THIS will be a year to remember for Romsey Show – for the first time in its 172-year history, the event will have a theme: “World War One and Hampshire Life 1914-1918”.
The show will pay tribute to the 350 local ‘boys’ who gave their lives for King and Country as well as reflecting on how life would have been for those who stayed behind to keep the home fires burning.
More specifically, the show will recall the wartime role of Broadlands, which has hosted the show since 1919.
The parkland around Broadlands was the site of a major horse remount depot during the war, which was responsible for training tens of thousands of horses and mules and their handlers for war work.
In addition, the show is honoured that both the Canadian High Commission and the US Embassy will be represented at this year’s event to recognise the fact that their troops were stationed at Broadlands.
Among the many themed attractions planned there will be an aerial display by seven replica First World War planes, a horse and mule remount display, an 18lb field gun very unusually drawn by heavy horses and the replica tank that appeared in the film War Horse.
There will also be music by the Band and Bugles of The Rifles, as well as re-enactments of the work of military farriers, a padre and FANYs nurses with a 1915 Ford ambulance.
The WW1 Information Tent will house various static displays, including the new book, Romsey Boys in the Great War, written and researched by Pete Chapman and Simon Pearce.
A Garden of Remembrance will be planted with 350 crosses to commemorate those who died and there will be ceremony to honour the dead in the main ring.
Exhibitors, traders and visitors, will be encouraged to dress in period costume (although this is not compulsory) and all the different sections of the show will be reflecting the period, for example, the bakery demonstration in the Food Zone will be offering period breads at 1914 prices!
Show chairman, Peter Cliffe-Roberts, commented: “We could not let the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War go un-noticed, particularly in view of the specific role of Romsey, and Broadlands especially, as a major base for marshalling our horses and mules and training them and their handlers for active service in France and Belgium.
“1914- 18 was also, though, a period of huge social change which dramatically affected Hampshire, as with every other part of Britain. It was, for example, the period of the Suffragettes, massive changes in agriculture, the rise of the motor car and the emergence of labour movements.
“As well as the military commemorations, therefore, we want to reflect as many of these other events and changes as possible, particularly as they impacted on the rural and agricultural communities of Hampshire. So we will have displays of agricultural machinery and techniques of the period as well as plenty of hands-on opportunities, particularly for our younger visitors.”
Romsey Show is on on Saturday, September 13, at Broadlands. Children under 11 go free and advance tickets, at a discounted rate, are on sale from August. For more information, visit romseyshow.co.uk