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First World War hospital amongst glimpses into past in new exhibition

PUBLISHED: 13:45 13 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:45 13 July 2018

Nurses and soldiers at Garboldisham Voluntary Aid Deatchment Hospital. Picture: Garboldisham History Society

Nurses and soldiers at Garboldisham Voluntary Aid Deatchment Hospital. Picture: Garboldisham History Society

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Some fascinating glances into village life in the past have gone on display at Diss Museum as part of a temporary new exhibition overseen by Garboldisham History Society.

Garboldisham History Society Community Cabinet at Diss Museum. Picture: Simon ParkinGarboldisham History Society Community Cabinet at Diss Museum. Picture: Simon Parkin

The latest ‘Community Cabinet’ in the town museum has seen the village history society put on display some interesting things covering the First World War VAD Hospital, the village pubs and Post Office, and the 1896 village fete.

The Community Cabinet is an opportunity for members of the public and community groups to curate a single, dedicated cabinet with objects of their own choice.

Jonathan Dutton, a former auctioneer with Bonhams and history society member, who has overseen the selection of artefacts in the latest cabinet, said: “It’s not a large display, but it is now open, and will be closing in August Bank Holiday weekend.

“This will be followed in Garboldisham on September 22-23 by our society’s biennial exhibition in St John’s Church, where a larger display of the VAD hospital will be on show, and a village history around the streets, where lots of photographs will be on view.”

Garboldisham History Society Community Cabinet at Diss Museum. Picture: Simon ParkinGarboldisham History Society Community Cabinet at Diss Museum. Picture: Simon Parkin

The First World War created thousands of casualties. New weapons such as the machine gun caused unprecedented damage to soldiers’ bodies.

County branches of the Red Cross had their own groups of volunteers called Voluntary Aid Detachments (often abbreviated to VAD).

Made up of men and women, they carried out a range of voluntary positions including nursing, transport duties, and the organisation of rest stations, working parties and auxiliary hospitals.

The Garboldisham Voluntary Aid Detachment opened in November 1914. Admission were usually between 10 and 12 soldiers, some suffering after being caught in gas attacks.

The work of the VAR locally is sure to feature in a talk that Mr Dutton will be giving at St Mary’s Chruch Hall, in Mount Street, on July 20 at 7.30pm entitled World War One in East Anglia. Entry £5 on the door, all welcome.

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