From Fells to Flanders: The Lake District's role in WW1

An exhibition exploring the Lake District's role in World War One has opened.

From Fells to Flanders, at the Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry in Kendal, looks at how local communities contributed to the war effort and the impact the fighting had at home.

Organised in collaboration with the Imperial War Museum, it features photographs, letters and heirlooms.

A number of images of the Wilson family have been digitised for inclusion.

Image copyright Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry

One features Harry Wilson, of Kendal, sitting in a Maurice-Yarman Shorthorn biplane at Northolt Aerodrome in north London.

Mr Wilson's sister, Marjorie, was also involved in the war effort and can be seen (bottom left) in this photograph of Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) Nurses.

Image copyright Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry

With damp, cold battlefield conditions leading to trench foot, Kendal firm K Shoes turned over much of its wartime production to manufacturing waterproof boots for soldiers - and its slogan proudly declared "K Boots Hold the Field".

Image copyright K Shoes Heritage Centre

It was not just shoe-making expertise that was utilised - boatmen from nearby Windermere used their sail-making skills to craft hessian sandbags.

By June 1915, about 1,600 were made to War Office regulations at a cost of 4d per bag.

The workers even coined a poem: "We all are sewing bags for sand, To send out to that stricken land, Where our brave fighters at the Front, So fearlessly now bear the brunt".

Image copyright Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry

Also among the exhibits is this poem, entitled The Thin Red Line.

Signed by an individual known only as LBA, it calls on men to do what needs to be done rather than sitting complacently behind the lines.

Image copyright Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry

James Arnold, assistant curator of social history with Lakeland Arts, said: "Many people wouldn't think of the Lake District in connection with the First World War, but the objects that are in people's possession and in our collection provide a poignant insight into the important role it played."

From Fells to Flanders is on display at the Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry in Kendal until 20 December.

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