Relatives play their part in First World War exhibition

2nd Lieutenant Kaz Raffell, of the Corunna Band and Bugles, with her son Lee Ruffell, eight, in First World War uniform at the exhibition

2nd Lieutenant Kaz Raffell, of the Corunna Band and Bugles, with her son Lee Ruffell, eight, in First World War uniform at the exhibition Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Rose Hill, Iffley and Littlemore. Please call me on (01865) 425422

OXFORDSHIRE’S First World War past came to life on Saturday when relatives of soldiers remembered their sacrifice at the official opening of the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum (SOFO).

The museum, in Park Street, Woodstock, which cost £3.5m and has been more than a decade in the planning, opens its Great War exhibition today, featuring the stories of soldiers and civilians from across Oxfordshire.

Oxfordshire Remembers is the culmination of months of work by dozens of volunteers trawling through thousands of artefacts in the SOFO collection.

Funded by an £80,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant, it tells Oxfordshire’s story of the Great War on 12 display boards exploring different units, men and themes.

Relatives joined with actors and musicians to officially open the museum and tell of the bravery of their family members who served.

Oxford Mail:

  • Mary Bateman, 88, with Rob Langham, 26, part of living history actors, in front of a photo of her and her father Cpl Henry Timms, who was in the Oxfordshire Yeomanry

Mary Bateman, 88, of Kidlington, is featured in the exhibit holding a photo of her father, Corporal Henry Timms, who served with the Oxfordshire Yeomanry, also known as the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars, a Territorial Army cavalry regiment which lost 125 soldiers between 1914-18.

Cpl Timms signed up as soon as war broke out.

He served in France from November 1914 until the end of the war in November 1918.

Mrs Bateman said: “The exhibition was very impressive and I was rather pleased I went.

“My father was a farmhand at Launton before the war broke out.

“When he came out of the Army he was a groom in Sussex before coming back up to Oxford to work for the railway. He never, ever spoke about the war. That was quite common among men who had served.”

The exhibition focuses on soldiers who served in the Oxfordshire Yeomanry and the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as well as the lives of people on the home front as Oxfordshire dealt with the dramatic impact the war had on daily life.

Oxford Mail:

  • Col Tim May, pictured with a photo of his uncle, 2nd Lieutenant Eric May, of the Royal Field Artillery

Personal possessions, many of which have never been displayed in public before, are being exhibited alongside the photos.

Colonel Tim May, who served with the Oxfordshire Yeomanry and is now vice chairman of the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, is featured in the exhibit holding a photo of his uncle, Second Lieutenant Eric May, from Cumnor, who served in the Royal Field Artillery.

Two of 2nd Lt May’s brothers, Robert and Edwin, also served in the Army and his sister Dorothy was a nurse. Remarkably all four survived the war.

Col May said: “I think it was very successful and I hope it draws people’s attention to the war and makes them want to know more about it.” 2nd Lt May was posted to France in 1916 and served there until the end of the war.

He won the Military Cross for signalling to artillery colleagues from the top of a building in the face of direct fire from the enemy.

After the war he returned briefly to England before emigrating to New Zealand, where he died in 1977, aged 78.

The exhibition runs until August 31, 2015. Visit sofo.org.uk 

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed

Our top stories

Live blog: Body found in hunt for Jed Allen following murder of family in Didcot

Oxford Mail:

8:11am Sunday 24th May 2015

Follow our Live and unrivalled coverage of the murder investigation in Didcot, updated throughout today

Man wanted after Didcot murders works for town council

Oxford Mail:

8:42am Monday 25th May 2015

THE MAN suspected of killing Philip Howard, Janet Jordon and Derin Jordon is employed as an apprentice gardener for Didcot Town Council.

Didcot murders: Smiling face of teenager with the sister he is suspected of killing

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 25th May 2015

CRADLING his baby sister Derin, this is a teenage Jed Allen, the man suspected of killing her and their mother in a house in Didcot.

Didcot murders: More than 100 police officers hunt suspect in three killings

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 25th May 2015

TRIPLE murder suspect Jed Allen was still being sought by police today in an operation involving more than 100 officers.

Good cheer as charity charioteers hit streets

Oxford Mail:

5:00pm Monday 25th May 2015

HUNDREDS of villagers turned out to cheer on those taking part in the annual Bampton Shirt Race.

New recreation ground finally open for play time

Oxford Mail:

5:00pm Monday 25th May 2015

AFTER more than two years in the planning, a former Second World War airfield in Oxford has been turned into a recreational paradise.

 

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree