Horam exhibition marks world war

'Tommies' in German dug-outs on the Western Front
'Tommies' in German dug-outs on the Western Front

Horam is staging a unique local exhibition to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War I.

The Horam Centre is the setting for an exhibition which brings home the personal sacrifices and wartime experiences of local people - much material obtained from families still living in and around the village.

A committee of local residents gathered a varied and fascinating collection of exhibits including a uniform (Farrier Sergeant, Royal Artillery;) medals; photographs; original and facsimile copies of publications created at the time; maps showing front line positions, particularly of the battles for Ypres (Wipers in common parlance at the time;) military memorabilia and mementoes made by soldiers. There are also, most interestingly, personal histories of family members who served in the Great War or the women left at home.

In total there is a diverse and fascinating display of not just memorabilia from the Front but depicting the impact of war on the civilian population and regulations, warnings, tools and other equipment that could be of use to the enemy in the event of an invasion. There are also examples of fundraising activities to support the war and services at home.

A popular exhibit has been a rifle of the time which gives visitors an idea of the extreme weight of just one piece of kit carried by soldiers in the trenches. The theme of remembrance is brought home with poetry by local schoolchidren which has resonance considering the fact that 34 men from Horam and Vines Cross did not return from France or other theatres of war. Many stories told illustrate heroic and individual wartime actions.

Like many Wealden villages, the sheer numbers of soldiers, sailors and airmen who did not return from the Great War indicate large rural populations where many young men worked on the land. Some volunteered with enthusiasm, feeling the experience would widen their horizons. Many did not return. The exhibition runs until the end of August and it is open from 9.30am until noon, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and from noon-5pm Sunday.