Chesterfield at War Local schoolchildren learn about the realities of life and conflict during the First World War at Christ Church, Chesterfield. The exhibition is open to the public on Saturday and Sunday 29 & 30 September. Please scroll down for more details.

It was breaking news at Christ Church, Chesterfield.

The country is at war!

Everyone must rally round...

As the new recruits arrive, there is an ambush... a soldier lies in wait...

Meanwhile, a guard keeps a watchful eye on events.

As the recruits advance, the soldier makes his move...


"Who goes there?"

"If the password is correct, you can pass!"

Of course, it is! They were given it beforehand...

Inside the mess hall, the recruits learn a few facts about life in the war: what there is to eat, where they might go. (With thanks to the Royal British Legion.)

But the worst is yet to come...

The soldier tells them they are going to war. He warns them that if anyone is 'on the other side' they will have to fight them - even if they are people they would normally consider friends - or even family!

Time to get kitted out...

...even if it's not the latest fashion!

Next, a warning. Guns are not toys. They should not be played with - they injure and they kill.

These are the horrors of war.

The new recruits get the chance to examine the weaponry used in the theatre of war.

Don't worry - the guns are authentic but deactivated - and the grenades and bullets are replicas.

The headgear is definitely real though!

Rations and utensils are next...

... and they are also real!

All set!

But another horror awaits...

The recruits are taken to the trenches - dark, damp and cramped, but home for the foreseeable future.

The recruits also got a taste of what life would be like in the classroom during WW1 - very different to today!

There was a history lesson about one of Chesterfield's fallen comrades, 1853 Pvt Charlie Shaw.

Pvt Shaw was caught in barbed wire and seriously injured on the battlefield on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

He was rescued by another local soldier, Clarence Wagg DCM, and rushed home for treatment.

Pvt Shaw died a few days later - but it was thanks to the heroic actions of Clarence Wagg that his remains were returned to his family for interment at Christ Church.

You can experience life in the war yourself - the exhibition is open to the public on Saturday and Sunday, 29 and 30 September. 10am - 4 pm

The venue:

Christ Church, Sheffield Road, Chesterfield S41 7JH

With thanks to:

St Helen's and District Local History Society

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