 1916 – a year marked by the huge losses at the Battles of Jutland and the Somme.  And that year, the Mercury tells us, there was to be no Christmas leave for home soldiers – that must have been such a disappointment to the men and their families.

Early in 1917 the Mercury reported that Driver J. Kavanagh of the Motor Transport was at home in Startforth on leave from France and he sent his thanks to the War Emergency Committee for the Christmas parcel he had received.  Of course, I wanted to check him on our Roll of Honour.  I found three possible candidates: JT Kavanagh of Bridge End, John Thomas Kavanagh and James William Kavanagh, both of Startforth.  Clearly I needed to do a bit more research.  Trawling through Ancestry I found a medal card and attestation papers for John Thomas Kavanagh in the Army Service Corps who enlisted in February 1915; he gave his father’s name as Joseph and the address as Bridge End, Barnard Castle.  There is often a blurring of the boundaries between the bridge end of Barnard castle and Startforth – quite confusing!  The census returns for 1911 show the Kavanagh family living at 33 The Bank, Barnard Castle: Joseph is head of the household and John Thomas is the eldest son (the James William listed in the family is too young to be the men on the Roll of Honour).  As far as I can tell, John Thomas survived the war – another fortunate family.

November and December 1917 again saw various local fundraising efforts – usually concerts – for Christmas parcels and/or money to send to Teesdale soldiers serving abroad.  By Christmas 1918 fundraising efforts hadn’t stopped, with gifts still sent abroad. (I was rather intrigued to see a notice in the Mercury mentioning that women munitions workers – now no longer needed – were acting as postal workers).

But let’s end on a more cheerful seasonal note.  Throughout the war men had sent home embroidered postcards with a variety of designs – there are several examples on display in the WWI exhibition mentioned earlier.  These postcards were a source of income to French women, many of whom had been displaced by war, and I am sure they were treasured at home.  Fred Nevison from Barnard Castle sent this lovely Christmas card home to his sister Winnie, incorporating the British and French flags with the traditional holly and mistletoe.  Fred came back to Barnard Castle where he became a successful businessman and a Trustee of The Bowes Museum. 

If you have any information about Teesdale men and women involved in or affected by the First World War, we’d love to hear from you.  You can email libraryandarchives@thebowesmuseum.org.uk or drop a line to The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle DL12 8NP.

Book Group Report, October 2018

By Judith Phillips

 “The Half Shilling Curate” by Sarah Reay was the first reading recommendation for our October meeting. The author’s grandfather was the curate in question, the Reverend Herbert Butler Cowl, who volunteered as an Army Chaplain with the Durham Light Infantry during WW1. Using his own accounts and diary entries, Sarah Reay tells the story of his life, including his attentive and hands-on care of the troops at the Front in France. He is severely injured and sent back to England on the HMHS Anglia, which has the misfortune to be hit by a German mine and sink. Even at this stage, Cowl helped others in distress and after was awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry on that day. While not returning to France, he continued as an Army Chaplain and the book then charts the following decades as a Methodist Minister, his family life and the faith that sustained him throughout.

A previous Book Group suggestion inspired this month’s choice for one member, who brought along “The Great War in Portraits” by Paul Moorhouse and Sebastian Faulks. The book contains portraits in many forms – photographs, pencil sketches done in the field, formal portraits as well as before and after images where soldiers had required surgery and facial reconstruction after injury.

A diverse range of artists and genres are represented in the book, the harsh and brutal reality in Otto Dix’s portraits contrasting with softer pencil sketches of a soldier resting in a trench with eyes closed. The book was written to accompany an exhibition held at the National Portrait Gallery in 2014.

Personal WW1 experience as a Lieutenant in the Norfolk Regiment, and then the Army Claims Commission, influenced Ralph Mottram’s novels “The Spanish Farm Trilogy”. The connection between the three stories is the Spanish Farm, home to the Vanderlynden family, and their relationships with the thousands of soldiers billeted there as they pass to and from the trenches. A slow yet compelling read, the reader gets a sideways look at WW1 through the interaction of the French/Flemish farming community with the British troops stationed so close to the Front. The book won the Hawthornden Prize for Literature in 1924 and was the inspiration for the 1927 silent film ‘Roses of Picardy’.

Heading back to the theme of military chaplains, our next discussion centred on “A Prayer for Gallipoli: The Great War Diaries of Chaplain Kenneth Best”, edited by Gavin Roynon. Best’s first taste of military life came after becoming an Army Chaplain and a posting to Egypt, closely followed by his arrival in Gallipoli in May 1915. He only feels he is truly fulfilling his role by serving up and close with the men in the trenches, giving hands on help wherever he can, and being able to communicate with and relate to men of all ranks and levels. His diary entries show he felt no fear at the time, irrespective of the sheer volume of disease, death and mass burials that his job brought him into contact with. He was awarded a Military Cross in 1918 for his services as a chaplain.

Moving away from the direct action of WW1, Deidre Beddoe’s “Back to Home and Duty” considers the role of women between the two World Wars. While using examples of women from all classes, Beddoe also focuses on the private and public lives as well as women’s work careers. There was a post WW1 expectation that women would return to their domestic duties in the home, and not carry on working. The book highlights women’s struggles against this preconception as well as the politization of their actions, with the acknowledgement that sadly, many women’s lives remained pretty much as they had been before the war.

The last reading selection for the meeting was “Of Arms and The Heroes – The Story of the Birtley Belgians” by John Bygate. Having edited a previous book written about this community of Belgians living and working near Birtley during WW1, and with the help of previously unseen archives, Bygate has written in great detail about the Belgian community of Elisabethville. The various chapters cover the building and running of the munition’s factory, the village built, separated from Birtley, to house over 3000 Belgian workers and their families, and the provision of schools/hospital/churches/shops etc. to cater for this segregated community. Complete with photographs and maps of Elisabethville during the war years, Bygate brings the reader up to date with details of the few reminders of any evidence of the Belgians and their lives in Birtley during WW1

Our November Book Group Meeting, to coincide with the ‘To Serve King and Country’ exhibition running at the Bowes Museum, will take place in the Music Room, next door to the exhibition. So why not call in, pull up a chair and sit and listen for a few minutes as the group make more recommendations for WW1 reading.

 

All underlined titles are available through the County Durham Library Service.

 

Programme of events and activities

The exhibition “To Serve King and Country”: Exploring the role of Teesdale in the First World War is now up and running at the museum until 3rd March 2019. In conjunction with the exhibition, we have a programme of events and activities.

The WWI Bookgroup meets on the third Tuesday of the month. So we plan to meet on Tuesday 20th November, Tuesday 18th December, Tuesday 15th January and Tuesday 19th February. For these four meetings, we’ll meet near the exhibition. We usually each bring one or two WWI-related book to introduce to rest of the group – but you don’t have to bring a book – just come along and join us for some lively discussion. Everyone is welcome.

On alternate Thursdays, at 2.15, a project volunteer will lead a short gallery talk in the exhibition space, giving an overview of the exhibition and highlighting a few stories or objects of their choice. The talk lasts no more than 30 minutes and there’s an opportunity to ask questions and discuss the exhibition. The talks are free with admission passes and to Friends. The next gallery talk will be on Thursday 29th November.

A Knit and Natter group will be in the Picture Galleries on alternate Thursdays, again starting at 2.15 and going on until 4.00. As well as knitting (or crocheting) flowers to go onto the WWI-inspired community artwork hanging in the Entrance Hall, the group will be knitting blankets, hats and mitts to send to charities who support war victims and ex-service personnel. Wool, needles and patterns are provided – and there are experienced knitters on hand to help you. Even if you can only mange a few rows when you drop in or perhaps you’ve never tried, you’ll be very welcome. The sessions are free with admission passes and to Friends. The next meeting will be on Thursday 22nd November.

In the New Year, some of the project volunteers will give short presentations on people and events they have researched. We are also planning to have an event to mark the end of the project in March 2019 – again, details will be put onto the museum’s website as soon as possible. For further details, keep an eye on the Events page of the museum’s website, and information will circulated in future e-newsletters.

First World War exhibition

By Judith Phillips

Our First World War exhibition is now up and running at the museum until 3rd March 2019.  We had the official opening on Saturday 20th October when about eighty people attended the morning event.  It was rather an emotional time as the exhibition represented the culmination of many hours of work, not just in the exhibition preparation but during the project itself.

Sir Mark Wrightson, Chair of the Museum Trustees, opened the event by brandishing a 1918 trench periscope that belonged in his family – a rather classier example than the one currently on display but both very effective and necessary in trench warfare.  Jane Whittaker, Head of Collections at the museum, gave a brief overview of the project and thanked the various institutions, charities and other groups who have supported the project and the exhibition.  She then introduced the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham who formally opened the event after a brief speech. 

I was very pleased to have an opportunity to thank my colleagues in the Exhibition, Conservation and Education teams and Rupert Philbrick who worked as Community Co-ordinator for the first half of the project.  But mainly I wanted to thank people from the community who have so generously shared their stories and allowed us to borrow material for the exhibition, as well as the project volunteers who so far have put in more than 3000 hours in research and inputting.

It was great to see so many volunteers and supporters of the project at the exhibition opening.  I am sorry I wasn’t able to speak to everyone but be assured that you were very much appreciated.

I had the privilege of taking Barnard Castle Mayor, Sandra Moorhouse, around the exhibition.  Sandra has been a great supporter of the project since its beginning.  She was accompanied by her grandson who had just flown in from Abu Dhabi but he wanted to see the exhibition as he is studying the First World War at school.

It was so moving when we went through to the exhibition.  Some people saw their fathers’ photographs and medals, others saw souvenirs from fathers and grandfathers; another was delighted to see a diary kept by a family member; others saw socks and caps they had knitted to WWI patterns. 

The rolling Roll of Honour lists all the names on the database and will be added to, in due course.  Over 2500 names take about 50 minutes to scroll past.  A world map from 1914 has been used to show how men and women with Teesdale connections were involved in fighting and nursing hundreds and thousands of miles from home.

It has always been important that modern generations have an opportunity to reflect on the war.  So knitted and crocheted poppies, marguerites and cornflowers are being stuck onto a large canvas painting of a field in Flanders or France, a selection of poems and prose by primary school pupils, secondary school and university students and young men in HMYOI (Deerbolt) can be seen, and visitors are encouraged to leave a note of their thoughts.

A programme of events around the exhibition is being arranged and details are on the museum website.

I do hope you will have an opportunity to visit the exhibition and I look forward to your comments (we’ve already had a couple of good suggestions).

“They shall not grow old”

By Judith Phillips

Very familiar words, but somehow given a different meaning in Peter Jackson’s film which was premiered recently.  If you haven’t had a chance to see the film, it is certainly worth viewing.

I went to see it in Darlington for the live screening of the premiere.  There was so much interest, we had to be moved to a larger auditorium!  I have noticed that the film is still on elsewhere and I understand it will be screened on BBC TV in early November.

The film was commissioned by 14-18 NOW which has been behind a whole range of cultural responses to the First World War during its centenary.  Jackson has taken hours of original film held at the Imperial War Museum and selected images and passages of film to represent the soldier’s experience on the Western Front from 1914 to 1918.  He has slowed the films down to show people moving at a natural pace – not the rather jerky speeded-up version we’ve been used to seeing.  Some conversations have been voiced where lip-reading gave the original (possibly toned down in a few places?).  Voices from the BBC’s interviews with survivors in the 1960s and 1970s were the only commentary.

Most controversially he has coloured many the films, although the early films about recruitment and training are left in black and white.  It’s only when troops move overseas that the colour kicks in.  So we see blue skies and brown mud, chestnut horses, men in khaki or grey or blue uniforms.  For me, the greatest impact of the colour was when wounded or dead animals and men were shown – the blood was so obvious, and somehow horrible injuries were clearer, no longer indistinguishable from the muddy background.  In some ways, the men became so much closer in colour, and I still don’t know whether that made more or less impact on me.  What I did notice was what dreadful teeth so many of the ordinary soldiers had – again, so much more obvious in colour.

In the Q&A session that followed the premiere, Jackson himself pointed out the limitation of the film in only showing the Western Front – he could make several films, he said, from the film available showing different theatres of war.  There were some fleeting shots of Chinese labourers and troops from India and other parts of the empire, an area that wasn’t really explored.  And, if I were picky, I would have liked a more obvious chronology – which shots were the Battle of the Somme, which related to 1917 etc.  But, overall, definitely worth seeing, in my opinion.  I’d love to hear from you when you’ve had a chance to see it.

They shall Not Grow Old

Peter Jackson has produced a film based on original first World War film footage held by the Imperial War Museum and audio archives at the BBC which will be shown ONLY on Tuesday 16th October.  The nearest venues for Teesdale are Vue in Darlington and the Station in Richmond (check their websites for further details).  The film has been remastered, coloured and given a sound background.  We would be interested to hear your reactions to the film if you manage to see it or even your feelings about such a film being made – there has already been some lively discussion for and against the project.

Our WWI exhibition is fast approaching

By Judith Phillips

“To Serve King and Country” – Exploring the role of Teesdale in WWI opens to the public at 1.00 on Saturday 20th October and runs until Sunday 3rd March 2019.  As you can imagine, the week before the exhibition opens is very busy but it’s been a great privilege to be so closely involved in all aspects of the planning and preparation.

Putting on an exhibition based on the project has always been part of the project.  It’s an opportunity to highlight the results of research over more than four years by volunteers.  More than 150 people have contributed information, stories, memorabilia, time and research skills to the project – more than 3000 hours so far (and we’re not finished yet!).

Over the years more than 2000 names have been added to the initial Roll of Honour and, in many cases, we’ve been able to contribute an immense amount of additional information about men and women from Teesdale who served during the war or were otherwise involved in war work.  In the exhibition we’ve only been able to highlight a few stories but all the names on the Roll of Honour will be on display and visitors will be able to access the full digital version on iPads in the exhibition space.  Selecting people for the exhibition has been a very hard task – there are so many fascinating stories relating to people with a connection to Teesdale.

One of the surprising outcomes of the research has been the realisation that Teesdale people were really involved in or connected to places worldwide.  We talk about ‘World War 1’ but for most people the images we have in our minds belong to the muddy trenches of Flanders on the Western Front.  But we have found Teesdale men and women in Russia, the Middle East, Africa and roaming the seas in the Royal Navy; we have found Teesdale men who emigrated to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States who fought in the war.

And it’s not just the men and women on the front line who were involved the war.  Every casualty meant sadness for a family.  Government campaigns and local initiatives raised funds, entertained convalescents, controlled foodstuffs and provided ‘comforts’ for the troops.  Even children’s toys reflected the war.  Different methods of remembrance and post-war difficulties remind us of the longer-term effects of the war.  Throughout the project local communities have been involved, and modern responses from school and university students and young men in HMYOI (Deerbolt) will be on display alongside a community artwork which will be populated with poppies, marguerites and cornflowers during the exhibition run.

We don’t generally think of embroidery as having any connection to the war but it was often used as a therapeutic exercise for men recovering from wounds or illness and local sales of work, as fund-raising events, included embroidered items.  Men in France frequently sent home beautifully embroidered postcards and these provided employment and income for women in France.  We are very pleased to be able to include material from the Embroiderers’ Guild exhibition Calm during the Storm in our exhibition.  We are very grateful, too, for the loan of DLI material and local memorabilia. 

A programme of events and activities in conjunction with the exhibition is being prepared (details on the website).  Please come and join us for knitting, gallery talks, book group and drop-in handling sessions from the DLI.