World War One Open Day at Crediton Museum.

An opportunity for local people to tell local historians about their experiences of World War 1.

Paul Tucker

Local solicitor Paul Tucker with framed items relating to his uncle, including 'the dead man's penny' sent to next of kin upon a soldier's death in action

When: to November  2013
Where:Crediton Museum, The Old Town Hall, High Street, Crediton

Local History Groups in the Crediton area and the British Legion have been discussing how they can contribute to national commemorations next year of the annversary of the outbreak of the Great War in 1914. Regular meetings are taking place at Crediton Museum where an exhibition on the subject will open next Easter. It has been estimated that there were between 9 and 16 million deaths world wide as a result of the war and over a million of these were from the UK. Hardly a household in Britain was unaffected by the war, with families scarred not only by the loss of loved ones but the permanent effect injuries, physical, emotional and mental, had on individuals and families for years after.

The group are particularly concerned to record the lives of local people remembered on war memorials in the area, some of which can be found in churches, schools, hospitals etc., as well as on cenotaphs in our communities. They are also aware that the names of some victims have not been recorded in that way and would like to gather information about that.

Features such as the treatment of conscientious objectors and front line soldiers who were said to have deserted but were, in fact, mentally ill, have all been explored and questioned since but the victims are no longer around to tell their stories. However, their descendants are and often have momentoes of the events.

Group co-ordinator Keith Parsons said "We are anxious to give local people the opportunity to tell their story and provide information about the effect the war had on their families and show us artifacts they might still have from the war. We held a very successful Open Day at the Museum in November, when we invited people to call in to chat, and we are holding another one from 10am till 4pm on Saturday, 8th February. Do spread the word and ask people to come along."

The secretary of Crediton Area History & Museum Society who will mount next year's exhibition, David Nation, said "Memories of this catastrophic war are fading fast and it is so important that we never forget the huge sacrifice made by so many. A great deal has been written about the 1st World War but the stories of local families are not easy to find. It is this we want to remedy and I hope that local people will contact us."