We’re happy to say that the August Exhibition went down well with those who visited – people were genuinely interested and moved by what they saw, and we were very pleased by the favourable comments. It was suggested that a book should come next – we’re less sure about that!
We are very grateful for all the help we have had firstin researching and then in setting up the Exhibition; we’d particularly like to mention the Church for the venue, Jon Mayled for photographs, Geoffrey Berry for memories and press cuttings, Boo Collier for the hand-written headings, and Gordon Board and helpers for the stands. Our debt to the families is great: the Buttles, the Hardwills, the Hectors, the Norths and the Smiths.
We devoted one display stand to each of the 15 men, with a short biography of each, illustrated by pictures and documents. We also set up more general display stands, trying to give an idea of the village they came from a hundred years ago, and the war they found themselves in on the Western Front or Palestine. Other stands gave an idea of other Memorials, a Roll of Honour of those who served, the poets’ view of the war and a satirical take on what was unfolding. The Buckland St Mary Parish Registers borrowed from the Somerset Heritage Centre attracted a crowd of people.
As we had hoped it might, the Exhibition has stirred up fresh memories: Buttle descendants came with fresh pictures and recollections of the family, and a rose in memory of Fred and William. John North told us about Bert Shire, who’d been beside Stanley North when he was killed. Anna Rebecca North’s card mourning her son drew tears from at least one visitor.
We have made contact with other communities who are working, or plan to work, on similar projects. We too intend to try and fill out our knowledge of the other 53 men who served in WW1 – so we are still receptive to any knowledge our fellow villagers may have.
The Exhibition is over, but left behind in the Church are the 15 folders with all the details we know to date for each man. They are on the table beneath the War Memorial, and there they will stay, a solid tribute to their lives. Anyone will be able to read them there.
We hope that those Vanished Lives are now a little more real to the present day villagers of Buckland St Mary and the wider Blackdown Hills.
Link to Church Clock Memorial board
Copyright © 2014 Buckland St Mary.