Thursday, 31 October 2013

More WW1 research written by Sara Biggs

This is what the horses in the war would have looked like
A Dorset volunteer Sara Biggs, pictured here riding a Dorset Cobb, similar to those that would have been used in World War 1.

On Monday we spent the morning brainstorming how to tell the story of the Dorset World War 1 soldier for our Geocache trail and app. For this we are collecting lots of facts, information, and poems from different sources such as Bovington Tank Museum. We have been interviewing people about their family memories and have visited our partner Museums, reading and selecting poems and snippets of  diaries written by soldiers that trained in Dorset to be part of the Dorset and Devonshire Regiments or the newly formed Tank corps.
A WW1 soldier drawn by Sara Biggs

The Military Keep Museum Archive collect and store items, letters, poems and records by Dorset soldiers. Collin Parr, the currator at the Museum provided us with this poignant poem written by a young Soldier serving with the  9th Battalion the Devonshire Regiment:

'I, that on my familiar hill
Saw with uncomprehending eyes
A hundred of thy sunset spill
Their flesh and sanguine sacrifice,
Ere the sun swings his noonday sword 
Must say good-bye to all of this; -
By all delights that I shall miss,
Help me to die, O Lord '

This poem was written by Lieutenant Noel Hodgson, MC aged 23.  He was on the battlefield in June 1916 preparing for the Battle of the Somme. It was believed that Noel wrote this poem 'Before Action' on 29th June, sadly he was killed in action on the 1st July 1916.Noel was responsible for keeping the men, his fellow soldiers, supplied with grenades during the attack- this would be especially important if they got into the German positions. Within an hour of the attack it is said that Lieutenant Hodgson was killed. He was aged only 23 and he would never get to see the sunset again.

After the devastation of this battle the British Army went back and developed their secret weapon, the tank. We learned more about this when we went to the Bovington Tank Museum the next day.....

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