Tag Archives: First World War

Strike a Light at Legacies of First World War Conference

logoOur creative director Nicola Benge will be speaking at the Legacies of the First World War Festival in Birmingham on 22nd and 23rd March 2019.
 
This two day community history conference is free to attend and has the noted historian David Olusoga as keynote speaker on the first day.
 
Come and experience some great histories and legacies of WWI.
You can book for any or all of the events including both conference days, and the evening event. Come join us!
 

Voices of War and Peace: the Great War and its Legacy is a First World War Engagement Centre funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council and in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The University of Birmingham Centre is a joint initiative across the Midlands with Birmingham City University, University of Wolverhampton and University of Worcester, and further afield with Cardiff University, University of Durham, Manchester Metropolitan University and Newcastle University.

The Engagement Centre is based in the Library of Birmingham and supports a wide range of community engagement activities, connecting academic and public histories of the First World War as part of the commemoration of the War’s centenary.

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The Unremembered – Labour Corps in Sussex in WWI lunchtime talk – Today!

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This talk is today!

Nicola Benge, Creative Director of Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage will give a free talk on the topic of Labour Corps (Service Personnel) in Sussex during WWI to commemorate this forgotten contribution during the Great War. More project information here

This is a lunchtime talk, so feel free to bring a packed lunch to munch on whilst the talk takes place. Coffee and tea will be available for donations.

Book your free place here

Monday 19th November 2-4pm – FREE

Who were the Labour Corps?:

The Labour Corps supplied the army with weapons and ammunition, food and fodder, water and fuel. They built and maintained roads and railways. They were essential to the war effort.

British and Allied Forces struggled to cope with the demand for manpower after the huge losses of men during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. From January 1917, manpower was drawn from the UK, China, India, South Africa, Egypt, Canada, the Caribbean and many other places within the British Empire.

Tens of thousands travelled thousands of miles to defend freedom and although they rarely saw service in the frontline, many died or were seriously injured. Today their contributions and sacrifice are all but forgotten. They are The Unremembered.

The aim is to raise the profile of the Labour Corps and share this learning with community groups.

Project Details:

We’re pleased to have been commissioned to become a hub in Brighton and Hove by the Big Ideas Company to develop activities with local community groups to explore the history of the Labour Corps – service personnel during World War I, and often forgotten in this part of history.

The Unremembered project background:

This project is about the Labour Corps – Service Personnel in the British Army who have been forgotten and aren’t often commemorated. The aim is to raise the profile of the Labour Corps and share this learning with community groups and draw this forgotten history into the light.

 

 

 

 

 

Image: Collection of John Sheen author of histories of the Northumberland Fusiliers and Durham Light Infantry.

 The Labour Corps supplied the army with weapons and ammunition, food and fodder, water and fuel. They built and maintained roads and railways. They were essential to the war effort.

British and Allied Forces struggled to cope with the demand for manpower after the huge losses of men during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. From January 1917, manpower was drawn from the UK, China, India, South Africa, Egypt, Canada, the Caribbean and many other places within the British Empire.

Tens of thousands travelled thousands of miles to defend freedom and although they rarely saw service in the frontline, many died or were seriously injured. Today their contributions and sacrifice are all but forgotten. They are The Unremembered.

 

The Unremembered – Labour Corps in Sussex in WWI lunchtime talk

unremembered-logo-blackv2-1.jpg

Nicola Benge, Creative Director of Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage will give a free talk on the topic of Labour Corps (Service Personnel) in Sussex during WWI to commemorate this forgotten contribution during the Great War. More project information here

This is a lunchtime talk, so feel free to bring a packed lunch to munch on whilst the talk takes place. Coffee and tea will be available for donations.

Book your free place here

Monday 19th November 2-4pm – FREE

Who were the Labour Corps?:

The Labour Corps supplied the army with weapons and ammunition, food and fodder, water and fuel. They built and maintained roads and railways. They were essential to the war effort.

British and Allied Forces struggled to cope with the demand for manpower after the huge losses of men during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. From January 1917, manpower was drawn from the UK, China, India, South Africa, Egypt, Canada, the Caribbean and many other places within the British Empire.

Tens of thousands travelled thousands of miles to defend freedom and although they rarely saw service in the frontline, many died or were seriously injured. Today their contributions and sacrifice are all but forgotten. They are The Unremembered.

The aim is to raise the profile of the Labour Corps and share this learning with community groups.

Project Details:

We’re pleased to have been commissioned to become a hub in Brighton and Hove by the Big Ideas Company to develop activities with local community groups to explore the history of the Labour Corps – service personnel during World War I, and often forgotten in this part of history.

The Unremembered project background:

This project is about the Labour Corps – Service Personnel in the British Army who have been forgotten and aren’t often commemorated. The aim is to raise the profile of the Labour Corps and share this learning with community groups and draw this forgotten history into the light.

 

 

 

 

 

Image: Collection of John Sheen author of histories of the Northumberland Fusiliers and Durham Light Infantry.

 The Labour Corps supplied the army with weapons and ammunition, food and fodder, water and fuel. They built and maintained roads and railways. They were essential to the war effort.

British and Allied Forces struggled to cope with the demand for manpower after the huge losses of men during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. From January 1917, manpower was drawn from the UK, China, India, South Africa, Egypt, Canada, the Caribbean and many other places within the British Empire.

Tens of thousands travelled thousands of miles to defend freedom and although they rarely saw service in the frontline, many died or were seriously injured. Today their contributions and sacrifice are all but forgotten. They are The Unremembered.

 

Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage to attend Armistice National Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey

The orange lilies website

Nicola Benge, Creative Director of Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage will attend The National Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey on 11 November 2018, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.

This will be on behalf of those from Brighton and Hove who took part in The Orange Lilies – Brighton & Hove in the Somme project about the Royal Sussex Regiment in 1916 through Strike a Light.

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Members of the Royal family, and religious and political leaders will be joined by members of the public who have contributed to the Centenary on a national, regional and local level.

Recognising the huge contribution the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and its First World War projects have made to the Centenary, the Department for Digital, Media and Sport invited HLF to nominate people to attend the Service.

As a result over 300 people who have been involved with HLF funded First World War projects across the UK will be attending the Service on Sunday.

Our Centenary project was made possible by a grant of £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which distributes the heritage share of National Lottery funding, supporting a wide variety of projects across the UK. HLF has invested £97million in 2,200 First World War Centenary projects.

Trench Brothers concert – Wed 17th October, Brighton Dome

Trench Brothers

A new music theatre work commemorating in Brighton the contributions of ethnic minority soldiers during the First World War through music, theatre and puppetry.

Strike a Light has been part of the Trench Brothers project with HMDT Music and this great event is part of this on Wednesday 17th Oct at the Brighton Dome. There’s still tickets available here: https://brightondome.org/event/18306/trench_brothers/

Trench Brothers concert

Music: Julian Joseph and Richard Taylor

Libretto: Tertia Sefton-Green

Trench Brothers is a new music theatre work commemorating in Brighton the contributions of ethnic minority soldiers during the First World War through music, theatre and puppetry, bringing to life their hopes and fears, their longing for home, their camaraderie, courage and valour.

Directed by Clare Whistler and Freya Wynn-Jones to Neil Irish’s designs, it features over 250 children from local primary schools in Brighton, Newhaven, Lewes and Seaford alongside acclaimed jazz vocalist of the year and MOBO nominated Cleveland Watkiss and ‘superb’ (The Times) opera singer Damian Thantrey.

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Renowned jazz composer Julian Joseph and award-winning composer Richard Taylor are joined by composers Michael Betteridge, Jenny Gould, Matthew King, James Redwood and Omar Shahryar in a unique collaboration drawing together work developed with schools across London, Lancashire and the South East since 2014.This powerful centenary event is made all the more poignant by its location in Brighton Dome, which served as an Indian Military Hospital during the war.

There will be a pre-performance talk about the creation of Trench Brothers with Julian Joseph, Richard Taylor and Tertia Sefton-Green. Tickets to the evening performance also give access to the pre-performance talk.

http://www.hmdt.org.uk/hmdtmusic/trenchbrothers/performance/

HMDT
Trench Brothers project in partnership with Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage

The Unremembered – Project dates for Brighton

Project Details:

We’re pleased to have been commissioned to become a hub in Brighton and Hove by the Big Ideas Company to develop activities with local community groups to explore the history of the Labour Corps – service personnel during World War I, and often forgotten in this part of history.

Events:

Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage will deliver workshops in October and November 2018 (We will confirm dates very soon) in Brighton and Hove with ten different groups in ten different venues across the city to look at the theme of The Unremembered. We aim to commemorate the Labour Corps service personnel and their experiences.

Free drop in families puppet making sessions (at following venues and times):

  • Monday 29th October – 1.45-4.15pm: ONCA at The Barge, The Waterfront, Brighton BN2 5UU
  • Thursday 1st November – 12-3pm: Brighton Open Market, Marshalls Row, Brighton BN1 4JU
  • Saturday 24th November – 12-5pm: Black History Day at The Dome, Brighton.
  • Sunday 25th November – 11-1pm: Jubilee Library, Jubilee Square, Brighton.

and

Monday 19th November 2-3pm: Talk on Labour Corps and Sussex at Strike a Light, Brighton Open Market, Studio 8 (Mezzanine), Marshalls Row, Brighton BN1 4JU.

*** More dates tbc ***

The Unremembered project background:

This project is about the Labour Corps – Service Personnel in the British Army who have essentially been pretty forgotten and aren’t really commemorated anywhere. The aim is to raise the profile of the Labour Corps and share this learning with community groups.

Who were the Labour Corps?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image: Collection of John Sheen author of histories of the Northumberland Fusiliers and Durham Light Infantry.

 The Labour Corps supplied the army with weapons and ammunition, food and fodder, water and fuel. They built and maintained roads and railways. They were essential to the war effort.

British and Allied Forces struggled to cope with the demand for manpower after the huge losses of men during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. From January 1917, manpower was drawn from the UK, China, India, South Africa, Egypt, Canada, the Caribbean and many other places within the British Empire.

Tens of thousands travelled thousands of miles to defend freedom and although they rarely saw service in the frontline, many died or were seriously injured. Today their contributions and sacrifice are all but forgotten. They are The Unremembered.

Events:

We are working engaging with freelancers and volunteers to deliver a series of history and resource led activities which focus on the art of making articulated paper puppets (a common past time a centenary ago) with community groups and families.

These puppets are a mixture of pre-printed on cardboard outline templates which can then be designed, created and compiled by participants and for those with dexterity issues or the very young, pre-designed printed templates which can be assembled with support and displayed.  We will use fabric scraps, wrapping paper and wall paper to create overlaid uniforms for these puppets and to bring them to life.

We will also create activities to create dressing paper dolls, so creating the one dimensional paper dolls through templates which are cut out and then one dimensional clothing made relevant to our theme which can then be folded over the puppet body. These dolls were popular during WWI and were still printed then despite paper shortages.

Both these forms of puppet making are ideal for classroom and community projects because they are made with everyday craft supplies and reused materials.

The puppet theme for this project is two-fold – one that it is an engaging and accessible way to teach young people and community groups who are unaware of this lost period of history about the Labour Corps, and secondly that the puppets can be seen as a metaphor for the role of the Labour Corps in terms of having no control over their work or location, that they were moved around like mules and essentially treated as such too. This will be a way to valorise those men and celebrate their role.

This will help to remember some of the soldiers who served with the Labour Corps and their link with Sussex and draw this forgotten history into the light.

https://strikealight.org/projects/the-unremembered-project/

 

Trench Brothers project starts!

We’ve just been engaged to work on this lovely project ‘Trench Brothers’ in Sussex for HMDT Music.
 
Trench Brothers brings the First World War to life for students through the experiences and personal stories of Indian Army, British West Indies Regiment and black British Soldiers. It commemorates their contributions using puppetry, music, artefacts and cross-curricular learning and culminates in performances of a new music theatre work by composers Julian Joseph and Richard Taylor and librettist Tertia Sefton-Green, enabling students to develop a creative, artistic response to the stories and immortalise the deeds of these forgotten soldiers.
 
We will be delivering free training in archives and research with volunteers in the area, alongside visits to Seaford Museum, The Keep and the Chattri. This will lead to an exhibition this summer at Newhaven Fort.
 
We’ll be sending out more information soon about how to get involved!
 

Issac Rayner – Portslade to Peronne

The Orange Lilies project managed by Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage aims to highlight the city’s experience of living through The Somme. Through the project, we are gathering and contextualising material and information for city residents, school teachers, researchers and those interested in WWI.

It comprise interviews, newspaper reports & other printed items, photographs, objects and documents held at public libraries, museums and the The Keep archive. Part of the project entails finding relatives and family members with photos and memories of people from the city who served during the Somme, or lived in Brighton and Hove at the time of the batyle between 30th June 1916 and 18th November 1916.

June is a lovely Hove based lady in her early 90s involved with an older people’s group called Memories Past, who married into the Rayner family in the 1940s. Meeting June Rayner not so long ago, we got talking about her husband who was in Burma in World War II, and then his father a Portslade born man called Issac Rayner who served in the Battle of the Somme in 1916 with the Royal Sussex Regiment.

img_3799Issac was born in the 1890s and lived in 35 South Street, Portslade village, part of Brighton and Hove in a house that no longer exists. The photo (to the left and right), whilst not dated, was taken in Portland Road (the road joining Portslade to Hove) by H.W Tubb, a well known photographer at the time with an established business in the area.

Henry William Tubb’s home in Portland Road also served as his studio and business premises. Henry Tubb was keen to point out in his advertisements that his Portland Road Studio was located opposite Portslade Railway Station.

Henry Tubb set up a photographic studio in Portland Road, Hove, around 1899. Describing himself as an “Artist Photographer”, Henry Tubb took studio portraits at his Portland Road Studio, but he was also an “outdoor photographer”, offering to bring his camera along  to “Garden Parties, Wedding groups, etc., ..by appointment”. Henry Tubb was also keen to advertise his expertise in making photographic enlargements.

Tubb’s advertisements proclaimed “Photographs in all Styles – Enlargements of all Description” and the publicity on the reverse of his cabinet and carte-de-visite portraits, under the heading “ENLARGEMENTS TO ALL STYLES”, assured his customers that “the negative of this photograph is preserved from which enlargements or further copies can always be obtained.”  To supplement his photography business, Henry Tubb also made picture frames at his Portland Road premises. (Taken from http://www.photohistory-sussex.co.uk).

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Issacissac-rayner-with-moustache-wwi (also known as Ike) joined up with the Royal Sussex Regiment at a date unknown during the Somme and became a machine  gunner in the trenches there.  He suffered inordinately in this time and was buried alive whilst tunnelling, being rescued by army colleagues digging him out. Once recovered from this ordeal, he was sent back to the front, where he was then gassed.

From the British Legion website ‘the Battle of the Somme also saw several different weapons being used including mines, poisonous gas and machine guns. Some of the larger machine guns needed 12 men to operate them. The best known innovation of 1916 was the tank, first used in battle at Flers on 15 September 1916. Armoured, tracked vehicles were designed to cross trenches, crush barbed wire and give direct fire support’.

Issac Rayner remained in the army until at least the end of 1919. We can’t be sure, but from the photos seen of him in colonial army wear, posed with other Royal Sussex Regimental soldiers also in shorts, and another portrait shot of Issac with a pith helmet, it seems possible that he was part of a Battalion transferred to India in 1917. Pith Helmets were widely used by the British Army in the Middle East, India and Africa to protect delicate British complexions from the fierce sun.

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In this postcard sent home to his parents, dated 1st August 1919, Issac is pictured second row from the top, third from the left, clearly identified by his large moustache, something he hadn’t had before enlisting or later when he returned home.

The back of the card reads ‘To mother and Dad, from your affectionate and loving son. I.Rayner xxx Sent to Mrs Rayner, 35 South Street, Portslade, Sussex , England

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We don’t know anything further of his time with the Royal Sussex Regiment, only that he did survive the war and his injuries. Many soldiers who survived being gassed in the tranches died very young, so Ike was fortunate in this aspect.

6-crown-road-issac-raynerflorence-jane-packer-married-to-issac-rayner-6-crown-rd-garden-portsladeReturning to Portslade, Issac met and married Florence Jane Packer in the early 1920s who at the time lived at 6 Crown Road (see right), Portslade, pictured here in the back garden of the house at a date unknown.

It isn’t known if they knew each other before the war, however Florence was also from a local Portslade family and had grown up in the house in Crown Road along with her parents (see right – Great Grandad Packer) and siblings. florence-packers-father-issacs-fil

Returning to Portslade, Issac lived until 77,  dying at the home inherited by him and Florence from the Packer side of the family at Crown Road, Portslade on  14th November 1962.

Florence it is believed was a strict woman, who wasn’t given to smiling too often. She did lose two of her young nephews (Michael and Donald Packer) in WWII. Both sailors, as were many in the Packer family during the second world war. The two men were on separate naval ships which were torpedoed by German boats, so this may be connected. She died much before her husband Issac but it is unsure when.

Issac and Florence had two sons, Cyril born in 1922, followed by the younger son Dennis, who was born on 6th of September 1926, and a (possibly illegitimate) niece brought up as a daughter of the Rayner family, named Iris.

The photograph below was taken by Stacy Ward, a portrait photographer who took over the business and premises from HW Tubb (and premises moved to 39 Station Road) who earlier took Issac Rayner’s photo in the mid 1900s.

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The children all married local Portslade people. Issac and Florence lived in the house at Crown Road (near Fishersgate) until the 1960s.

Dennis was posted to India during World War II age only 19. Below is a snap of him as a private in Poona (now Pune) south of Mumbai, India.

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June met and married Dennis Rayner (Issac’s younger son) in the 1940s and they had four sons who all still live in the area. Here she is as a young girl with toy pram, and later, aged around 15 in a portrait photographic shot around the time of meeting Dennis Rayner.

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June and Dennis were married a long time until Dennis sadly passed away.

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Here you can see Dennis with two friends at his retirement party in 1991.

Free events this autumn!

Strike a Light in partnership with Fabrica gallery in Brighton are hosting two free events as part of Heritage Open Days this September.  These events are part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.v0_largeDetails for booking these free events here:

Fabrica –The Boys on the Plaque

40 Duke Street, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1AG

Fabrica is a contemporary art gallery housed in the former Holy Trinity Church in Brighton, with a mission to increase access to contemporary visual art to as broad an audience as possible. The Boys on the Plaque is a new Heritage Lottery Funded project that is inspired by WWI soldiers commemorated within the church, and seeks to reveal the histories of local people in Brighton & Hove. https://boysontheplaque.wordpress.com/

During this special drop-in event, Fabrica will open it’s doors to the public for an afternoon of stimulating and engaging activities and exhibits to inspire new ways of considering our communities experience of the war.

This free event will include creative workshops, heritage activities and screenings to explore personal memories relating to the war and the stories we were left with. Guest speakers will include researcher and oral historian for ‘War Stories: Voices of the First World War’ Jo Palache, and Dr Chris Kempshall, Project Officer – First World War in East Sussex. 

Visitors are invited to bring their own stories and keepsakes to share with volunteers and staff and contribute to our research project, which seeks to uncover the history of each of The Boys on the Plaque, as well as discovering the wider story of Brighton & Hove during WWI.

A free afternoon tea, music and a warm welcome to people of all ages will be provided!

To attend this free event, you can book here:  http://botphod.eventbrite.com

Opening Times

Thursday 10 September: 1300-1600

Access: Wheelchair ramp built into entrance. Guide dogs welcome. Accessible toilets on site. Accessible parking space (1) in front of building.

Additional information: The Boys on the Plaque event is a free drop in activity and all are welcome even if only for 10 minutes. Free refreshments will be available at the event.

This event will also form the jumping off point for a series of monthly Free activities called Conversation Cafes which will look at aspects and reminiscences about the First World War including talks and trips to the Keep and the Rare Books Archive in Brighton.

Clare Hankinson, Project Manager – The Boys on the Plaque Fabrica 01273 778646 clare.hankinson@fabrica.org.uk

WWI Walking Tour Brighton with historian Dr Geoffrey Mead

Fabrica, 40 Duke Street, Brighton, East Sussex, Bn1 1AG

Walking Tour – Friday 11th Sept 2015, 6pm

The Lanes (Meeting at Fabrica gallery)

Free but donations welcome

Led by local historian Dr Geoffrey Mead, this will be a unique, one-off Walking Tour of Brighton’s historic Lanes, exploring the history and changing social and architectural landscape of this area of the city in relation to the period of time around WWI.

Inspired by a selection of stories from local soldiers commemorated on a memorial plaque at the Holy Trinity Church, the tour will begin at Fabrica art gallery. This tour uses the WWI heritage project The Boys on the Plaque as a starting point (https://strikealight.org/projects/the-boys-on-the-plaque/)

The tour will last 60-90 minutes and will take place on the streets of Brighton – sensible shoes and attire recommended.

Booking required in advance: http://botpwalkingtour.eventbrite.com

Event not suitable for children under the age of 12.

Opening Times

  • Friday 11 September: 1800-1930

Booking Details

Pre-booking: Required
Booking Contact: Clare Hankinson
Call: 01273 778646
Email: clare.hankinson@fabrica.org.uk
Go to: http://botpwalkingtour.eventbrite.com
Booking opens: 15 July 2015 09:00
Booking closes: 11 September 2015 18:00

Access

Wheelchair ramp built into entrance. Guide dogs welcome. Accessible toilets on site. Accessible parking space (1) in front of building. This a walking tour so the tour will visit sites around the Lanes part of Brighton.

Additional information

Max 20 people per tour/session. This walking tour may last 60 – or 90 minutes depending on the size of the group on the tour.

Directions

The event takes place from the start point of Fabrica gallery which is a large contemporary visual gallery in a 19th century converted church in central Brighton opposite Browns Restaurant. It is ten minutes walk from Brighton seafront. Public Transport Directions: Brighton Railway Station is approximately 15-20 minutes walk. Local buses stop within walking distance. http://www.visitbrighton.com/culture/fabrica-p384651#location

Website

botpwalkingtour.eventbrite.com
strikealight.org/projects/the-boys-on-the-plaque/

Organised by

Fabrica/Strike a Light

BHCC Librariesstrike_a_light_logo_transparent107x107pxFabricaHLFHI_BLK

REMEMBERING THE FIRST WORLD WAR IN EAST SUSSEX AND BRIGHTON

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REMEMBERING THE FIRST WORLD WAR IN EAST SUSSEX AND BRIGHTON – Gateways to the First World War

The Gateways team are supporting a number of centenary events taking place in East Sussex and Brighton over the next few weeks.
Bexhill Museum’s First World War Question Time
(organised with Gateways to the First World War)
Thursday 19 March, 12.30pm-3pm

A First World War Q&A session with a panel of experts including Dr Lucy Noakes (University of Brighton), Claire Eden (Bexhill Museum), Dr Chris Kempshall (First World War Project Officer, ESCC) and Geoff Bridger (Military Historian).
Tickets £2.50 from Bexhill Museum. More information here.

Home Fires: A Haunting story of love and loss during the Great War
Wednesday 18 – Saturday 21 March

A large scale theatrical experience at Newhaven Fort with music, dance, sound installations, projections, professional performance and mass community participation.
Find out more on the Home Fires Facebook page.

‘Relations between French, British & American Soldiers in WW1’, a talk by Dr Chris Kempshall
Wednesday 8 April, 7.30pm

An illustrated talk by Dr Chris Kempshall at Seaford Martello Tower.
Tickets £2. More information here.

Oh What a Lovely War Family Open Day
(organised with Gateways to the First World War)
Friday 10 April, 11.30am-3pm FREE

Drop in, take a look around Theatre Royal Brighton and find out what was going on there and elsewhere in the City during the First World War. Exhibitions, displays, making and doing activities and more. Suitable for all ages.
More details available on our website soon.

For more information about these and many other events around the country visit www.gatewaysfww.org.uk/events.

Soldiers at Cooden Camp – ‘Lowther’s Lambs’. Image reproduced with permission of Bexhill Museum.