Somme Centenary Exhibition Review

Battle of the Somme Centenary

Exhibition & Film Show (2016)

On Saturday 6th August the Yapton & Ford Local History Group staged an exhibition in the Yapton & Ford Village Hall to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme in which four local men, Frank Pocock, Maurice Norris, William Moodey and Frederick Pearce gave their lives.


60 Pounder Battery at Contalmaison

The exhibition was dedicated to these men as well as to Adolf Tomsett, the father of one of our sponsors and Group member Roger.

The exhibition consisted of two screenings of the re-worked ‘Somme’ film which was actually taken at the time of the battle and released soon after, and holds the record for the largest number of viewers for a single film. The musical score for the film had been specially commissioned for the centenary showing and was composed by Laura Rossi. The film was loaned free of charge to the Group by the Imperial War Museum (IWM) under the heading of Somme100Film.

Supporting the showing of the film were two talks given by Local & Military Historian Philip Robinson, ex Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chichester. These talks gave the background to the battle and some ‘behind the scene’ facts and figures.


Talk by Philip Robinson

Artefacts on display

Visitors were also able to study maps of the battle as well as read about the ground war and the war in the air, as well as finding out about how the artillery and cavalry were utilised and in what role the first appearance of tanks were used. On a more sombre note there were displays showing how the battle casualties were treated, and for those that didn’t make it there was a section on the battlefield memorials.


Probably the most poignant display was that of the histories of the villagers that died in the battle. Each of the four soldiers had been researched. Their stories included their families, where they lived before the war with photos of their homes, what they were employed as and details of where they died.

Also on display was a selection of hardware which included rifles, bayonets, hand grenades, bullets, shrapnel and helmets amongst other items which all helped to bring the visitor a little closer to the horrors of 100 years ago.

The largest item on show was stationed outside the hall in the shape of an original Model-T Ford  car converted to a gun carrier similar to those used in the Great War. Its owner, Simon who came dressed in the uniform of the time, was pleased to answer all the questions put to him from visitors and public alike.

Visitors were queuing well before the official opening time of midday and a steady stream of them continued to pass through the door right up until the 6.30 pm closing time. The screenings and the talks were well attended and there was an ample supply of tea and biscuits for those awaiting their turn.

The Yapton & Ford Local history Group committee would like to thank all those who helped make the day a success. This includes the guest speaker, the projectionist, those people who loaned items for display, as well as those members who helped serve the refreshments and manned the door.

A special thanks go to our sponsors, Yapton Parish Council, Yapton & Ford Village Hall, and Roger Tomsett. And of course a big thank you to IWM and Somme100Film.

Allen Misselbrook
Yapton & Ford Local History Group
August 2016

(Originally published in Yapton News, September 2016)