An exhibition marks the debts of the First World War towards the men of the city


This year’s Remembrance Day will be marked with a special exhibit at Newton Abbot.

Bridie Snelling is hosting the exhibit at Newton’s Place in Wolborough Street, which will share stories and display memorabilia from Newton Abbot soldiers who died in WWI.

In addition to the photographs and old documents, there are many items that will directly relate to Newton Abbot’s role in the Great War.

Exhibits will show how Seale-Hayne Hospital helped military personnel suffering from shell shock, and an honorary role lent by the Devon and Dorsets Regimental Museum – The Keep – lists all men who died in the war.

Unusual exposure will be sphagnum moss. Due to its beneficial properties, it was collected by the women of Devon and used to heal wounds. A shell case awarded in recognition of their efforts will also be on display.

Bridie, a volunteer at the town museum, visited the Somme battlefields and Commonwealth war graves which she described as very moving.

She explained, “I hope during Remembrance Week visitors will come to watch and reflect on their sacrifice.

“I met a man who told me about a Facebook group – Forgotten Soldiers of Devon.

“It made me think how distant the war has become and that there was a danger that people were starting to forget.

Some people may still wonder why we bother to remember a war from so long ago, but if you could count the names of 1914-1918 on all the war memorials in Devon you would find more of 11,600 very good reasons.

“The exhibit will tell the stories of some of these names – twins, brothers and a young man who left a children’s home to fight and who died at the age of 18.

“There will be a great storyboard about the Vicary family, who lived in the Newton Abbot area for many generations and ran leather tanning and cutting factories in Bradley Lane. As with so many other families, the onset of World War I affected the life of the Vicary family.

“Brothers Gilbert, Walter, Alexander and John all served in the war, Gilbert did not return to Dyrons House as he was killed in action in 1917.

“We Will Remember Them – An Exhibition of Forgotten Soldiers of World War I” will be open in Rowell Hall for the week of November 9-13, and admission is free.

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