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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Exhibition gives a taste of the Great War

HUNDREDS of visitors – schoolchildren and members of the public – now know more about the Great War, thanks to a World War One exhibition being staged in St Nicholas’ Gardens, Whitehaven this week.

By Margaret Crosby

On Tuesday alone, the day of the Freedom Parade through town, around 1,700 pupils from Whitehaven and district schools visited the exhibition.

In pictures and words it tells the story from the outbreak to trench warfare, from the Somme to Passchendale, with local references woven in.

It was intended to give a flavour of the conflict, rather than the full story and show why the country is currently marking its centenary. On hand, dressed as a British soldier, was Alan Gillon, education officer from the Beacon Museum

Housed in a large marquee, the exhibition was staged by the Festival Committee’s Gerard Richardson and sponsored by NMP (Nuclear Management Partners).

“At a time when inhumanity was at its worst, real humanity shone through and that for me defines the Great War,” said Mr Richardson, an ex-serviceman of the Royal Navy. Items on display include grenades, a Lewis gun, German helmets, a Lee Enfield rifle and ammo crates. There were recruiting posters and advertisements (one such for Sunlight soap boasted British Tommies were the cleanest!)

Local references include the U-Boat attack on Lowca, VC Abraham Acton’s story and the three St Bees school VCs: Capt John Fox Russell and Richard William Leslie, both from Wales and William Leefe Robinson, born in India the son of coffee planters who was the first British pilot to shoot down a German airship over Britain.

The exhibition runs until Saturday (May 10) and is open 10am-5pm. It can be found at the rear of St Nicholas Centre.

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