New Aberdeen exhibition examines life and death at the end of World War 1

Some of the artefacts that tell the story of the 2nd Gordons involvement in the Italian Campaign in 1917-1918

A new exhibition on the lead-up to World War I and its legacy will open in Aberdeen today.

The Gordon Highlanders Museum has put together 1918: The End, with exhibits including poignant artefacts from what was described as the “war to end all wars”.

There are all manner of memorabilia from the hostilities, which featured many men from the north-east of Scotland, who played a pivotal role in the trenches and further afield.

The exhibition highlights how things looked bleak for the Allies at the beginning of 1918, but the tide gradually turned in theior favour as the months passed.

Curator Ruth Duncan, who has worked with volunteers at the museum to assemble a significant collection of items, explained the background of the exhibition.

She said: “On display in one of the cases are a selection of personal artefacts and photos of soldiers who were killed in the offensive.

“This includes a unique portrait on wood of Lieutenant Robert Fraser Simpson, 7th Gordons attached to 6th Gordons, who was killed in action on the first day of the Spring Offensive.

“There is also a telegram, dated November 11, 1918, which announces the armistice and includes the phrase: ‘All troops will be halted on the line reached and an outpost line will be formed and all military precautioons taken.”

Ms Duncan confirmed that the exhibition would also anlayse what happened to the Gordon Highlanders personnel once they returned home to their communities.

She added: “Very few families were untouched by the war. 50,000 Gordon Highlanders had served: 9,000 of them had been killed and an additional 20,000 wounded.

“Many of the survivors were haunted by what they had experienced. Some just wanted to forget; others valued the continued support of their former comrades.

“On display are many artefacts which show the different official and personal ways in which the war was commemorated and remembered.

“This includes a display of memorial plaques and specially commissioned works of art, created by a local artist and Gordon Highlander on the topic of remembering the regiment.”

The exhibition will run until December 1.

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