First World War museum opens its doors in Hilsea

A MUSEUM remembering the First World War opened today in Hilsea.

Saturday, 1st July 2017, 8:10 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:32 am
The World War 1 Remembrance Centre, at Bastion 6 in Hilsea, opened today. Pictured is Ken Emery, Charles Haskell and Tom Coffey.

Bastion 6, off Airport Service Road, now houses the World War 1 Remembrance Centre dedicated to the war and has more than 9,000 artefacts from the era.

The attraction was put together by Charles Haskell and has moved from Fort Widley as a larger space was needed.

Charles said: ‘We opened the museum at Fort Widley about four years ago but we have out-grown it.

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‘We have around 9,000 artefacts from the First World War and more than 5,000 books and magazines.

‘This space was ideal for us as it is about six times bigger.

‘Today was a soft opening as work still needs to be done but we wanted to get it open in some condition for the public.’

For the opening earlier today, people dressed in costumes from the war and the Hampshire Cadets Band performed.

Tours were also given of the museum and a commemoration service was held with a wreath and poppies laid.

Charles has big ideas for the centre and hopes to see it completed over the next few months.

He added: ‘When it’s finished, the museum will be wheelchair accessible and we want to welcome lots of people.

‘There will be a timeline from 1912 to the 1920s running along one side and the other side will be decorated like a French street with shop fronts and lamps.

‘We will have a library housing the books and a map of the battlefields with soldier figurines.

‘There will be two lecture theatres where re-enactors can gives talks and people can learn about the war.’

The museum will also house a 1916 original German trench mortar and a section looking at the different gases used and the mud of the battlefield.

Charles said it will be different to other museums as it looks at the unusual sides of the war but also the personal ones.

The World War 1 Remembrance Centre is open to the public for free while work to finish it is completed.

Currently, it is not suitable for wheelchair users.

Any volunteers interested in helping at the museum should enquire at the centre.