War stories will be retold at The Deepings Remembers 1914-1918

William Bennett, from Deeping St James, who shoed horses in France during the First World War. EMN-141029-174331001
William Bennett, from Deeping St James, who shoed horses in France during the First World War. EMN-141029-174331001

Those who fought and gave their lives for their country will be remembered at an exhibition thanks to months of research.

The Deepings Remembers 1914-1918 will be held at Deepings Community Centre in Market Deeping on November 8 and 9.

Researchers from the Deepings looked at newspapers, census information and archives, while tracking down any relatives of Deepings men and women who served in the war. They made a roll of honour and poster gallery with more than 50 stories and dossiers for more than 350 people.

Other displays include the home front, recreating a typical room-setting of 100 years ago; a recruiting room, with an army sergeant to persuade visitors to “join the Colours”; memorabilia and artefacts kindly lent by residents; and a roomful of First World War models made and displayed by the Spalding and Fenland Model Club.

Children from several of the Deepings schools will visit on Friday next week. And on Saturday a high tea for civic members and descendents of those in the exhibition will be followed by a concert of rememberance at the Priory Church in Deeping St James at 7.30pm.

Among the stories researchers discovered is that of Deeping St James blacksmith William Bennett.

Judy Stevens, of the Deepings First World War Commemoration Group, said: “His family had been blacksmiths in the village since at least the sixteenth century. He lived close to the gate of the Priory Church where he had his forge and it was from here that he left for France at the outbreak of the war.

“He helped to shoe the thousands of horses who had been taken across the Channel as part of the war effort, as retold in the story War Horse by Michael Morpurgo. Of a million horses sent to war only 62,00 returned.

“When William returned home, he resumed work in his village forge and Deeping St James resident Nancy Titman recalls watching Mr Bennett coaxing and soothing the horses being shod to the age old sounds of the smithy.”

Funding for the free exhibition has come from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Market Deeping and Deeping St James town and parish councils and The Boundary fish and chip shop.