Centenary of conflict marked with special exhibition in Beccles

Zane Blanchard with the exhibition that he has created on the Battle of the Somme. PHOTO: Nick Butch

Zane Blanchard with the exhibition that he has created on the Battle of the Somme. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

“Somme. The whole history of the world cannot contain a more ghastly word.”

One of the photos from the display.

One of the photos from the display. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Thus, did German officer Friedrich Steinbrecher describe the slaughter he saw on the Somme.

Now, its story is displayed as part of a new exhibition at Beccles and District Museum to commemorate the battle.

It has been organised to mark this year’s centenary of the clash, which began on July 1, 1916.

The exhibition features artefacts from the battlefield and accounts of events and photographs of the men who fought.

One of the photos from the display.

One of the photos from the display. - Credit: Nick Butcher


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It also exhibits details of the 31 Beccles men who lost their life in the devastating battle, which lasted until November 18, 1916.

Zane Blanchard, exhibition curator, said: “One hundred years is a long time to forget – we have our own problems with conflicts all over the world. However, we must not forget.”

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Alongside shells, helmets and other artefacts sit photographs of dozens upon dozens of faces – British, French and German.

Mr Blanchard added: “I would like people to see the human beings who were involved in this terrible battle.

“These were ordinary people, from places like Beccles, some of whom were destroyed by war.”

Mr Blanchard worked alongside museum curator Robert Bacon, volunteer Sue Cain and memorabilia collectors Mike Atkins and Will Mitchell to bring the exhibition to life.

The display lasts until July 31 at the museum in Ballygate.

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