“IT was fitting that the launch of Hedon Museum’s World War One Exhibition ‘Home & Away – Holderness in the Great War’ was taking place in Hedon Town Hall…” said Dr Martin Craven in his welcome to the assembled guests and members of the public at the Launch event on Saturday “…because at the outbreak of the first world war, this was the place that local military commanders set up their Headquarters.”
However, Dr Craven’s main purpose at the Hedon Town Hall launching event was to welcome Colonel Nigel Wilkinson, Commanding Officer of the Humberside and South Yorkshire Army Cadet Force and invite him to formally open the Exhibition.
Col. Wilkinson in a moving speech honoured those who had died in the conflict and stressed the importance of Remembrance:
“This is not just ‘history’ that’s now gone and forgotten. It’s particularly important to ensure that children understand the losses and sacrifices made during this conflict. The East Yorkshire Regiment alone had 9,000 killed, with 24,000 more injured. You can only realise the scale of these losses if you compare the figures with a more recent conflict; the entire force involved in the Iraq conflict was 15,000 strong.
“One individual from Hedon who lost his life typifies these losses. Sgt. Laurence Cautley, number 12363, twenty three year old son of William and Margaret Cautley of 1 George Street, won the Military Medal during the war, but I was really sad to discover that Sgt. Cautley lost his life only 13 days before the Armistice was signed. He is buried in Staglieno Cemetery in Genoa.
“We’ve added Sgt. Cautley to our Roll of honour At the Army Cadet Force Headquarters in Driffield. He will not be forgotten! I hope that members of his family will take some comfort from knowing that his name will now be recognised in this way.”
After formally declaring the exhibition open, Col. Wilkinson and his wife Caroline led the first guests to the exhibition.
Visitors to the exhibition who had relatives who died in World War 1 are invited to play a part in the Poppy Challenge which involves filling in the name of the person to be remembered on a label which can be tied to a poppy and placed in a glass container. The poppies will be collected at the end of the exhibition and taken to be displayed at Beverley Minister along with others from across the East Riding.
Dr Craven was particularly delighted to see the younger people present at the launching event the youngest of which were 8-year-old Dylan Sawyer and Madeleine Bhana aged 3.
Also of interest is the publication of a booklet to accompany the exhibition. Edited by Dr Craven it costs £2.50 and is available from the Museum.
The Exhibition is open Saturdays and Wednesdays, 10am – 4pm until Saturday 30th August 2014. Refreshments available.