Legion exhibition shows Milford Haven at war

British soldiers negotiating a shell-cratered, Winter landscape along the River Somme in late 1916 after the close of the Allied offensive. (8709574)

British soldiers negotiating a shell-cratered, Winter landscape along the River Somme in late 1916 after the close of the Allied offensive. (8709574)

First published in News

AN EXHIBITION of letters, photographs and personal effects showing life at home and in the trenches during the First World War goes on display in Milford Haven today (Thursday ).

The three-day exhibition, organised by the Milford Haven branch of the Royal British Legion and held at its club on Hamilton Terrace, will feature more than 300 items, which have been loaned by members, local people, organisations and museums.

As well as photographs, letters written home, ‘black humour’ postcards, there will also be a diary that was written in the trenches, and handkerchiefs hand-sewn by soldiers at the front and sent home to loved ones.

There will also be sections dedicated to the women of the Red Cross, Pembrokeshire Yeomanry and the Royal Artillery Association.

The centrepiece will be a ‘cenotaph’ featuring the names of all those who died, with a section for each local parish, and branch members have worked hard to collect as many of their personal stories.

Among those highlighted is one of a young soldier who, while serving as a Royal Engineer, had to hold a footbridge across his shoulders during heavy fire so that infantry could get across a trench.

The soldier received a medal for his selfless actions, but never told anyone, not even his parents, and no-one else knew about it until he died.

The exhibition will also look beyond pure patriotism, to social conditions locally at the time, examining how the poverty, large families, overcrowding and a lack of jobs – and the promise of being paid and fed in the army – may have encouraged young men to sign their lives away.

The exhibition runs from 10am until 6pm, from Thursday until Sunday.

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