Articles tagged with: First world War

Winston Churchill and Wiltshire

on Monday, 09 February 2015. Posted in Archives

Among the numerous national anniversaries we are commemorating in 2015 (which includes those for World War 1, World War 2 and, of course, Magna Carta) is one that perhaps will get less attention, which is the 50th anniversary of the death of Winston Churchill who died on the 24th January 1965. The Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre has received a few enquiries on possible Churchill connections with Wiltshire and so I thought I would dig a little deeper by doing what all good Archives & Local Studies Managers do … ask my colleagues if they knew of any! So here is what they have come up with so far.

Clearly as a man with connections Churchill no doubt visited numerous notable friends and families in the county that we do not yet know of, perhaps including those whose archives we hold. However, the earliest reference appears to be in 1914 with a more unexpected connection. Churchill was a keen early aviator and despite his family’s fears of the danger of airplanes at that time, he was one of small group of people to learn to fly these machines and certainly the first politician. There is an image held by the Science Museum of Winston Churchill preparing to fly at Upavon, home to the Army Flying Corps. You can find out more about his love of flying and view the image at:

http://blog.sciencemuseum.org.uk/insight/2015/01/09/winston-churchill-science-and-flying/

During and following the First World War Churchill was a prominent politician. He had become an MP in 1900 and having first attached himself to the Conservative Party he crossed the floor of Parliament to join the Liberal Party in 1904. He served at various times as Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, President of the Board of Trade and First Lord of the Admiralty. In 1915 he resigned from government to serve on the Western Front, but returned to government in 1917 as Minister of Munitions, then Secretary of State for War in 1919 and Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1921 in the coalition government.

We have several letters within our archives at the History Centre to and from Churchill that can be found in the political papers of Viscount Long of Wraxall, who was an MP and, like Churchill, held several prominent positions during a long political career.

War Horses of Wiltshire

on Monday, 12 January 2015. Posted in Archives

©IWM

©IWM

Wiltshire has a history of an association with the military and during the First World War the county was home to one of the few female run remount depots at Russley Park, near Swindon.

Remount depots were established by the army in order to provide fresh, healthy and well trained horses, donkeys and mules for army use in peace time and during times of conflict. In 1887 the remount section was established within the army replacing the earlier responsibility that each individual regiment had for providing its own animals. The South African War (1899-1902) had established a ‘best practice’ in order to get the most out of these animals and a horse registration scheme was introduced. This identified suitable animals for possible purchase and army use and depots to deal with them were established at Woolwich, Arborfield near Reading and Melton Mowbray, employing three inspectors to oversee the potential purchase and care of the animals.

In the event of war it was estimated that 110,000 animals would be needed and in 1912 and 1913 a horse census was undertaken, dividing the country into 24 sections each with a Remount Officer responsible for the identification of potential horses. This groundwork proved invaluable and when the First World War began 140,000 horses were purchased efficiently and quickly.

Wiltshire at War: Community Stories

on Tuesday, 30 December 2014. Posted in Wiltshire People

http://wiltshireatwar.org.uk/

Our Heritage Lottery Funded project to uncover and share stories of the First World War Home Front in Wiltshire is approaching two exciting milestones early in 2015.

At the end of January our website will be going live. This will be a home for all the stories that have been gathered so far – in sounds, words and pictures. If your family or community have your own stories that you would like to include you will be able to do this straight through the website. Over time we hope this will become a significant record of the impact of the war across the county.

At the end of February the first exhibition based on the stories will be on display at the Springfield Community Campus in Corsham. This exhibition will focus on the role Wiltshire played in providing a home and training ground for the military and how this affected the lives of ordinary people. Look out for full details of the exhibition over the next few weeks. After Corsham the exhibition will be setting off on a tour of community venues whilst we start work on preparing further displays looking at different ways the First World War affected Wiltshire.

Wiltshire at War: Community Stories

on Tuesday, 21 October 2014. Posted in Events, Military

Our Heritage Lottery Funded project to uncover and share stories of the First World War Home Front in Wiltshire http://wiltshireatwar.org.uk/ is now moving into its second phase. Over the summer we have been out and about meeting people, making contacts and starting to identify some of the stories that we will be sharing and preserving. This month, we will be showing volunteers from across the county how to do this work so that they can find out and record more stories from their communities.

Places are filling up fast, but if you are interested in coming along to one of these workshops they are taking place at:

Malmesbury Town Hall, 15 Oct 2pm
The Rifles Museum, Salisbury 21 Oct 2pm
Trowbridge Town Hall, 27 Oct 2pm

Full details and how to book a place can be found in the attached Wiltshire at War Training Invite.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes museum education officers are planning the schools element of the project, which will be starting next year and we are looking at the best options for how we present all the stories. This will be done through exhibitions in libraries, museums, village halls, churches etc as well as on a dedicated website.

If you have a story to share, would like to know more about the project or would be interested in hosting an exhibition please contact Emma Golby-Kirk at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on 02380 262629. You can also visit the project website at www.wiltshireatwar.org.uk

Tim Burge, Museums Officer, October 2014

Researching the Home Front of the First World War in Wiltshire

on Tuesday, 02 September 2014. Posted in Archives, Events, Military

I don’t know about you, but when I think of the First World War the first thing which comes into my mind is barbed wire and mud – and all the associated horrors of trench warfare. This is probably the result of reading the War Poets at school, and watching the film ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ at an impressionable age! As I have got older I’ve read more widely about the War and learned how it impacted on civilian life, as well as on the front line troops. I have been amazed by the scope of that impact, and by the way in which aspects of life on the Home Front (which I had previously assumed were introduced in the Second World War) such as rationing and evacuation, actually had their roots in the First World War. One blog cannot do justice to this topic so I’m just going to touch on a few aspects of the War’s impact on Wiltshire. We hope to uncover more stories of life on the Home Front through the Wiltshire at War: Community Stories project in collaboration with Wiltshire’s museums http://www.wshc.eu/blog/item/wiltshire-at-war-community-stories.html

Wiltshire Commemorating WWI

on Tuesday, 19 August 2014. Posted in Military, Museums

In common with other parts of the country museums and heritage organisations across Wiltshire are busy commemorating and exploring the legacy of the First World War.
I thought I would use this post to update you on some of what is currently going on at museums.

Young Gallery, Salisbury - Cicatrix
http://www.younggallerysalisbury.co.uk/event/cicatrix/

A visual arts project of three parts: installation, drawing and film. The audience is presented with another perspective of the WWI Legacy with Salisbury Plain providing the cornerstone for the collaboration exploring the notion that memory provides the fourth dimension to any landscape, Cicatrix offers a challenging alternative viewpoint to mark the centenary of The Great War.

Bradford on Avon Museum
http://www.bradfordonavonmuseum.co.uk/archives/8671

Exhibition focused on the themes The Eve of War, The Front, The Home Front, and Twin Towns.

Calne Heritage Centre 1914-18 Memorial Project http://www.calneheritage.co.uk/exhibitions.php?extype=Current

A five year long project dedicated to the lives of the ancestors of Calne residents, past and present, who lived through WWI. People are being asked to produce posters that detail how their ancestors were affected by the war, which will be displayed and then become part of the Heritage Centre archive.

Wiltshire at War: Community Stories
http://wiltshireatwar.org.uk/

As mentioned previously (http://www.wshc.eu/blog/item/wiltshire-at-war-community-stories.html?category_id=19) this county wide project is now picking up pace. Emma our Project Officer is busy working with groups across the county to gather up stories of the home front in Wiltshire, Please visit http://wiltshireatwar.org.uk/ for more information or if you have a story to share. For those of you with links to Market Lavington please come along to Market Lavington Museum on Weds 3rd September from 2.30-4.30 when there will be an opportunity to share and record your family stories of the war.

The Rifles Museum, Salisbury - A View of The Great War
http://www.thewardrobe.org.uk/museum/news-and-events/article/opening-of-the-exhibition-a-view-of-the-great-war

Artwork created by children from two local schools, Avon Valley College, Durrington and Bishop Wordsworth’s School in Salisbury, as part of ‘National Memory, Local Stories’, working with the National Portrait Gallery.

Salisbury Museum - Fighting on the Home Front (Oct 4 2014-Jan 17 2015)

http://www.salisburymuseum.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/salisbury-great-war-fighting-home-front

Salisbury Plain was at the heart of preparing British and Empire troops for war with its many camps, training trenches and airfields and has a unique place in this country’s military history. Using letters, photographs, medals and other personal mementos loaned by the public, as well as loans from Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre and objects from the Museum’s own collections, the exhibition will tell the story of Wiltshire’s war through Wiltshire people’s experiences.

Warminster Museum
http://www.warminstermuseum.org.uk/whats%20on.html

Sep 8th 2014, 7pm
The tank in World War I – illustrated talk by Alwyn Hardy, son of a tank commander


To stay up to date with a whole range of First World War activity across Wiltshire please follow the Heritage in Wiltshire blog at http://heritageinwiltshire.wordpress.com/

Tim Burge, Museums Officer, August 2013

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