Visitors to exhibition

Article by Lara Keay: Billericay went back in time on Saturday when the Reading Rooms hosted a First World War commemoration day.

It was organised by the Cater Museum's curator Chris Brewster to remember the sacrifices made by local servicemen and women 100 years ago during the Great War.

Several artefacts were taken to the High Street venue from the Billericay at War room in the museum where they were put on display for visitors.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Chris Brewster"]We hope the event offered the younger generation in particular a greater awareness of the terrible sacrifices made during the war and a greater sense of connection with what many of their grandparents and great grandparents lived through.[/quote]

The afternoon began at 2pm with a minute's silence to remember those who died.

The display of First World War souvenirs included pictures drawn by a British soldier while in the trenches, as well as the Roll of Honour that lists the names of all those from Billericay who went off to fight.

Members of the 10th Essex Great War Living History Group attended dressed in army uniforms and were on hand to tell visitors more about the display.

They also showcased objects brought back from the trenches, which included everything from soldiers' machine guns to their coffee cups.

The display was followed by an evening talk given by Karen Dennis of the Essex branch of the Western Front Association.

Entitled 1915, grief, gas and Gallipoli, the talk focused on the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign of 1915 where a large number of local soldiers lost their lives.

The year 1915 was the first time gas was used in war and was described by Ms Brewster as "a very sombre and unhappy year".

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Ms Brewster"]After the initial euphoria of people signing up to fight during the first year of the war, 1915 was when soldiers realised that modern warfare was going to be different and that they wouldn't be home by Christmas like they had imagined.[/quote]

Last year the Cater Museum hosted a similar event to commemorate the war's centenary.

Ms Brewster said she hopes the commemorations will continue, as this year's event marked her last before her retirement.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Ms Brewster"]The Cater Museum is a wonderful place. I have loved working here for the past 14 years and I am sure its new curator, Katie Wilkie, will continue our Great War commemorations.[/quote]

Article by Lara Keay, Ongar Gazette

More local news