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Conan Doyle and the Battle of the Somme
July 1, 2016 @ 10:00 am - July 3, 2016 @ 5:00 pm
Letters shed light on Sherlock author’s campaigning for British soldiers
MENTION THE name Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and most people’s minds will jump to Sherlock Holmes and his distinctive deerstalker hat.
But it is the celebrated author’s campaigning around headwear of a very different kind that takes centre stage in a new exhibition set to open in Leeds.
The Royal Armouries will display letters and photographs that throw a spotlight on his less well known campaigns to provide helmets and armour for British servicemen.
It forms part of a weekend of events planned at the museum to mark the 100th anniversary of the first day of the battle of the Somme on 1 July.
Sir Arthur’s own son, Kingsley, was seriously wounded on the first day of the battle but his work in this area started earlier in the war.
Philip Abbott, archivist at the Royal Armouries, said: “Conan Doyle’s concern over the heavy casualties being suffered on the Western Front was prompted by his humanitarian nature and his ideas on helmets, body armour and shields were a thoughtful response to the impact on soldiers brought about by trench warfare.
“Today most people remember the writer for his fictional work but this was a cause he pursued with great energy and passion throughout the war, through the newspapers and lobbying directly with the government of the time.”
The battle of the Somme was the largest and bloodiest First World War battle. Yorkshire regiments suffered greater losses than any other UK region on 1 July 1916 with 9,000 casualties.
Museum activities next week will include talks and demonstrations, a study day on July 2 about the part the Yorkshire regiments played in the battle, and a tour of the First World War permanent display.
(from the Yorkshire Evening Post, 25 June)
The Battle of the Somme was one of the largest and bloodiest battles of the First World War. On the first day alone the British Army suffered more than 57,000 casualties, including 9,000 men from Yorkshire’s regiments.
This year, as part of the 100th anniversary of the First World War, museums across Yorkshire will be holding exhibitions and events looking at the experiences of soldiers who fought in the battle, and examining how the war affected the lives of ordinary people living at home.
Join us this weekend for a gallery programme of talks and demonstrations focussing on the First World War.
Contemporary artefacts are on display in the War Gallery on Floor 3.
Web banner image: Troops moving up at eventide © National Library Scotland
(from the Royal Armouries website at https://www.royalarmouries.org/events/events-at-leeds/calendar/2016-07-01/in-sight-somme