The Armistice Exhibition Preview at the Royal Norfolk Show

Thank you to all that came to see us at the Royal Norfolk Show last week. We really appreciated the opportunity to introduce you to our upcoming exhibition, Armistice: Legacy of the Great War in Norfolk, as well as hear your memories of First World War veterans.

At our stall we showcased one of the most unique sources in our collection, the Norfolk Regiment Casualty and Sickness book. The book, originally intended as a recruitment ledger, records casualty and sickness details for more than fifteen thousand soldiers of the 1st and 2nd regular battalions, and the 7th, 8th and 9th service battalions of the Norfolk Regiment. The original large hardback volume was compiled by clerks in the Regimental Depot Orderly Room in Britannia Barracks and includes entries running from August 1914 through to the early months of 1919.

The entries are all handwritten in ink, each entry record listing the individual soldier’s number, rank, name, and battalion or battalions they served in, as well as details of casualty, sickness, including details of hospitalisation. Some of the entries contain additional details such as or prisoner of war status and the place of burial immediately after death in battle. A lot of this information would not appear in routine Army Records Office printouts, making the ledger an interesting and unique source. This type of record of World War I casualties is exclusive to the Royal Norfolk Regiment as no other regiments seem to have such a kept such a record.

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Sarah and Kate using the Casualty Book to answer a family history query on Twitter.

Currently public access to the Casualty Book is limited to a photocopied version held in the Shirehall Study Centre and can be seen by arranging a study visit with the Regimental Museum. However, recognizing the value that the ledger, our volunteer team is in the process of creating an interactive, digitized version of the ledger, which will include an online searchable database, linking the entries to other sources held at the Regimental Museum such as the War Diaries. We hope to have the online data base up and running by the end of this year.

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Nigel Amies and his 1914 drum.

We would also like to extend a big thank you to SSAFA, Armed Forces Charity for lending us a space in their tent, and to Nigel Amies, a freelance historical educator, who did a great job engaging the public with his original restored World War drum from 1914.

 

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Armistice: Legacy of the Great War in Norfolk Exhibition – Call for Information

Does your  family have memories of life in Norfolk during the First World War? Share your memories with us at the Royal Norfolk Show!

Welcome to our first exhibition blog entry. In anticipation to the opening the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum’s new exhibition Armistice: Legacy of the Great War in Norfolk on October 20th in Norwich Castle we want to provide you with exclusive behind the scenes sneak peeks at the exhibition preparations. We will showcase different objects, introducing you to some of the incredible stories which will feature in the exhibition.

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Billeting outside of the Carrow Works Clubhouse.

 

Although the exhibition will commemorate the First World War’s armistice centenary, its main aim will be to celebrate people’s resilience and the emergence of a more understanding society. We will highlight the success of the Suffragette movement and the construction of Homes for Heroes. The exhibition will be unique in its focus on the experience of the First World War specific to Norfolk, with objects for the exhibition having been selected based on their local connection to the county.

The Armistice exhibition will be divided into seven key sections: air, sea, town and industry, country and agriculture, at home and children, soldiers in the county – hospitals, and peace. Each section will be populated with a rich array of objects gathered from museums around the county. Some of the key objects will include an original torpedo and Paddy Hartley’s Papaver Rhoeas poppies.

The exhibition space will be populated by large number of textiles and costumes on open display. There will be something to do for all age groups including family-friendly activities, a home front nursery area with wooden toys and a sailor dress up station.

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During the First World War there were over sixty War and Auxiliary hospitals in Norfolk.

Now we need your help. As the Armistice exhibition focuses on local history, we thought it would be a good opportunity to ask you, members of the public, about your family’s stories about life in Norfolk during the First World War. We believe there is a hidden history of the hardships faced by returning soldiers and their families. We want to expose how the war changed the life of ex-servicemen and their families and how they dealt with the often trying circumstances.

If you would like to contribute your family’s memories you can reach us by e-mailing regimental.museum@norfolk.gov.uk. If you are attending the Royal Norfolk Show next week, we will have a stall set up adjacent to the SSAFA – the Armed Forces Charity vehicle, so come by and say hello. We would love to hear from you.

 

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