The National Trust at Chartwell in Kent is opening an exhibition to mark 100 years since Sir Winston Churchill made the decision to go and fight at the Western Front. “Into the Trenches,” which opened on 14 November, tells the story of the events, adventures and trials of Winston’s early military life that would give him the strength, courage, and conviction row which he is so famous today. The exhibit explores the early military career of our greatest Briton through keepsakes cherished over a lifetime, such as Churchill’s childhood toy soldiers, Boer War satchel, and the shrapnel-damaged torch he used on night patrol in the trenches of the First World War. These have been carefully selected to shed light on an often unknown side of Churchill’s career with each item telling a different story.
Chartwell’s House and Collections Manager, Katherine Barnett, comments “With some never before seen items, the exhibition illustrates Churchill’s exceptional bravery and how he was instrumental to the outcome of the First World War as well as the Second.”
Objects on display include: a wanted poster issued in December 1899 offering £25 for Churchill’s capture “dead or alive”; a French steel helmet that was Churchill’s primary headgear on the Western Front in 1916; and a fragment of shrapnel which very nearly hit Churchill and his cousin and subsequently engraved to read, “This fragment of a shell fell between us and might have separated us for ever, but is now a token of Union.”
Accompanying the exhibition is a family trail set in the garden where families can make their very own great escape as Churchill did in the Boer War after he was taken prisoner.
“Into the Trenches” runs to Sunday, 21 February 2016. Hours are 11 am–3 pm (excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Gift Aid Admission prices £7.15 per adult, £3.60 per child and £17.90 per family. For more information, please CLICK HERE.
Chartwell was a much loved family home and the place from which Sir Winston Churchill drew inspiration from 1924 until the end of his life. The rooms remain much as they were when he lived here, with pictures, books, and personal mementoes evoking the career and wide-ranging interests of a great statesman, writer, painter, and family man. The hillside gardens reflect Churchill’s love of the landscape and nature. They include the lakes he created, Lady Churchill’s rose garden, the kitchen garden, and the Marycot, a playhouse created especially for Mary, the youngest Churchill daughter.
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