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Exhibition opens on centenary of Battle of the Somme

Published on Thursday, June 30, 2016

A NEW exhibition that focuses on the Leicestershire Regiment’s experiences in the First World War opens at Leicester’s Newarke Houses Museum on Friday (1 July) – 100 years to the day since the beginning of the Battle of the Somme. 

‘At The Front: 1915-1918’ will use photographs, drawings, diary entries, personal belongings and correspondence to show how soldiers at the front kept in touch with their loved ones at home – and what the conditions were like for those fighting on the Western Front and in the Middle East.

The exhibition begins with the second year of the war, a time of major battles and huge losses, with a particular focus on the Battle of the Somme. This is explored in two specially made films which look at the role of the Leicestershire Regiment in this momentous battle.

“The Battle of Somme – the 140-day battle that defined the horror and futility of the First World War – claimed the lives of 1,947 members of the Leicestershire Regiment,” said Curator of Leicester History Philip French. 

“This exhibition, and a supporting programme of events, aims to give a better understanding of the terrible conditions that these men endured – and to give us all an opportunity to think about those who made the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefield.”

On Sunday (3 July), local Blue Badge guide Robert Gregory will give an illustrated talk entitled ‘Leicestershire and the Somme, 1916’. The free talk at Newarke Houses Museum starts at 2pm and pre-booking is advised. Places can be booked by calling 0116 225 4980

‘At The Front’ opens on Friday, 1 July, and continues until 19 February 2017.

The exhibition is part of ‘Leicester Remembers the Great War’ – a series of events commemorating the centenary of the First World War.

It follows a 2014 exhibition which looked at the first year of the war. The final exhibition in the series, which commemorates the end of the war and its consequences for Leicester, will open in autumn 2018.

More information about First World War commemorative events is available at

Leicester City Council is grateful for the support of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment and regimental historian Richard Lane, Inspired Films, the Records Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland, and the curatorial, design and support staff at Leicester Museums.