Source: Western Morning News
Digging for history at Royal Cornwall Show
As the country prepares to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War, a group of dedicated re-enactors from Launceston will bring trench conditions to life at this year’s Royal Cornwall Show.
The WWI Living History Group aims to provide an authentic scene to demonstrate what life on the front line would have been like for civilians and soldiers from the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, the local regiment of the British Army.
The re-enactment will see uniformed and fully equipped recruits building their own trench on the showground, to 1914 army manual specifications.
The team also plan to camp out during the show, as their counterparts would have done a hundred years ago. Show visitors will be invited to try on gas masks and shell jackets, as well as having a go at putting on putties, a type of gaiter used to keep water and rats at bay in Great War trenches.
Amanda Durden, from the WWI Living History Group, said: “Our main aim in bringing this era to life is to spark people’s interest and inspire them to find out more about their own ancestors’ involvement in the war.
“Cornwall played its part during the conflict – directly on the battlefields and also on our farms to ensure the armed forces and the nation were fed.”
The Royal Cornwall Show was also involved in the war effort, not only by encouraging innovation and advancement in farming, but also supporting the supply of horses required for wartime roles. The War Office was permitted to display infantry and cavalry horses as examples of the type of horses they needed, with prize money given for showing classes to encourage local breeders.
In spite of the hostilities raging across mainland Europe, Camborne successfully hosted the 1915 show and records indicate that 40 men were recruited for the army at the event. Despite no further shows being held until 1919, after peace returned, Royal Cornwall Agricultural Association members continued to make subscriptions and donations to the Allies Fund.
At end of the war £3,760 had been raised by the association. The fund was distributed to European farmers to rebuild their farms after their land became battlefields.
Amanda said group members were keen for those visiting the show to do some digging of their own.
“We’d like to encourage those coming to the show to bring any WWI memorabilia or photographs along to show us and, of course, we’d also love to hear any stories that people may have,” she added.
The Royal Cornwall Show is on June 5, 6 and 7. For more information visit royalcornwall.co.uk
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