Our 2014 exhibition ‘The Great War at Fairlynch’ was a natural choice for the centenary year of the outbreak of World War One. The exhibition focused on the impact of the 1914-18 world conflict on the communities of the Lower Otter Valley. Items on display included original records and letters sent during that time.
Images from the museum archives were used in the exhibition, but many photos were lent by local families.
Recruits at Budleigh Salterton station
Local fishermen going to join the Royal Navy
This photo is of Francis Pepys, of Knowle, killed in action on 12 November 1914. He was the first serviceman from the Lower Otter Valley to be honoured with the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). The citation, dated 1 December 1914, reads as follows: "On 3rd November 1914, he did conspicuous good work in advancing from his trench and assisting in driving away a party of the enemy who were commencing to dig a new trench within 30 yards of his own; 30 of the enemy were shot down on the occasion.” His brother, John, had been shot by German snipers on 23 August 1914, nine days after leaving England and three hours after going into action at Mons.
Much research was carried out by museum volunteers in collaboration with Clinton Devon Estates. On 29 July 2014, Fairlynch Museum’s Patron Lord Clinton (pictured far right) launched a website, entitled www.devonremembers.co.uk
In addition ‘The Great War at Fairlynch’ has its own website at fairlynchgreatwar.blogspot.co.uk
A ‘war horse’ themed deckchair was one of ten designed by pupils from local schools in a project organised by Fairlynch Museum and used to publicise the ‘Great War at Fairlynch’ exhibition. This deckchair was designed using artwork supplied by 11-year-old Viki, from Otterton Primary School
What they said about ‘The Great War at Fairlynch’:
'Wonderful display on WW1, informative, bright and relevant to Budleigh Salterton - Well done!!!'
Kate Benson, Chorleywood, Hertfordshire.
‘The Great War at Fairlynch’ was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Imperial War Museum and Clinton Devon Estates.