Two ‘not to be missed’ exhibitions marking 100 years since the beginning of World War One are now on show at the Museum of Lancashire (MoL), Stanley Street, Preston.
‘Outbreak 1914: The road to the Trenches’ charts the build-up to the hostilities, from the recruitment and training of troops, to the first clash of arms in France and Belgium.
The exhibition has been created by the National Army Museum in association with the King’s Royal Hussars Museum and Lancashire County Council’s museum service.
Stephen Bull, the museum service’s curator of military history and archaeology, said: “The exhibition, combined with our own reconstructed World War One trench, provides plenty for people o! f all ages to see and do.
“For example, the sword of Lieutenant Gooodheart will be on display. He was the officer who famously became trapped behind enemy lines and was then forced to charge through the German cavalry with his blade after realising he’d forgotten to load his pistol.
“People will also be able to see the very pennant that fluttered over Field Marshal Sir John French during the campaigns of 1914 and 1915, together with a wide variety of photographs drawn from the National Army Museum collections as well as local collections.”
Visitors will also have the opportunity to learn about the beginning of trench warfare, including how a regiment that began the war as cavalry, expecting it ‘all to be over by Christmas’, were forced to dig in during the Belgian winter using farming tools – and even knives and forks.
The exhibition is complemented both by ‘Somewhere in France’, which takes a look at some of the postcards and letters sent from soldiers to their families, during the First World War.
The display consists of letters and postcards from Lancashire County Council’s own museum and archive collections, and takes on a personal and very poignant note as it invites people to share a little part of the lives of the soldiers through their own words.
Visitors will be able to find out whether Bob makes it home to marry his sweetheart, Hetty, and what happens to Margaret’s nephew, Albert, in the Somme.
As well as remembering the soldiers as husbands, brothers and sons, the display also explores the role of the postcard and the issue of censorship.
Both exhibitions run until 17 November. Admission is free.
For opening times and more information about the exhibitions phone 01772 534 075 or email [email protected]
OR visit www.lancashire.gov.uk