An exhibition commemorating the momentous events of the summer of 1916 opens in Keighley Local Studies Library on Saturday July 2nd, 2016.
The opening event on 2nd July will feature a talk: ‘Somme 100; Keighley’s Men’ by Andy Wade the ‘Men of Worth’ project at 11am – 12noon.
This will be followed by a special showing of the film ‘The Battle of the Somme’ the pioneering documentary that was seen by huge audiences in the UK when it was released in August 1916.
The exhibition has been prepared by local military historians. It will run over the summer and will focus on stories of Keighley men and women at home and abroad..
The exhibition by the ‘Men of Worth’ project will focus on Keighley men who served.
The Men of Worth project exists to commemorate the men and women of Keighley and the Worth Valley who served our country in times of war. The project creates biographical information about these individuals which goes into an archive that is accessible via: www.menofworth.org.uk.
The exhibition by Chris Mace will look at the opening of Keighley’s war hospital.
“Prepare to Receive Convoy“: The Opening of Keighley War Hospital and the evacuation of the wounded from the Battle of the Somme, July 1916.
Chris Mace, Military Historian
Within two weeks of the opening of the Somme offensive on July 1st, 1916, the military authorities accepted the newly-converted Fever Hospital at Morton Banks, Keighley, Yorkshire, for immediate use as a military hospital. In a matter of days the wounded began to arrive by ambulance train.
Part of the exhibition starting in Keighley Library on 2nd July looks at the chain of evacuation by which the casualties were brought back to the new hospital from the battlefield. In particular it will consider the experiences of five wounded comrades of Kitchener’s ‘New Army’.
The Church Lads’ Brigade Battalion (16th (Service) King’s Royal Rifle Corps) was typical of the “Pals” battalions which made up much of Kitchener’s volunteer army. The battalion formed part of the 33rd Division which attacked High Wood on July 15th, 1916. The wounded men were amongst 120 “stretcher cases”, many of whom were from the same attack, which arrived in Keighley by the first ambulance train in the early hours of July 21st, 1916.
The study will also look at the local ambulance volunteers who when ordered to “Prepare to Receive Convoy” turned out in all weathers and at all hours to detrain the wounded and remove them promptly to the town’s hospitals.