Pupils launch Remembrance project to honour Gainsborough war heroes
A Remembrance project has been launched at a school to honour every man and woman from Gainsborough who gave their life in the Great War.
Pupils at the Trent Valley Academy are working with more than 300 photographs of soldiers killed in the conflict.
Now, head of history and First World War specialist, Peter Bradshaw and his pupils, will use the information to mount an exhibition.
The display will be at the new heritage centre in the Old Post office at the junction of Spital Terrace and North Street.
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It will be the precursor to a larger exhibition being organised for 2014 to mark the 100-year anniversary of the breakout of hostilities between Britain and Germany in 1914.
Mr Bradshaw – who led a team of students to Gainsborough General Cemetery to lay crosses on the graves of the fallen last week – used the Remembrance period to raise awareness among his pupils.
He encouraged children to bring in photos of relatives lost in the first war to add to archived images from wartime editions of local newspapers at the town's library in Cobden Street.
"I've already produced a booklet with all the photos we have so far," said Mr Bradshaw.
"Our aim is to try to gather as much information about local soldiers as possible in advance of the 100th anniversary in 1914. Most were killed in action on the battlefield, others died of their wounds days, weeks or months later.
"This project is aimed at collecting together as much information as possible about Gainsborough area servicemen who served in the war.
"We also hope to find out more information about local women who served in roles such as munitions workers in local factories and as nurses.
"For example, Grace Broadberry (later Banwell) served as a Red Cross nurse and after a perilous journey just managed to escape from Belgium after it was invaded.
"Nurse Nellie Williamson was mentioned in dispatches – and they both survived the war."
The school is working with Gainsborough and District Heritage Association chairman Susan Edlington.
"Currently, we have approximately 340 photographs of the 500-plus local servicemen who gave their lives during the First World War," she said.
"With the help of the Gainsborough community we hope to add to the collection.
"By the time we reach the anniversary of the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War in August 2014 we hope to have amassed a large collection of information to enable an exhibition to be mounted.
"The intention is that 'We will remember them."