Horncastle In The Great War
Review of exhibition held on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September, 2014

The exhibition aimed to communicate how the Great War had affected Horncastle. A great team of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers had obviously spent many hours researching all aspects in order to present a full picture of what war time in Horncastle would have been like.  From agriculture and food shortages, the use of horses and the roles of women, to the Red Cross Hospital that had been set up in the Stanhope Hall. Extensive and detailed research of all the casualties remembered on the war memorial had been beautifully presented in the form of biographies that many visitors were reading in detail. The newspaper accounts for the war period had all been collected and catalogued and were also creating a lot of interest.

As well as the Civic Society's own research they had also worked in partnership with other community groups and individuals to cover some many aspects of the Great War, this meant that displays could be enhanced with original artefacts such as the uniforms and medals and photograph collection brought in by local expert Mike Credland and the tank artefacts and display provided by The Friends of Lincoln Tank. A particular highlight was the use of a local theatre group to provide re-enactments of a recruitment drive and a scene from the trenches. Other local groups involved were the Army Cadets and the Banovallum Brass band and Royal British Legion who closed the exhibition with a Drum Head service.

The group had put a great deal of thought into providing an accessible exhibition for all. Children were provided with a trail with things to find in each area. Attention was paid to space and comfort by providing seating where it was anticipated that people would want to spend a considerable time. Film showings and poetry readings were another aspect of the event which were well attended and offered a different medium for learning.

All the volunteers who had been involved in the research and the development of the exhibition had dressed in the costume of the period and were on hand to answer questions about their area of interest, providing another layer of engagement for visitors, which was extremely beneficial.

There was also a section of the exhibition dedicated to commemoration; with a slide show telling the story of the Centenary Bike ride which had visited the graves of some of the men commemorated on the Horncastle memorial. The Royal British Legion and a local company who are involved in battlefield tours were also present.

This was a very successful exhibition, an enjoyable and thought provoking experience. The event was very well attended with many people returning on the second day to carry on looking at things in detail.

Cathryn Pike

War Memorials Project Officer
Lincolnshire Remembrance: Memories and Memorials


Soldiers outside Horncastle Drill Hall

First World War Centenary Led By IWM (Imperial War Museum) Heritage Lottery Fund East Lindsey Live

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Horncastle's Great War Book
A book encapsulating the exhibition

'Horncastle's Great War'

by Colin Gascoyne & Mary Silverton

Horncastle's Great War
Horncastle's Great War, by Colin Gascoyne and Mary Silverton

by Colin Gascoyne
& Mary Silverton

In 2014 the Society, together with other groups from the town, held an exhibition to mark the beginning of the Great War. This involved a great deal of research into the lives of the men who were remembered on the memorials to the dead in the town and also the effect the war had on Horncastle. It was felt that this research should be used to write the above book as a permanent memorial to the men who died and the people of the town who lived through that period of history.

The book tells their stories and, we think, enhances the names on the memorials. It gives an insight into their personalities and their thoughts, and the kind of people they were. It also tells how the people of the town coped with losing so many of their young men, how they coped with food shortages and their generosity in helping the soldiers recovering at the hospital.

Copies priced at £16.50 will be on sale from the end of September 2016. 


Book presentations
Copies of Horncastle's Great War book presented locally

Masons support for Society

Olive Union Lodge Sponsors Great War Book

Horncastle Freemasons of Olive Union Lodge are pleased to have supported the publication of the town's History & Heritage Society's new book "Horncastle's Great War".

Master of the lodge Martin Goodwin presented Chairman and co-author Mary Silverton with a cheque for £500.00 and commented that one of their members, William Collinson Isle died in 1915 of wounds inflicted and was featured in the book. Mary thanked the lodge members for their generosity and support. Co-author, Colin Gascoyne then presented Martin with a signed copy for the lodge archives.

Presentation of cheque from the Freemasons
Colin presenting book



Book Presented to Queens Elizabeth Grammar School

 A copy of the book was presented to the Head Girl and Head Boy on the 9th December.  It is hoped that it will provide a good point of reference for future studies of the War and in particular the soldiers from Horncastle who died in the war.  It is thought that it will be particularly useful in helping to locate graves and names on memorials when the school visits the battlefields of France & Belgium.

Air Corps
Old Cars
Machine Gun
Dakota flypast