Stories of soldiers from Stevenage who gave their lives in the world wars told at new exhibition at town’s museum

PUBLISHED: 11:27 08 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:56 08 November 2017

George Freeman who died for his country in the First World War pictured here with his family. Picture: Stevenage Museum.

George Freeman who died for his country in the First World War pictured here with his family. Picture: Stevenage Museum.

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Some of the soldiers from Stevenage who gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars and have their names etched into Stevenage’s war memorial are the subject of a new exhibition at Stevenage Museum.

Some of the soldiers from Stevenage who gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars and have their names etched into Stevenage’s war memorial are the subject of a new exhibition at Stevenage Museum.

World War, World Stories – which opens today – explores the experiences of people sent from the town to fight all over the world, along with those men and women who arrived in the area amid the upheaval of war.

One soldier featured is George Freeman, who fought and died in the Third Battle of Gaza, 100 years ago this month. His story is told through photographs and a letter George sent home to his young son Jackie, who kept it until his own death decades later. For many children, growing up without a father was the price they paid for victory.

During the war, Stevenage became home to the New Zealand Reserve Signal Depot. Before they were deployed, New Zealand troops were involved in every aspect of Stevenage life, including putting on shows, and created life-long friendships. Belgian refugees also arrived in Stevenage, and many were housed in Mission Room cottage in Fishers Green.

Councillor Richard Henry, executive member for children, young people and leisure, said: “This exhibition brings to life the stories of servicemen and women who travelled abroad for the war, sometimes for the first time in their life, and the people from other cultures who arrived in Stevenage.

“This Remembrance Day, a century on from the Great War, it is important to look back and understand their lives and the sacrifices they made.”

The exhibition also features men from the King’s African Rifles who fought on the Western Front, and their stories are explored in a talk at the museum on Friday.

You can find out more about this and other events on Stevenage Museum’s Facebook page at facebook.com/stevenagemuseum.

The exhibition runs until December 2.

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