‘Peace at Last 1918: Joy and Sorrow’
Our new display looks at the different lives which awaited people at the end of World War I and is part of the ‘Cuckfield Remembers 1918-2018’ commemoration this autumn.
From the joy of families welcoming their returning men: we have the Welcome Home dinner menu featuring every type of roast meat and Christmas puddings, and this was in April! To the comrades’ fishing outing, all dressed up for the occasion.
This contrasted with the life of the newly widowed May Botting who needed to support herself financially and worked with her mother, Mrs Wells, and a circle of Cuckfield women making gloves. And the life of Alphaeus Arnold, blinded while fighting in France, and one of the first men to be admitted to St Dunstan’s, the charity which supported those with visual injuries. We have his braille watch with no glass so the face is read by touch.
And we have discovered a surprising Russian connection in Cuckfield with two families involved in events surrounding the Russian Revolution of 1917: Diana Giles’ grandfather, James O’Grady, was Chairman of the National Federation of Trades Unions and a Labour MP. He went to Petrograd after the overthrow of the Czar in March 1917 to persuade the moderate Revolutionary government to remain in the War.
Neville Blunden’s father, Joseph, falsified his age and was sent at the age of 17 to Russia during the Civil War which followed the Revolution of October 1917. He was supplying the White Russian cause as part of the Army Service Corps and was awarded a medal bearing the Czar’s head.
Barbara Rogers and Sue Parsons (see photo) visited the Museum recently to see the poster which will be displayed outside Durnford House, Whitemans Green as part of our Cuckfield Remembers Memorial Walk, marking the house where their grandfather, Albert Keep, lived.
Albert was killed in 1916 and is one of the Cuckfield men we will be remembering on the Walk between Oct 29th and Nov 18th. Walk maps included in the ‘Cuckfield Remembers 1918-2018’ Memorial Programme available at The White Harte, Cuckfield Bathrooms, Marcus Grimes, Cuckfield iWear, The Rose & Crown and here.
If you are interested in this or any other Cuckfield topics, why not visit us in the museum. Click here to see our opening hours.