A moving First World War exhibition

An interactive First World War exhibition telling the stories behind the names on the Rolls of Honour in several Warwickshire villages is being staged at Newbold Pacey church this weekend.

The exhibition, based on intensive research by Michael Dane and Tony Whiteley from Wellesbourne as part of a project by the University of the Third Age, mentions all the participants from Moreton Morrell, Ashorne and Newbold Pacey, their lives before they joined up, where they lived and worked and their fate in the Great War. It also features a variety of wartime photos and memorabilia and what the villages looked like at that period.

Krys Pietrecki from Ashorne, who is one of the exhibition’s organisers, is the great-niece of the Court brothers who all served in the war and she still feels a close connection with many of the villagers caught up in the carnage of the war.

She said: “I still remember when I was a little girl in the late 1950s my great-uncle Frederick Court lifting me up onto the big cart horses from the farm,

“Seven of my relatives including the Court brothers fought in the Great War and my grandfather was brought home to England on a water bed after his pelvis was crushed when he was run over by a gun carriage.

“We are hoping lots of people will come to the exhibition and add their own stories and memories as this is a real community effort and certainly doesn’t end this weekend.

“It will carry on and as the stories grow they will be added to the archive.”

One young officer commemorated in Newbold Pacey church and killed within the months of going to war was Howard Avenel Bligh St George – known as ‘Ave’ - from Ashorne Hill House.

He was a dashing Old Etonian Life Guards officer and sportsman whose entire family waited nervously for news of him when his brigade reached Belgium in early October 1914.

The Court brothers survived but of the three, Bob was so badly shell-shocked and traumatised by his experiences that the rest of his life was blighted.

The exhibition runs from 10.30am to 4.30pm tomorrow (Saturday) and from noon to 5pm on Sunday.

Newbold Pacey church is holding a service of commemoration on Sunday at 10.30am when the Roll of Honour of those who fell from all four parishes will be read.