MEDALS and certificates will be on display in a First World War exhibition which opens at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery today.
The attraction has been put together by campaign group Swindon In The Great War which has organised a series of events to commemorate the centenary of the conflict.
The artefacts on display include servicemen’s uniforms and prisoner of war letters. The exhibition, called Swindon In The Great War – One Town’s War, has taken over a year to put together.
Historian Mike Pringle, a member of the group, said: “You’re never quite sure how these things will come together but everything has gone really well and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors to the exhibition.
“We have got everything you can imagine that is connected with the First World War.
“We have done a lot of display boards which tell a story with the artifacts making it feel real for the visitor.”
Mike said that it is poignant that the exhibition has opened in a week commemorating 100 years since Great Britain got involved in the conflict.
He said: “We have tried to include something from every perspective as it is not just about those who served.
“We have looked at how the war changed women’s roles in Swindon and the change in schools. As a group we have put a lot of effort into this and we have a great sense of pride.”
The exhibition will run until January 31, 2015 and Swindon In The Great War plans to work regularly with the town’s schools as part of the project.
Mike said: “We received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to support the exhibition which is fantastic.
“The majority of the money will be spent on holding workshops for local children and helping them have a greater understanding of the First World War’s affect on Swindon.”
As part of Swindon In The Great War’s commemorations, Mike has written a book called Swindon Remembering 1914-1918 which was launched on Monday.
“It feels great to get the book out there and I’ve had really positive feedback so far,” he said.
“Throughout the book you see the inner courage of all the men, women and children involved in the conflict.”
For more information about Swindon’s First World War commemorations, visit www.swindoninthegreatwar.wordpress.com