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William Mepham

William Mepham

Hastings in World War I

A free exhibition on local stories of the First World War is underway at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery. Cllr Kim Forward, lead councillor for regeneration and culture explained: “Each year the museum has been highlighting a key theme, alongside ongoing research into the impact the war had on the people and communities of Hastings. This year, they’ve been looking at the war ‘Beyond the Western Front’ and how, by involving over 40% of the world’s population from so many different countries and nationalities, a simple European conflict was turned into the first true ‘World War’.”

She added, “The new exhibition reveals the extent of its impact beyond France and Belgium, and how these events helped to shape the world we live in today. It will also show how far afield Hastings’ men and women served. The staff at the museum hope that more local stories will come to light as a result.”

One example is William Mepham, a former stone mason who enlisted in the regular army in 1910. When war was declared, he’d already served in India for four years before travelling to Mesopotamia in 1915, where he spent the majority of the war. Driver Mepham kept a diary in which he recorded his experiences, from their camp near Basra and the advance up the Tigris to Baghdad. The museum has this diary, as well as newspaper clippings and demobilisation papers in its collection.

Another local story relates to Earl Brassey, former MP for Hastings, who fitted up his luxury yacht, ‘Sunbeam’, as a hospital ship in 1915 and, at the age of 79, headed for the Dardanelles to provide support for the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign.

A selection of wartime propaganda posters from the museum’s collection will also be on display at the exhibition, which runs until the end of December. This event is part of Hastings Remembers: Local Stories of the First World War, a project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and now in its fourth year.

If you have a story to share about an ancestor who served in World War I, please tell Hastings Museum and Art Gallery.

Children engaged in fund raising

Children engaged in fund raising

Free half term family activity day

Hastings Museum and Art Gallery is holding a free family activity day on Tuesday 24 October from 10am until 3pm with a First World War theme.

Hastings Borough Councillor Kim Forward, lead member for regeneration and culture said, “Family activity days are always very popular, with a great mix of history and arts and crafts. There will also be the chance to handle real objects, dressing up and a musician to teach all the hits for a 1914-18 singalong; come along and join in the fun!. “

There is no need to book; families can just drop in anytime. Entrance to the museum and all activities are free and pre-schoolers are definitely welcome!

Entrance to Hastings Museum and Art Gallery is free.


Posted 16:55 Monday, Oct 16, 2017 In: Home Ground

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