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THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY REMEMBERS WORLD WAR ONE 1914-18. Exhibition in the Village Hall

This marvellous backdrop to the Exhibition was produced by Allan Powell and shows WW1 troops, who have
lost their sight, holding the shoulder of the man in front for guidance, the line being led by a sighted soldier.

This Exhibition organised by the St Osyth Historical Society and Miss Phyllis Hendy the village archivist, was held in our Village Hall on the 2nd and 3rd of August to remember and record event in St Osyth leading up to and during the Great War one hundred year ago, when Great Britain declared we were at war at 11 p.m. on the 4th August 1914.

Visitors to the Exhibition found a whole catalogue of events detailed on display boards along one side of the hall, liberally illustrated with photographs and original documents pertinent to that particular time. For many people, the names of village residents one hundred years ago were a poignant reminder of their own parents and the effect on their lives.

The stage area with its backdrop picture above, was turned into a sandbagged dugout such as those constructed in battle 100 years ago, and liberally scattered with poppies, first mentioned in the poem by John McCrae entitled ‘In Flanders Fields’, the first verse of which says “In Flanders fields the poppies blow - Between the crosses, row on row - That mark our place; and in the sky - The larks, still bravely singing, fly - Scarce heard amid the guns below. The Royal British Legion’s ‘Poppy Day’ began when first dedicated by King George V on 7 November 1919 and has been held in each year following, to raise funds to support injured troops in that war and other wars since.

In the village hall annex where refreshments were available, Paul Harman showed a film of the Great War, projected on to a large screen, for people to watch during their refreshment break. In fact the film itself was a draw and many people saw it through from start to finish.

These photographs were taken at a lunch time when I thought less people would be present, so that the hall and exhibits could be pictured without interfering with people’s pleasure. Joe Cole the Society Secretary said that over 400 people attended to see the display over the two days.

A trench area enclosed for special purposes.

A short distance between sides on a trench model.

Duckboards to keep out of the water

Sandbag defence area and Poppy field

A view showing the display story boards

A view showing the display story boards

A view showing the display story boards

A view showing the display story boards

A view showing the display story boards

A view showing the display story boards

One of the many story boards

A hut to shelter from the weather

with a gun and binoculars inside

One set of family memorabilia and medals from

probably a great grandfather. Note the horse tack

The Village ‘Roll of Honour’. Named in red are those killed

The Title page of the film ready to show in the annexe

Photographs of soldiers serving during WW1.

A medal selection loaned to the Society by Mr Joe Blowers.

Declarations of acceptance of office by Parish Councillors

The Declarations alongside this picture are dated 16th April 1901, only seven years after Parish Councils were brought into being by the Local Government Act 1894.
These gentlemen were signing their acceptance of Office thirteen years before the war and one wonders how many would have later served in the war.
The exhibition has proved a great success, but in addition to the artefacts on show, the ‘in depth’ stories, personal letters from troops and photographs stole the show. As one walked around reading the story boards, one became almost part of a bygone age and entered into the lives of those being reported upon. It was a humbling experience.
The Kohima Epitaph from WWII, spoken for us at village services by Mr Basil Hutley says; “WHEN YOU GO HOME, TELL THEM OF US AND SAY FOR YOUR TOMORROW, WE GAVE OUR TODAY" This exhibition made those words come to life.


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