Stourhead will never forget: Uncovering, Sharing and Remembering Stourhead’s War

imagesThe National Trust at Stourhead, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Cranborne Chase AONB, is about to embark on a project to commemorate, through sculpture and workshops, the effect of World War 1 on the community in this corner of Wiltshire. Many local men enlisted with the Dorset Yeomanry. Harry Hoare, the heir to the estate, was fatally wounded fighting in Palestine. Ebenezer Stone, a stable lad, lost both legs.

There will be five large installations across the estate. These will be created from early 1915, over a two-year period, by the Scraptors Sculpture Group. Based in the West Country, the Scraptors specialize in creating themed sculpture trails using recycled materials. The installations will include sculpture and murals showing the change from peace to war; fighting in Gallipoli; the Middle East War; the lives of the wounded and the death of Harry Hoare. A key installation will be waterborne to reflect the convalescent soldiers who were allowed to row on the lake. A floating band will represent the concert-parties laid on by Alda, Lady Hoare for the wounded ‘tommies’ recuperating at the local Red Cross Hospital in Mere.

There will be workshops associated with each installation, open to all. Participants will be invited to contribute ideas for details of the installations. These contributions may be inspired by the effect of the First World War on Stourhead or by family memories. One of the workshops will involve adding sound to an installation

Stourhead volunteers have discovered a great deal about the effect of the war on the community and that research will inform the workshops and installations.

Details will be published in the Stourhead events brochures and on the National Trust website. The Scraptors will be updating progress on their blog.

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History comes to life at Stonehenge

henge footage_JPG-pwrt2English Heritage have launched their new first world war exhibition at the Stonehenge Visitor Centre with spectacular projections of soldiers marching in the landscape. Stonehenge stood at the heart of the world’s largest military training ground during the war, with hundreds of thousands of men travelling from across the Commonwealth to prepare for battle.

Footage of British soldiers preparing for ‘the big push’ in 1917 was being projected onto the stones on the 3rd and the 4th of November. The projection was followed by a rendition of the ‘Last Post’ played by a bugler from the Royal Regiment Fusiliers, and a two minute silence across the World Heritage site.

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First World War Film Competition

National Archives has launched a competition to get aspiring filmmakers to put its First World War files on film. Ten First World War documents reflecting different experiences of wartime have been selected from the archives and put online and entrants must use one or more as the starting point for a three-minute short film. Documents include:

• Songs from a Women’s Land Army booklet
• Siegfried Sassoon’s famous war protest letter
• Mata Hari’s security service file.

The three winning entries will be featured on the National Archives website and get cash prizes of £500, £200 and £100. The deadline for submitting entries is Wednesday 7th January 2015.

Read more at:

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Wootton Bassett in the Great War

Wootton Bassett in the Great War
Join us for an evening commemorating the story of the town and its people during World War One. Book launch of ‘Wootton Bassett in the Great War’ by Sheridan Parsons. War poetry readings by students from Royal Wootton Bassett Academy
Memorabilia from the town museum.
Information about the Wiltshire at War project – have you a family story to share?
Free event.

14 November 7pm Royal Wootton Bassett Library, Borough Fields SN4 7AX

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WW1 Concert

WW1 Concert Corsham Area Heritage (CAH) is proud to present a World War 1 Concert on Saturday, 18 October. Starting at 7pm at the Corsham School in The Tynings off Pickwick Road, it will feature songs, poetry and readings of letters from the Front. Supported by 3 choirs, you can join in the singing or leave it read more… (

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Call for musicians for The Last Post event

Superact are looking for individuals and community groups to be part of The Last Post from 4 to 18 November. School groups, community music groups – all are eligible to apply and the deadline is 24 October 2014.

A Last Post event simply involves getting together with friends, family, or others in your community, remembering someone or an event from the First World War and then playing the Last Post to remember them on any kind of instrument.

Superact have produced a free song book full of different arrangements of The Last Post for different instruments, which also contains other songs from the era for people to play or sing, plus a range of additional resources.

All people need to do is register online and they can apply for up to £200 to support their event! This can be bolted on to a planned existing event or could be a new get together around Remembrance Sunday.

Further information can be found online at

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Box Primary School uncovers hidden lives

Box Primary school children have spent the summer term exploring their local history and uncovering the lives of local men who fought in the trenches.  The children discovered Cecil Lambert, a volunteer who spent four years away from home and who charted his experiences through extensive letters deposited at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre. Read more about this project on the Box People and Places blog.

Through the assistance of the History Centre they were able to trace the depositor of these papers, Anna Grayson, who still lives in Box and was delighted to come into school and talk to the children.

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Skinner’s Horse and the Cavalry of Empire



With the forthcoming anniversary of the Great War we have a unique opportunity to examine and commemorate the contribution of India to the ‘war to end all wars’ and the role of the horse in the first industrialized conflict.

See Skinner’s Horse – Cavalry of Empire for more information and a selection of beautiful images.

Skinner’s Horse is proud to bring you the Cavalry of Empire show to raise awareness of the Indian and other commonwealth cavalry on the Western Front, the role of the horse in the conflict and also to show how many women did their bit for the war effort with the training of horses for the front.

In this show we present a range of mounted soldiery from all corners of the British Empire including India, Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand and show you the arms and equipment they carried to war. We also show these cavalrymen in action, displaying the skills that made them famous and how they adapted to the changing face of war from 1914 to1918.

Alongside the demonstration of the cavalryman and his horse on the front line we also show you war on the home front with a look at the role of the Army Remount Depot. Due to the shortage of manpower a number of these depots were staffed and run by women, undertaking the training of horse for services on the front and by doing so breaking many of the social taboos and paving the way for women’s emancipation. We share with you the history of their role in the war and show you the training of the remounts – preparing the horses for regimental service.

India and the Commonwealth during the Great War

During First World War India contributed a number of divisions and independent brigades to the European, Mediterranean and the Middle East theatres of war. Over one million Indian troops would serve over-seas, of whom 62,000 died and another 67,000 were wounded. Two Divisions of India Cavalry fought over-seas and served with great distinction in Europe and the Middle East.

As well as from India, cavalrymen from all over the Empire answered Britain’s call in 1914 and the Western Front saw men from different cultures, languages and religions ride side by side in a untied cause. Skinner’s Horse seeks to raise awareness of Commonwealth soldiers participation in the war and to honour the memory of those who sacrificed themselves in the conflict.

The Ladies’ War – Women and the Army Remount Depots

The great war brought about profound changes for women in society. Many will be familiar with women working in munitions factories to help the war effort but less is known about their contribution outside this role. Around 200 women joined the Land Army to work at Army Remount depots breaking and training horses for service at the front. Often from ‘well to do’ backgrounds, these women took on all the roles traditionally filled by men at these establishments, paving the way for social change and eventual women’s emancipation.

More information about Skinners Horse can be found here.

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Digging War Horse

A project which uses archaeology to explore the role of the horse and artillery in the Great War. The project was launched at Larkhill school on the 10th of September and will explore the location of the Larkhill Horse Isolation Hospital and the lives of the animals and people on this part of Salisbury Plain in World War One.

More information on the project can be found at the Digging War Horse website.

The archaeology work is under the  stewardship of Julian Richards, who will be using geophysical survey, maps and then field-walking and test pitting to see if he can locate the site of the First World War horse hospital.

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Community engagement training for WWI projects

Wiltshire at War: Community Stories will be running an ‘Approaches to Community Engagement in WWI Projects’ training session at the following venues across Wiltshire:-

• Wednesday 15 October, 2:00—4:30pm, Malmesbury Town Hall
• Tuesday 21 October, 2:00—4:30pm, The Rifles Museum, Salisbury
• Monday 27 October, 2:00—4:30pm, Trowbridge Town Hall

Each session will be a great opportunity to meet people from other museums, heritage centres and community groups across the county. Through practical activities, participants will gain insights into how to run a WWI related reminiscence session and how to carry out an oral history interview to capture undocumented family stories.

Those interested in participating should email to reserve a place on their preferred session.

Please see the attached web-flyer for more details.WiltshireAtWar-Training invite

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