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Exhibition tells Waltham Forest’s First World War stories

A new exhibition at Walthamstow’s Vestry House Museum explores the impact of the First World War on the people of Chingford, Walthamstow, Leyton and Leytonstone.

Raids, Rationing and Riots: Waltham Forest and the Great War draws on the personal experiences of those who lived in the borough, telling their stories through personal possessions, mementoes and official documents from the Museum’s collection.

Local people featured in the exhibition include:

  • Jack Cornwell, a teenager from Leyton, who died of wounds sustained at the Battle of Jutland and was awarded the Victoria Cross (then the youngest recipient)

  • the players and officials from Clapton Orient, who joined the “Footballer’s Battalion”

  • the pilots who trained at Chingford Aerodrome, who were known as the “Chingfliers”

  • the nurses at Whipps Cross hospital who looked after injured men brought back from the front line.

Visitors to the exhibition, which is on until 1 March, 2015, will also find out about Zeppelin raids over Walthamstow, anti-German riots in Leyton and the impact of rationing of local families.

The Museum hopes that the exhibition will encourage more local people to come forward with information and stories about their ancestors who lived through the Great War.

Chris Robbins, Leader of Waltham Forest Council, which owns and runs Vestry House Museum, said: "This important exhibition is a fitting tribute to the local people who lived, fought and died in this terrible conflict.

"The events of a hundred years ago can seem remote, but these incredible stories of courage and ingenuity really help us to connect with the past, imagine how we might have coped in such circumstances and, for some, shed new light on their own family history."

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