‘FROM FLANDERS FIELDS TO FLYING BOMBS’
In 2015, we continued charting the course of World War 1, but as the year also marked the 70th anniversary of the end of World War 2, we added some relevant items from that era.
Far from being the ‘War to End War’,WW1 turned out to be the proving ground for further and greater bloodshed a mere 25 years later. However, trench warfare was not repeated in WW2. Neither were poison gas attacks, although gas masks were issued to over 40 million Britons at the start of hostilities in 1939.
Great technological advances had occurred during the inter-war years and we demonstrated these by comparing like objects from both wars.
The U-boat menace triggered the development of submarine detection technology. Our exhibition included an intriguing ‘hands-on’ demonstration of a WW2 Sunderland flying boat, using radar to detect a submarine.
By WW2 the biplanes and triplanes of WW1 were being rapidly superseded by aircraft such as the Spitfire and Messerschmitt 109 and heavy bombers like the Lancaster.
At home, people suffered severe shortages in both wars. All imported goods were at risk, money was scarce and most things were rationed or simply not avaiable. As a result of naval blockades, fresh vegetables and fruit were in short supply across Europe. This led directly to the development of an allotment culture, which still thrives today.
Our final bay displayed some of the communication transmitters and receivers from WW2.
By now, trench warfare, the clash of battle fleets, the use of airships and cavalry charges had all receded into history – only to be replaced by more potent and lethal weaponry.