Surge in Historic Items Donated to Prescot Museum

By on Monday, September 29, 2014

cenotaph_prescot_war_memorialThe World War One centenary has provoked a surge in donations to Prescot Museum.

To commemorate a hundred years since the outbreak of war, local people have given or loaned the museum historic items, including letters, family photographs and war medals.

Prescot people have also shared the stories of their loved ones and ancestors who served in the war, which lasted from 1914 to 1918.

The artefacts, together with the tales behind them, are now part of the Local Heroes, Distant Voices exhibition at Prescot Museum, running concurrently at Kirkby Gallery.

As well as the nine servicemen the displays focus on, the stories of dozens of other local people are told through individual objects and audio interviews.

Some of the exhibits have brought family members together, reconnecting long-lost relatives through their links to the men whose achievements and sacrifices are celebrated in the exhibition.

One such local story is that of Joseph Bray, who enlisted for duty in the First World War claiming to be 19, the age at which soldiers were entitled to fight overseas.

However, 18 months later, it was discovered that he had been 16 when he signed up, and he was sent home to England. He then re-enlisted with a different battalion.

While fighting in the Somme, he found a book containing poetry on the battlefield. He copied one of the poems and sent it home in a letter to his mother.

He was killed weeks later, on 15 October 1918.

This letter is one of the items on display, along with his medals, photographs and memorial scroll. They have been viewed by many different branches of the family as his descendants have looked into their connections to the First World War through and through the museum exhibition.

Find out opening days and times for Prescot Museum here. Local Heroes, Distant Voices runs until Saturday 15 November.

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