Images of war

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - COUNTRYSIDE - Sharon Lip­trott

A poignant free ex­hi­bi­tion look­ing at the First World War through pho­to­graphs and let­ters with an An­nan link will open to the pub­lic in the town’s mu­seum to­mor­row.

A film, nar­rated by young cadets from An­nan, war vet­er­ans and lo­cal vol­un­teers, has been spe­cially com­mis­sioned for the ex­hi­bi­tion, telling brief sto­ries of the lives of sol­diers whose por­traits are in the mu­seum’s col­lec­tion.

Mu­seum vis­i­tors will also see let­ters sent home by three An­nan sol­diers of their ex­pe­ri­ences in the trenches.

Part of the cen­te­nary com­mem­o­ra­tion for the Great War, the ex­hi­bi­tion, Records of War: Pho­tog­ra­phy and Let­ters from World War One, asks why peo­ple at the time chose to take the images and write the let­ters they did. And it en­cour­ages vis­i­tors to think about how both will be per­ceived in an­other 100 years time.

Among the ex­hibits are per­sonal snap­shots along with of­fi­cial press pho­to­graphs col­lected by An­nan pho­tog­ra­pher Fred­er­ick Gibbs dur­ing his time as a sap­per on the Western Front, in­clud­ing a dis­play of cam­eras and picture news­pa­pers of the day.

Rene An­der­son has loaned a se­lec­tion of images from an ar­chive by Cap­tain Charles Beat­tie An­der­son of his light-hearted snap­shots and, tourist-type pho­to­graphs of the places passed through as a sol­dier, a record of cel­e­brat­ing the armistice, and then the melan­choly images of his re­turn to the Somme in 1923.

Also never be­fore ex­hib­ited are images which were pasted into nurse Net­tie Ni­chol­son’s pho­to­graph al­bum. Th­ese are a record of her time work­ing at Kin­mount and Glen Stu­art houses which were aux­il­iary hos­pi­tals dur­ing World War One.

The pho­to­graphs are a unique record of daily life there: mo­ments of leisure such as fancy dress and snow­balling, to the re­al­i­ties of war, with sol­diers on crutches and arms in slings.

There will also be an op­por­tu­nity for vis­i­tors to share fam­ily sto­ries or to con­tact mu­seum staff if they have pho­to­graphs, let­ters or ob­jects to loan.

Drop in ac­tiv­i­ties for fam­i­lies, a schools project and an out­reach pro­gramme are all planned up un­til Oc­to­ber 31, with the mu­seum open 11am to 4pm Mon­day to Satur­day.

A talk on sol­dier pho­tog­ra­phy by an ex­pert from the Im­pe­rial War Mu­seum in Lon­don will be held in An­nan on Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 26, at 6.30pm.

Pro­vid­ing care Nurse Net­tie Ni­chol­son worked at Kin­mount, be­low left, and Glen Stu­art houses, above, which were aux­il­iary hos­pi­tals dur­ing World War One.

On the beach Cap­tain Charles Beat­tie An­der­son’s snap of a bathing group on the Al­ba­nian coast dur­ing World War One

Trench war­fare Bri­tish sol­diers with Ger­man POWs. The photo was taken by An­nan’s Fred­er­ick Gibbs

Tak­ing a break A sol­dier ap­pears to be writ­ing a jour­nal

Aux­il­iary hos­pi­tal Kin­mount House near An­nan

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