Worcester’s forgotten World War One story to be told in new exhibition

Final preparations are being made for an exhibition devoted to a forgotten chapter in Worcester’s First World War story.

Worcester Twinning Association is behind the exhibition at the Guildhall, looking at the friendship between the Faithful City and the French village of Gouzeaucourt, after the latter was devastated during World War One. 

The Twinning Association has been awarded a grant of £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to research and stage the display, which runs from 22 to 29 July.

Coinciding with the centenary of the conflict, the exhibition will tell the story of how Gouzeaucourt was on the front line or occupied for much of the War before the city of Worcester “adopted” the town and helped with its post-war reconstruction.

Twinning Association members have been on the ground in Gouzeaucourt to gather information first hand on the relationship between the two places.

Recent research has been into the Climax wind pump that Worcester sent to Gouzeaucourt so that the town’s water supply could be reinstated. 

Investigations have also taken place into the wartime role that tanks played in and around Gouzeaucourt itself.  

One tank, disabled during fighting about half way to Cambrai and subsequently buried, has been dug up and is now on display in France.   Tanks at this time were ‘male’ – carrying both machine guns and a cannon – or ‘female’, armed with multiple machine guns.  This one was a ‘female’ – called Deborah. The exhibition will include images and information about Deborah.

Liz Smith, Chairman of Worcester Twinning Association, said: “Worcester played a significant role in helping the battle-scarred town of Gouzeaucourt recover from the horror of World War One. All of us in the Twinning Association are very pleased to be able to tell this little know story and I hope people will enjoy the exhibition.”

The exhibition will be officially opened by the Lord-Lieutenant of Worcestershire Lt Col Patrick Holcroft LVO OBE on Saturday 22 July in the Court Room of the Guildhall, Worcester at 2.30pm.  

The exhibition runs 22 to 29 July. Admission is FREE.