The newly installed War Gallery tells the story of how conflicts have impacted the people of Erewash from the First World War to the present day. Displays of objects and uniforms that belonged to local servicemen and women are accompanied by poignant wall graphics that give a sense of what it was like for those on the front line and also back home in the wars of the last century.
A very individual item that can be seen in the War Gallery is the First World War diary of Charles Lacey. Charles was local to Ilkeston and volunteered for service as soon as war was declared in 1914. He served with the 22nd Field Ambulance, 7th Division. The diary is a personal account of his first month and a half service before being sent to the Western Front. Below is a selected entry.
Tuesday, August 18th,1914
“Got up for 6 o’clock parade and was told with 9 others to fetch rations after 8.30am for the Hospital mess room. I have just managed to have a wash. We are lucky to have 2 washes a day as we are now. I have been to fetch the rations there was 13 of us all together with sergeant. It was twenty minute walk from the hospital to the bake house and butcher’s place. I have never seen so many loaves or so much meat in my life. There were millions of loaves without stretching it any and great stacks of meat. When you come to think of it, it is all needed for the thousands of soldiers in Aldershot. There is over nine miles of Barracks here. I am getting a regular attender to the soldiers and sailor home; it is all free, writing materials, reading, games and concerts. At night soldiers and others volunteer to sing. I got a 1d for a cake for supper last night. Slept in tent again”.
This is just one example of the many personal stories from people who have served in the conflicts of the past century that can be discovered in the War Gallery. The gallery is not only a space to learn about these conflicts but also to reflect and remember those that have sacrificed so much.
Birds of Peace
From October 2nd - November 11th 2017, we are welcoming a Birds of Peace exhibition in the War Gallery. Bring your wishes and reflections for remembrance and peace and add them to our Erewash Peace Dove. The dove will be installed in the War Gallery, and your words will become the feathers that help it take flight. You can also come and make a Japanese origami paper crane to add to our ‘senbazuru’ – a display of 1000 cranes – which we are creating to make a peace wish from Erewash for the world.