Potato grenades launched in Great Yarmouth during First World War activity day

Family activities taking place as part of Great Yarmouths programme of events to mark centenary of WW1.
Darren Stride showing Hayden Dunmall a rifle.

Picture: James Bass Family activities taking place as part of Great Yarmouths programme of events to mark centenary of WW1. Darren Stride showing Hayden Dunmall a rifle. Picture: James Bass

Monday, August 4, 2014
4:40 PM

A shower of potato “grenades” were slung across Great Yarmouth seafront as a band of volunteers fought to protect the coastline.

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Family activities taking place as part of Great Yarmouths programme of events to mark centenary of WW1.
Angela Bishop dressed as a Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service nurse tending to Ruby Wells.

Picture: James BassFamily activities taking place as part of Great Yarmouths programme of events to mark centenary of WW1. Angela Bishop dressed as a Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service nurse tending to Ruby Wells. Picture: James Bass

Armed with wooden rifles, the homegrown army practised for an enemy invasion on the promenade by launching their vegetable missiles into the air.

The Home Guard drilling sessions were among the hands-on activities on offer to families at Sea Life Centre gardens this afternoon, to give visitors both young and old a taste of what life was like on the home front during the First World War.

Holidaymakers and residents could also be bandaged up by on-site nurse Angela Bishop, who shared stories of tench foot while showing off historic medical kits and a range of papier maché amputated limbs.

The Royal British Legion were on hand to talk to visitors about soldiers in the First World War, today’s conflicts and their role, while cadets from TS Fearless entertained with music from their marching band.

There was also poetry displays from some of the Great War poets, as well as verses penned by school children from across the borough, and visitors got a real taste for life in 1914 Britain as they got to try home baked trench cake and ration cake - made without eggs, milk or butter.

A host of First and Second World War memorabilia was also put on display by Darren Stride, who runs the Blitz Street museum in Scratby, which was the inspiration for the day’s hands-on theme.

Kirsty Burn, marketing manager at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “We were really inspired by Blitz Street.

“When we went to see it we were blown away and when Darren started to tell us about grenade throwing and Home Guard drilling we suddenly thought that would be really good fun, and we could do something a bit more interactive.”

Sheila King, sales and marketing assistant, said the day had gone well and the war-era cakes - which she baked - had attracted a lot of comments.

“People have been surprised by how good they are and have asked for the recipes,” she added.

Darren, 22, was also pleased with the day’s activities and said volunteers had thoroughly enjoyed the Home Guard drills, and potatoes had made perfect “grenades” for the sessions.

He added: “It’s been a great response. Parents have wanted to get involved, which is a big surprise for me because normally its kids that want to get involved.”

His museum, a life size street display made up of five different themed sheds which represent wartime England, is a finalist in the annual Shed of the Year competition and will appear on Channel 4 series Amazing Spaces Shed of the Year on Thursday night.

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