Published On: Tue, May 6th, 2014 on 4:39 pm

WWI stories remembered ahead of Bankfield Museum exhibit

Bankfield Museum WW1

Ms Clare’s family during the First World War

The Bankfield Museum in Halifax is getting ready for the launch of a brand new wartime exhibition.

With just three months till it opens, the top floor of the museum is to display a range of objects, images and archives exploring what life was like in the area 100 years ago.

The work follows a successful Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid, and Angela Clare has been heading the project alongside the museum team.

Ms Clare has gathered over 60 stories to include in the exhibition and has collected more than 200 objects.

But working on the exhibition inspired her to look into her own family history and their involvement in the First World War.

She recounted: “I started by gathering what information I could from family members, including a selection of photographs and a Christmas card sent from my great-grandfather to his wife and daughter in 1918.

“I searched the 1911 Census to locate family members and Ancestry revealed which regiments they joined and when.”

She found out that her great-grandfather Thomas Henry Blythe was one of four brothers who had moved from Leeds to Peterborough by 1911 to work on the railways.

They all went to war and survived, but tragedy struck in 1919 when Mr Blythe’s wife and daughter died from Spanish flu.

Mr Blythe later remarried in 1922 to Hilda Macmann who was also from Leeds. She had served in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps during the war.

Ms Clare was surprised to find out about her family history, and hopes that the upcoming exhibition will attract people to share their own personal stories too.

She said: “It’s touching that families want to share their stories to remember people 100 years on – both those who were sadly killed and those who survived.

“We’ve had a range of stories including soldiers, sailors, nurses, munitions workers and conscientious objectors. With everyone now gone, these centenary years give us chance to record what we can now, so that stories and experiences aren’t lost.”

The exhibition officially opens on 2 August.

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