VIDEO: Novium tells of the Chichester war effort

CONTRIBUTIONS of local people to the first world war effort will be honoured in the Novium’s new exhibition.

CONTRIBUTIONS of local people to the first world war effort will be honoured in the Novium’s new exhibition.

Kerill Winters holds a real German helmet from the Somme that will be on display

Kerill Winters holds a real German helmet from the Somme that will be on display

From Monday (April 7), the museum has been telling several uniquely personal stories of people from the Chichester district.

“It’s only fair and it’s only proper that we do our best to commemorate the contribution from Chichester,” said the museum’s exhibitions officer, Kerill Winters, who has spent the past six months bringing it all together.

Following themes such as creativity, bravery and sorrow, the story of everything from Graylingwell’s role as a war hospital to a Selsey man who kept a look out for invading ships will be told.

“What we’re going to do here is tell the personal stories of Chichester and what’s important to the district,” said Kerill.

Artefacts from Graylingwell will go on show to cover the sorrow section of the museum.

Meanwhile, bravery will be dedicated to looking at the role women from the area played.

Kerill described the ‘amazing story’ of Marie Nathan, who joined the women’s forestry service, part of the land army and became 
a tree-feller.

“Their contribution to the war effort is massive,” he said.

And when it comes to creativity, a man from Selsey named Edward Heron-Allen will be remembered in the exhibition for his work protecting the Manhood Peninsula and beyond.

“He was something of a polymath,” said Kerill. “He was a solicitor by profession, but he had an amazing interest in things 
like violin-making, palmistry, Persian history.”

As well as creating the Sussex Volunteer Regiment, the Home Guard of its day, he also formed the Sussex Scout Association.

“He used to have them patrolling the Selsey shoreline.”

The exhibition will also feature his wartime journal.

Also, the story of Walter Dew will be told. A postman from Chichester, he joined the 13th battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment.

Private Dew suffered burst eardrums due to the noise of the guns on the battlefield. He died in 1919 aged 30, on the operating table undergoing an operation on his ears. He is buried in Chichester Cemetery.

Alongside the items on display, there will be opportunities for people to get involved.

“It’s going to be really interactive, really participatory. Whether you’re a small kid or a big kid, you’re going to have a lot of fun and hopefully engage with it as much as possible,” said Kerill.

Everything from a battle helmet from the Somme and first world war news reels will be on show, along with articles published in the Observer from the time.

“I think we’ve got really strong stories and of course that will engage people’s interests, particularly people who know the history of Chichester,” he added.

The exhibition runs from Monday until the end of the year. There is also two-for-one entry until this Sunday at the Novium.

Next weekend, April 12 and 13, will feature a lot of interactive activities, as part of the exhibition.

There will also be a talk on April 16 about correspondence from Shippam’s employees on the front line and Jay Shippam himself.

For more information call The Novium on 01243 775888, email thenovium@chichester.gov.uk or visit www.thenovium.org