During the weekend of 1st and 2nd October 2016, the autumnal sun shone warmly and brightly on Wennington Green in the Lune Valley not far from Kirkby Lonsdale. In order to show the world my collection of replica and authentic Great War artifacts and to advertise the services I can provide, I organised a living history event. My wife Anne, despite having hardly any interest in history whatsoever and certainly not being attracted by the Great War, offered to take charge of the catering. She found authentic recipes and baked trench cake, soda bread and anzac and hard tack biscuits (with a bit of added butter in order to make them slightly more edible). She also offered tea, coffee, bacon sandwiches, bully beef, brown sauce and baked potatoes. My sister Alison came up from Wirral with her homemade trench cake and Lesley and Bernard Simon paid a visit and donated another trench cake and extra anzac biscuits. I provided the plum and apple jam, made with apples from our own tree. Our neighbour, Bruce, donated firewood and looked after the stove and my daughter Eleri, granddaughter Evie, son-in-law Nick, son Samuel and his girlfriend Lauren also helped. Eleri and Evie are responsible for the excellent photographs.
Great War enthusiasts Frank Sherratt from Wirral and Paul Bramham from Kendal joined me and slept in the canvas bell tent overnight. Frank was dressed in his replica Tommy’s uniform and Paul was attired in an authentic Cheshire Regiment Officer’s number 1 dress. They both looked the part. I dressed in my replica Tommy’s outfit.
However, the only person who ever really looked genuine was Samuel who is actually a serving Grenadier Guardsman:-
We received a steady trickle of visitors. Some of them were locals whilst others had travelled especially to see us from Kendal, Lancaster, Morecambe, Carnforth and Kirkby Lonsdale. A lot of interest was shown in the various documents and artifacts and many fruitful discussions occurred.
A former Coldstream Guardsman gave an impromptu drill display using the SMLE .303 rifle:
Whilst others enquired about medals, badges and my family history services:-
I explained that I am able to go into schools and motivate children to learn about the Great War:-
We received many positive comments and I think seeds were sown. One gentleman asked me to research the wartime experiences of his great great uncle from Lancaster, which I have since done, and another spoke of a medal which he found in his garden and has asked me to research its former owner.
If you would like to know more about the services I can offer you in the field of Great War living history, kindly look at the menu in the banner at the top of this page and/or get in touch with me via my contact page.
Thank you for reading this post. I look forward to hearing from you soon.