WW1 exhibition presented with painted metal plates from the Front line.
WW1 exhibition presented with painted metal plates from the Front line.

WW1 exhibition presented with painted metal plates from the Front line.

The evocative and moving WW1 exhibition at The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle has been presented with some beautifully hand decorated metal plates that were with serving soldiers on the Front Line.


The plates commemorate two soldiers from the town, brothers George and Stanley Croft, who took part in the conflict.


They were loaned to the ‘To Serve King and Country’ exhibition by Stanley’s grandson David Travis.


“These decorative plates were made from photographs pasted onto the metal and then surrounded with a painted background to cover the whole front.  They used to hang on the walls of my Grandad’s shed on Victoria Road in town.


“Great Uncle George died on the battlefield but my Grandad came home, these are the actual plates that soldiers ate from on the front but we don’t know who painted them.


“I think the whole exhibition is an excellent tribute to the people of Teesdale who took part in the war and I’ve found out things about my family I didn’t know by visiting it.


“For instance, I have also loaned the Museum a Hood uniform badge that belonged to my Great Uncle Walter who was in the Navy, but it wasn’t until I visited the Museum I discovered he’d been sent to the Front line as there weren’t enough ships for all the sailors, so their battalions were named after the Naval ships.”


The exhibition depicts life both at the Front and at home, including the impact and aftermath of the war on individuals and communities and their response to the worldwide conflict that turned their lives upside down.


Soldiers equipment, trench art, medals, and books of cartoons are on display alongside personal artefacts, postcards, service records and a diary containing letters from soldiers and photographs.


The project is funded by National Lottery players through a £65,900 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), with additional support from Barnard Castle Town Council, Durham County Council and Teesdale Area Action Partnership.


The exhibition is on display until 3 March 2019.