Exhibition looks at the experiences of WWI
5:30am Monday 28th April 2014 in By Elizabeth Mackley
A SPECIAL exhibition to mark the centenary of the First World War opened in Royal Wootton Bassett on Saturday.
The exhibition on life in the trenches and the impact the war had on families in the town will be in the Town Hall and Museum during normal opening hours until November.
There are a number of displays, including cabinets filled with postcards and letters, displays about the food soldiers would have eaten, and information about the role women played during the war.
There is also a trench featuring the food, personal items and equipment a soldier would have had, as well as a mannequin dressed in a soldier’s uniform.
Mary Harrison, 80, whose father, Arthur William Coleman, fought during the Great War, was part of the steering group which arranged for the exhibition to take place.
She said: “My father lived in Wood Street. He lived in Royal Wootton Bassett his whole life.
“He was just a regular soldier who was called up when he turned 18.
“He never spoke about the war and we never thought to ask him about it.”
The Royal Wootton Bassett Museum and Heritage Group decided to put together an exhibition on the war to pay homage to the soldiers who lost their lives in the fight and for the families who were affected in the town.
Stephen Walls, 62, treasurer of the Royal Wootton Bassett Museum and Heritage Group, said: “One hundred years is a very long time and we just wanted to run something ourselves like a lot of towns are doing.
“It’s something that a lot of children are interested in as well and learning about what life was like as a soldier.
“We also have a trench which is quite interesting.”
While usual opening hours at the museum are restricted, the group is offering to open the museum on special occasions for groups who want to see the exhibits.
Stephen said: “We were talking about opening it up especially for schools who wanted to come along or any groups, Brownies, Scouts, whoever, and opening it up especially for them.”
While the exhibition is taking place, visitors will still be able to view the usual items on display in the museum on the town’s social, rural, commercial and industrial history.
Those wanting to see the exhibition can visit the museum in the High Street every Wednesday and Saturday morning from 10am to noon.
To get in touch with the Royal Wootton Bassett Museum and Heritage Group call David Thompson on 01793 848686.
For more information about Swindon in the Great War and how it is being commemorated, visit swindonadvertiser.