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New Forum exhibition marks the legacy of Norfolk men and women ahead of First World War Centenary

PUBLISHED: 09:00 13 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:07 13 October 2018

Lieutenant Colonel Tom Purdy. Image courtesy of The Purdy Archive.

Lieutenant Colonel Tom Purdy. Image courtesy of The Purdy Archive.

Archant

Many are familiar with horrors endured by soldiers on the front lines of the First World but fewer may be familiar with the sacrifices which were made by those who worked behind the scenes both at home and abroad.

Officers and men of the 51st and 52nd (Graduated) Battalions of The Bedfordshire Regiment cheering news of the Armistice in Norwich Market Place, 11 November 1918. Image courtesy of Neil Storey Archive.Officers and men of the 51st and 52nd (Graduated) Battalions of The Bedfordshire Regiment cheering news of the Armistice in Norwich Market Place, 11 November 1918. Image courtesy of Neil Storey Archive.

Now, an exhibition celebrating the sometimes forgotten legacies of the people who drove the ambulances, nursed injured soldiers or worked in the factories during the wars to end all wars is coming to The Forum.

Marking 100 years since the end of the First World War, the free exhibition brings together five smaller exhibitions created by volunteers, schools and historians as part of a £90,000 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) project.

Bringing together The Battle of the Somme, The Battle of Gaza and the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day exhibitions, as well as the rediscovered stories and legacies of Norfolk women who did their bit during the conflict, the free exhibition will run from November 1-13 in The Forum atrium.

Sarah Power, learning and events manager at The Forum, said: “This final exhibition is a tribute to those lost voices of the past and to those who wish to remember the effort and sacrifice made by Norfolk men and women. My hope is that the amazing stories and legacies and stories uncovered may encourage more people to undertake research about their family or friends who lived through such an extraordinary period of history.”

Munitions workers from Boulton & Paul’s Aircraft Factory, Norwich c1917. Neil Storey Archive.Munitions workers from Boulton & Paul’s Aircraft Factory, Norwich c1917. Neil Storey Archive.

Robyn Llewellyn, head of HLF East of England, said: “From active service to engineering and the Home Front, this project offers a valuable insight into the role of Norfolk women during the First World War. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, and with vital help from volunteers, people across the county have been sharing their stories and this new exhibition is a fantastic opportunity to share their discoveries and learn more about Norfolk in the First World War.”

A programme of talks running alongside the exhibition are bookable via theforumnorwich.co.uk/ww1

Following the event at The Forum, the five exhibitions will continue to tour schools and community venues around Norfolk.

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