To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Westbury Manor Museum in Fareham is opening a new exhibition to highlight the part played by the people of Fareham and to pay tribute to those who lost their lives, demonstrating the impact on the town in human terms.
Central to Fareham and the Great War is a restaging of the excellent Lost Sons of Fareham, researched and produced by Innes Marlow. He was inspired to undertake this project after stopping and looking at the War Memorial in West Street.
“I saw a wall of names carved in stone, each one of them representing a man from a local family. Ordinary Fareham people who walked the same streets that we walk today,” explains Marlow.
“Having undertaken extensive research, including visiting the battlefields, cemeteries and memorials and reading about these ordinary local men, they were no longer just names.”
The theme of the displays in the exhibition is to show the impact on the community and the sacrifices that were made. All of the men who are named on the memorial were husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, workmates and friends whose loss will have been felt.
Cerian Gale, Community Manager at Westbury Manor Museum, which is operated by Hampshire Cultural Trust, commented: “The exhibition also features a roll call of names of local people who signed up and served through to the end of the fighting. They too deserve recognition. There will be stories of courage and heroism, of grief and loss; but overall it is a story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things of which we can all be proud.”
A permanent legacy of the exhibition is a one-off edition of Innes Marlow’s book, The Lost Sons of Fareham, which has been donated by the author to Westbury Manor Museum. The Lost Sons of Fareham accompanies the exhibition and is a photographic record of graves and memorials in Belgium, France and here at home to Fareham soldiers. Marlow presented the copy of the book to Cerian Gale and it will now form part of the collection of local study resources available to the public at the museum.
There will be four opportunities to take part in a number of ‘Behind the Names’ discussions with the exhibition’s creators, Innes Marlow and Peter Downton. These will take place on Tuesday 23 and Monday 29 October and Saturday 3 and Monday 5 November, 12:00pm – 2:00pm. All the sessions are free.
In addition, during half-term week there will be a range of World War I themed family-friendly activities, including make-and-takes and dressing up. On Tuesday 23 October, the museum will be holding a special event day, when a World War I J-Type lorry – from the collections care for by Hampshire Cultural Trust - will be on display at the front of the museum and there will also be World War I medals and memorabilia to view.
Fareham and the Great War opens on Saturday 20 October and runs until 10 November. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.