Worcestershire marks World War One

Qatia 100 Commemorative Exhibition opens 21st March.

The Worcestershire Yeomanry will commemorate the Battles of Qatia and Oghartina in a special exhibition entitled Qatia and Oghratina – the aftermath… at the Worcestershire Soldier Gallery at Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum. Part of the Qatia 100 commemorations the exhibition runs from 21st March until 30th May.

The exhibition will cover events that took place on 23rd April 1916 which saw the loss of 9 officers and 101 other ranks as well as the subsequent experiences of Yeoman who survived the battle but were to become prisoners of war.

Included in the exhibition are artefacts belonging to Major Walter Bell, donated to Worcestershire Yeomanry by Ann Cullis, Major Bell’s great granddaughter. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to see Major Bell’s diaries and notebooks from his time as a Prisoner of War in Turkey as well as his Lloyds Bank passbook which was found on the battlefield in Qatia and eventually returned to him in Worcester after the war. Also on show are sketches of the battlefield as well as the diaries of Lt Arthur Holyoake on loan from the City Art Gallery and Museum’s collection.

Colonel Stamford Cartwright MBE, TD, Curator of Worcestershire Yeomanry Museum and Chairman of the Comrades Association said: “Qatia and Oghratina – the aftermath is an opportunity to tell the whole story of the Yeoman at Qatia and Oghratina from the battle on 23 April 1916 through the experience of those Yeoman who served as Prisoners of War in Turkey. We are grateful to Ann Cullis and her family for the fantastic donations of diaries, notebooks and passbook of her great grandfather which will give visitors a real insight into the experience of a prisoner of war.”

Dr Adrian Gregson, Worcestershire World War One Hundred Project Manager said: “The Battle of Qatia is a significant moment in Worcestershire’s military history and an important moment to remember the sacrifice of the Worcestershire Yeomanry 100 years ago. This is just one of the many exhibitions taking place as part of the Worcestershire World War One Hundred project and an opportunity for visitors to the exhibition to gain an understanding of the impact battles such as these have on both those on the Frontline and at Home.”

On 23rd April the Worcestershire Yeomanry will commemorate the Centenary of the Battles of Qatia and Oghratina with a special commemorative service at Worcester Cathedral at 11am remembering the gallantry and sacrifice of the Worcestershire Yeomanry. At 2.45pm members of the public are invited to join the Yeoman in the unveiling and dedication by the Squadron Padres of a bespoke memorial created by sculptor and mosaic artist Victoria Harrison at Cripplegate Park.

The nine foot high commemorative poppy sculpture designed and created by Victoria Harrison will provide a lasting memorial to the Worcestershire Yeomanry in Cripplegate park. The sculpture has been funded by Councillor Richard Udall and the Worcestershire County Council Divisional Fund and supported by Worcestershire Stone Masons of Hylton Road, Worcester.

Councillor Richard Udall, Worcester County Council said: “I am delighted to be funding the beautiful commemorative sculpture which will be unveiled on 23 April. It is important that we mark the anniversary and, on its centenary it feels like the right moment to create a lasting memorial for future generations to enjoy. I hope people who see the sculpture are reminded of the sacrifice many made during World War One and are inspired to come and find out more at the exhibition at the Worcestershire Soldier Gallery.”

Qatia 100 is part of the Worcestershire World War One Hundred project. Funded by £353,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Worcestershire World War One Hundred is one of the largest programme of events across England commemorating the First World War involving cultural and heritage organisations County-wide through until 2018.

Further information about the Qatia 100 Commemorations can be found on the Friends of the Worcestershire Yeomanry Museum Facebook page and www.ww1worcestershire.co.uk.