A WEEK of events commemorating the first world war is being enjoyed by visitors – thanks to a funding boost.
The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum has been awarded £9,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver a week-long commemoration of the war.
The funding is supporting activities for school groups and culminating in a weekend event – Horses at War.
Richard Pailthorpe, museum director, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
“This special weekend event to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War and to celebrate the courage of horses on the battlefield and the home front, promises to be both a unique and extremely exciting occasion.
“Visitors will be able to see a spectacular collection of restored horse-drawn agricultural and military vehicles dating from this time as well as displays of horsemanship by the 16th Lancers.
“In addition, visitors are invited to bring along medals, photos, war records and other ephemera to the Military Ancestry Road Show for identification or advice.
“I personally have letters written back home from the trenches by a great-uncle who was killed by a sniper and will be bringing them along to find out more about his war service and where he is buried.”
Visitors have been understanding how people living in the South Downs contributed to the war effort, with school groups learning drills and filling sandbags.
To understand how the war affected food supply, a recreated field kitchen is on show and demonstrations of charcoal-burning, hurdle-making for trench warfare and forestry are around the site.
“The impact of the first world war was far-reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond,” said Stuart McLeod, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the south east.
“The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested more than £47m in projects – large and small – that are marking this global centenary; with our new small grants programme, we are enabling even more communities like those involved in Horses at War at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local young people in particular, to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”
The week will finish with a display from a horse-drawn ambulance, a 1900 Bognor coal and transport dray and a restored horse-drawn water carriage on Sunday, June 8.