Family's memories of First World War to form part of major exhibition in Middlesbrough (From The Northern Echo)
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Family's memories of First World War to form part of major exhibition in Middlesbrough
THE story of a family going to war and their smuggled pet dog will form part of a new exhibition planned to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War.
The six Wallace brothers and their brother-in-law all enlisted together in the Royal Artillery at the outbreak of the war in 1914 along with friends and neighbours from Middlesbrough.
The First World War is remembered for its Pals battalions, where men were enlisted together in local recruitment drives to serve alongside their friends, neighbours and work colleagues.
However, the problem with Pals battalions were that individual towns, neighbourhoods and communities suffered disproportionate losses.
Imagine this family’s mixed emotions when Henry, the eldest brother, who worked as a bricklayer before the outbreak of war, Charlie and David Wallace, brother-in-law John Carter, and the further three brothers Andrew, Robert and James all joined up together.
Before the outbreak of the War the family lived in Middlesbrough's Croft Street and James’ memorabilia will be used in the exhibition at the town’s Dorman Museum.
There were seven adults and two children sharing a five-roomed house. Andrew and James worked as ironworkers and Charlie and Robert were Butchers assistants.
They also smuggled the family dog, Rab, around France and Britain living the same hard life as his masters, including the trenches on the front line. The brothers and brother-in-law served the full four years, and Rab travelled with them wherever they went.
Senior curator Phil Philo said: “Not only did these brothers and brother in law enlist together, but they also took along with them an important family member, their pet dog, Rab. Pets and mascots became common with the men on the western front.
“Although they were not supposed to be there, it is easy to imagine pets such as Rab providing a positive effect on morale putting a smile on the faces of the soldiers and giving a welcome distraction and relief from the stress of warfare.”
Fortunately, all the family, including Rab, returned home to Middlesbrough to tell their story.
Middlesbrough Museums Service, working with Middlesbrough Libraries and Teesside Archives, will be staging a First World War Commemoration Appeal Event on Saturday, November 16 at Middlesbrough Central Library, to encourage people to share their Great War information and material with them for a major exhibition in late 2014.
For further information contact Senior Curator Phil Philo on 01642-358101 or email email@example.com
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