War Is Over for mu­ni­tions base

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - NEWS -

A new ex­hi­bi­tion opens at the Devil’s Por­ridge Mu­seum in Eas­triggs this week­end to com­mem­o­rate 100 years since the Ar­mistice.

The War is Over uses a lot of orig­i­nal ma­te­rial from the First World War and has in­volved lots of re­search by the cus­to­di­ans of the mu­seum ded­i­cated to the cordite fac­tory which helped win the war.

Mu­seum man­ager Ju­dith He­witt said:“It tells the fas­ci­nat­ing story of Ar­mistice Day at HM Fac­tory Gretna, the thoughts of the work­force and the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of the peace. Our new

dis­plays ex­plore the Ar­mistice and its af­ter­math both lo­cally and na­tion­ally.

“On November 11th 1918, the guns fell silent and the First World War came to an end. Hav­ing com­pleted their huge task of na­tional im­por­tance, the mu­ni­tion work­ers at HM Fac­tory Gretna downed tools and cel­e­brated.

“A brass band pa­raded through Gretna and Eas­triggs, the fore­man gave a rous­ing speech and the mu­ni­tions girls de­manded a dance which 400 peo­ple at­tended. Bunt­ing was ev­ery­where ... the war was over.”

Ju­dith said November 11, 1918, was “a won­der­ful day” but in the weeks and months to come that ela­tion turned to “doubt and worry”as the fu­ture of the big­gest mu­ni­tions fac­tory in the world re­mained un­clear.

In December, 1918, an es­ti­mated 4,000 to 5,000 peo­ple were made un­em­ployed. The fac­tory work­ers had come from all cor­ners of the earth to achieve vic­tory for Bri­tain and would scat­ter again.

Ju­dith said: “We have some won­der­ful ob­jects from the pe­riod in­clud­ing a medal for peace cre­ated in Carlisle and news­pa­pers which were printed on November 11, 1918.

“This ex­hi­bi­tion of­fers a snap­shot of lo­cal life 100 years ago.”

Mu­seum trust chair­man Richard Brodie said: “The ex­hi­bi­tion is a tribute to the peo­ple who lived and worked in Gretna and Eas­triggs and turned the tide of the war in Bri­tain’s favour.

“Although most were here for less than three years, their ex­pe­ri­ences would fig­ure large in their mem­ory for the rest of their lives.

“Be­fore they left, they recorded their trib­utes in two fas­ci­nat­ing sou­venir mag­a­zines and wrote their notes of friend­ship in au­to­graph books.

“Copies of th­ese fas­ci­nat­ing doc­u­ments can be seen by vis­i­tors.”

Mem­o­ries Mu­seum man­ager Ju­dith He­witt be­side some of the War Is Over ex­hi­bi­tion

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