Centenary of the Great War

Centenary of the Great War

Exhibition (2014)



On Saturday 9th August, the Yapton & Ford Local History Group commemorated the Centenary of the Great War with an exhibition held in the Yapton & Ford Village Hall. The exhibition, visited by some 400 people, consisted of two parts held in adjoining rooms. One room concentrated on the conflict in general while the second hall focused on the part that the villages of Yapton and Ford played in the Great War.

The general display was constructed around material selected from the excellent resources made available by the lmperial War Museum. This material was supported by personal accounts, photographs and documents loaned or donated by local people. The main feature was that of a ‘Timeline’ tracing all the significant events of the war at home and abroad. This display was augmented by individual presentations of different aspects of the war. One such display outlined the causes of the conflict while another one highlighted the ‘War in the Air’ including the aerial attacks by Zeppelins and Gothas on Britain as well as the exploits of some of the pilot ‘aces’. Other topics covered individually were the ‘War at Sea’, the ‘War in Europe’ and the ‘World at War’ covering other theatres of the war. Visitors also experienced a little of what it must have been like living during those times by watching film clips constantly being run. This was all to a backdrop of songs being played which had been recorded at the time of the Great War.

The display telling the story of the part that Yapton and Ford played in the Great War concentrated mainly on those that gave their lives for their country. Information on their fami|ies, where they lived and what they did for a living were documented as well as where, when and how they died. Accompanying each personal story was a photo of their headstone taken at their last resting place. These accounts were supported by maps and other documents which helped to take the names of the fallen and turn them into people who lived and breathed in the villages. There were also individual displays telling the story of the part played by Yapton Junction (Ford Airfield) in the war as well as what it was like on the Home Front and how women supported the war effort by taking over the jobs left vacant by the men answering the call to arms.

The final individual display was given over to Peace. lt told the story of the ending of the war and how the villages celebrated and honoured those that had returned as well as those that had fallen. A day of celebration was organised for the whole village culminating in a firework display while the returning servicemen enjoyed a Peace Dinner and Concert held in the Shoulder of Mutton & Cucumber.

Supporting these displays were an array of medals, armaments and items such as helmets. There were also relics of the battlefields on show including a pair of wire cutters and a piece of barbed wire from the Somme, bullet cases, shrapnel and fragments of shells which gave the visitors a little insight to what it must have been like at the Front.


Decorated Aces of WWI
Pictured top right is 'The Red Baron'

‘Casque, Coal Scuttle and Basin’
[French, German and British helmets worn by soldiers in WWI]

There was a constant stream of people passing through the halls where members of the History Group were on hand to answer any questions. Several of the visitors were very moved when they read stories about their family members who hadn’t returned and many people expressed their appreciation of the displays and the amount of work and effort that had been expended to mount such an exhibition.

The Yapton and Ford Local History Group would like to thank all those who had given of their time to research and mount the various displays as well as those kind people who loaned various items and material which helped make the exhibition more complete. Our thanks also go to the Parish Councils of Yapton and Ford as well as Southern Water and Persimmon Construction Group whose generous grants and donations allowed us to stage this event. Due to their generosity, the History Group will be sending to the Royal British Legion a cheque for £50 which represents all the donations received from visitors on the day.

Allen Misselbrook
Yapton & Ford Local History Group
August 2014

(Originally published in Yapton News, September 2014)