‘It was an honour to put together this exhibition’

Margaret Daniels, Coun Terry Rogers and Glen Simpson with First World War displays at Fleetwood's Marine Hall.
Margaret Daniels, Coun Terry Rogers and Glen Simpson with First World War displays at Fleetwood's Marine Hall.

With the First World War very much in the news this week, Fleetwood’s Marine Hall is playing host to a varied exhibition which will run until the end of the month.

The displays have been coordinated by Margaret Daniels, chairman of Fleetwood Civic Society.

Artefacts on show include photographs of serving soldiers, newspaper articles from the time and a collection of genuine artillery found on the actual battlefields.

The opening hours to the public are Monday to Friday, 10.30am to 4.30pm and Saturday and Sunday, 10.30am to 1pm and 1.30pm to 4.30pm. The times may be subject to alteration.

Officially opening the exhibition was Wyre’s Armed Forces Veterans Champion, and Fleetwood Town Council chairman, Terry Rogers.

Coun Rogers, a Fleetwood man who is also an ex-serviceman, said: “It was an honour and privilege for me to open this exhibition.

“I would ask as many people as possible to come and visit.

“It is extremely informative, with a particular relevance to Fleetwood, and a reminder of the lives lost and many sacrifices so many local people gave during the four years of terrible conflict that started 100 years ago.

“I would like to thank the Fleetwood Civic Society for organising this exhibition and all the people who have contributed to it.”

Fleetwood man Glen Simpson, 50, is among those who have contributed to the display.

Fire safety officer Glen, of Rossall Grange Lane, is something of a historian when it comes to the First World War, and he is particularly interested in the part Fleetwood and Fylde coast soldiers played in the conflict.

Over the years he has collected spent shells, German and British shrapnel and bullets from the battlefield at Ypres, Belgium, and even a small section of the horrific barbed wire which snared many hapless victims while bullets and shells rained down.

He also has a German First World War helmet and various other artefacts.

He hopes to pop into the Marine Hall on a number of occasions to tell the tragic and terrible stories behind the items he has put on display.

Glen said: “So many British lives were lost just trying to make small gains on the battle fronts in Belgium.

“Shrapnel would be coming down like rain, constantly, and you also had mustard gas attacks to deal with. It was a war of attrition, and these ordinary men were heroes.”

Glen is even writing a book about Fleetwood men in the war, called They Were Pals, and hopes to complete it by later this year.

He has also visited the British war graves at Belgium and has taken photos of the graves of Fleetwood men Private Seth Bond (died aged 26), Lance Corporal Harry Blair (29) and Private Geoff Hayes (19) of Thornton. Any descendents or relatives can phone him on (01253) 778083.

Other people who have provided displays and exhibits include: Lucy London, Rossall School Deputy Head, Mr Anton Maree, The Bereavement Services Team at Wyre Borough,Fleetwood Civic Society, and Councillor 
Terry Rogers.