A superb exhibition is now on at Beaminster Museum reflecting the First World War, both on the battle front and how it affected the families in the local area left at home. When you enter the exhibition you will be greeted by a recruiting desk complete with union flag and recruitment documentation so you can see how this process was achieved. You are invited to add to the memorial board where visitors can put their memories, thoughts, stories and, if you wish, copies of photographs of loved ones which will help bring the exhibition more to life on a personal basis.
Part of the exhibition is devoted to the families of Beaminster and the local villages who had to cope under very difficult circumstances here at home. It shows many of the activities the women carried out to support our troops by fund raising, knitting, Women’s Land Army, Red Cross service and other voluntary aid work. Coupled with this, domestic home life is portrayed with the one scene of a mother standing with her son at the dining table and a picture of her husband on the wall, whilst another reveals a woman who has just received the dreaded telegram in her hand bearing news.
The Museum is most fortunate to have copies of some of the late Dr Lake’s war paintings which were shown on the television programme The Antiques Roadshow recently. There is also a re-creation of a First World War trench accompanied by the officers’ dugout complete with its ‘war furnishings’ and a depiction of part of a military hospital with a figure of a nurse attending to a patient on a bed.
There are many assorted pictures of military hospitals, groups of nurses and sadly some cemeteries for those who did not come home. Artefacts which have been generously loaned, given or found in the local area are also on display.
The most poignant and important part of the exhibition is devoted to showing pen pictures and photographs of the 156 men from Beaminster and the local area who gave their lives and whose names appear on the war memorials. There are books to look at which will enable visitors to expand the stories behind this.