Thank you to

everyone who came to our recent WWI

exhibition. As always, we had many interesting comments and conversations, adding to our stock of information.

As a continuation of that theme, Stuart Eastwood of the Cumbria Museum of Military Life in Carlisle, will give his illustrated talk at the Kirkgate Centre on ‘The Military Impact on, and the Home Front in Cumbria during World War I’ on Wednesday 3rd October at 7.30pm. Stuart is an enthusiastic speaker and this promises to be an interesting evening, when he will talk about the Border Regiment and other local units, recruiting, training, manpower and also the wider impact of what became a national war effort, war production by local firms, munitions (including Gretna), agriculture, transport and public support. Also, on Friday 5th October, the play ‘Our Frances’ will be performed at the Kirkgate. It celebrates the life of Frances Cuett, who served for four years during WWI as a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurse and describes the horrors and humour, that she encountered. Cockermouth of course, had its own VAD nurses, based at Cockermouth Castle, so it will be interesting to relate the experiences of Frances Cuett to those of the VAD nurses based in the town.

WWI commemorations will culminate in the Armistice weekend in November when we will be pulling together a display that draws from the four WWI exhibitions we have so far produced. During that weekend, we also plan to show the excellent short film produced by a group of young people from Wigton who explored the effects of the war on everyday life. The film, ‘Footprints of Our Fathers’, lasts for around 30 minutes and will be shown in the Kirkgate Centre theatre, with free admission. Look out for details of timings – there will be two showings each day on November 10th and 11th. Other events at the Kirkgate Centre that weekend will include a WWI-themed film on the Friday evening and a show on Saturday evening – ‘No Petticoats Here’, which centres around women’s fight for

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As was apparent from scanning copies of the wartime West Cumberland Times, many men were wounded during the war, some several times and many suffered from shell shock, deeply traumatised by what they had experienced in the trenches. Some of those men lived for many years after returning home, some succumbed to the Spanish Flu pandemic and others died within a short time of returning home. Many lived with health problems made worse by their wartime experiences. Take the example of Ernie Studholme, who had worked as a tailor at Drummond’s on Station Street. He was injured by a gas attack during the war, which did lasting damage to his lungs. He lived into his ’70s, but that damage was the eventual cause of his death. It’s important that the suffering of these men too is remembered, even though they eventually came back home to Cockermouth. If you have any stories or information about relatives from WWI, then we would really like to speak to you very soon to add this to our archives.

Gloria Edwards

As always, please get in touch: Telephone: 01900 823966


Afternoon Tea £18 per person

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