Wartime exhibition in Grantham gets set for take-off

WWI exhibition team, from left, Richard Titley, Peter Reichelt, Charmaine Morgan and Rosemary Gibson
WWI exhibition team, from left, Richard Titley, Peter Reichelt, Charmaine Morgan and Rosemary Gibson
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A replica of a bi-plane from the First World War will be the centrepiece of an exhibition in Grantham to mark the centenary of the Great War.

The bi-plane will recall Grantham’s role in training pilots for the Royal Flying Corps throughout the First World War at Spitalgate.

WWI exhibition team, from left, Peter McCurdy, Patsy Ellis and Malcolm Baxter

WWI exhibition team, from left, Peter McCurdy, Patsy Ellis and Malcolm Baxter

Grantham’s important role in other operations during the four-year conflict will also be highlighted in the exhibition and programme of events at the George Centre, which start on Saturday, November 8.

The shopping centre in the middle of town is a change from the original planned venue for ‘Grantham Remembers’ and it is hoped more people will now be able to see the exhibits and attend events.

On launch day, several experts will give talks and there will be sing-a-longs led by two groups of singers.

Then on the final day a week later, there will be a commemorative concert including music hall, trench songs and reflections and remembrance at St John’s Church, Station Road East – the original venue earmarked for the exhibition itself .

A fascinating range of exhibits will be on show throughout the week in the shopping centre, and World War I re-enactors will give demonstrations from Thursday to Saturday.

Local schools are being invited to take children along to join in the activities.

Programme manager Coun Charmaine Morgan said: “For a small town, Grantham had a disproportionate role in the war and we hope that through Grantham Remembers we can recognise the huge part that was played by the town and its people, by telling the human stories.”

Themes explored in the exhibition include the town’s role with the machine gun corps, Royal Flying Corps and Lincolnshire Regiment, and the contribution of its engineering industry.

Admission to the exhibition is free. Entry to the concert is by free ticket, available now from the Guildhall box office, or by calling Charmaine on 01476 574748.

Charmaine added: “We have been contacted with some very moving stories from local people and we will include these within the exhibition and in a booklet we are planning to produce alongside.

*Programme of events:

Saturday, November 8 to Saturday November 15, George Centre, exhibition open 10.30am - 5pm.

Saturday, November 8, 11am, George Centre, talk by Malcolm Baxter on The Home Front; Noon, WWI sing-a-long with The Empire Strikes Back; 2pm, WWI sing-a-long with The Elsham Singers; 3.30pm, talk by Malcolm Knapp on Grantham in WWI.

Thursday, November 13 to Saturday, November 15, George Centre, 10.30am - 5pm, Demonstrations by Living Historians.

Saturday, November 15, George Centre, 3.30pm, talk by Malcolm Knapp on a Personal Account of the Battlefields of the Somme; St John’s Church, Station Road East, Grantham, 7.30pm-9.30pm, commemorative concert with St John’s Choir, Belvoir Wassailers and guests. Programme by Elaine Bishop, musical director St John’s Church, and lead organist Geoff Winter; also taking part Wing commander Emma Middleton, Commander Grantham barracks, and Coun Jeff Thompson.