World War soldiers to be remembered

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Local history . . . South Canterbury Museum social history curator Chris Rapley is looking forward to opening the museum's new exhibit Hell Let Loose about the Western Front in World War I this weekend. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

South Canterbury residents who went to the Western Front will be remembered in a new exhibition opening this weekend.

“Hell Let Loose”, which opens at the South Canterbury Museum on Saturday, would display items from World War 1, as well as tell the stories of seven South Canterbury men who went to war, social history curator Chris Rapley said.

In addition to the text displays, he was also creating a mock dugout strategy headquarters, which would have a projector displaying visuals of the various battles that had been fought on the Western Front.

“You can tell people about it .. but it’s even better to show people.”

The exhibition focused on New Zealand’s time on the Western Front during 1916-17, Mr Rapley said.

This included the battles of the Somme and Passchendaele, the latter of which cost 800 men their lives in one morning.

The exhibit had been timed to be tied in with the centenary of Passchendaele on October 12 and would include a show in the exhibition space on the evenings of October 11-13, Mr Rapley said.

As well as the display of war memorabilia and information about the battles, touch screens around the exhibition would allow visitors to follow one of seven South Canterbury men through their experiences of war – whether they made it home or not.

“That’s been really interesting,” he said of the men’s stories.

Mr Rapley thanked South Canterbury collector Malcolm Brady, who had donated several items to the exhibition, including a webbing vest which the soldiers would have worn on the battlefield.

“Hell Let Loose” opens at South Canterbury Museum on Saturday and runs until February.