Items used in the Great War form part of unique display in village guildhall

PUBLISHED: 08:18 09 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:18 09 November 2018

An amputation kit which belonged Eric William Riches (centre). Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

An amputation kit which belonged Eric William Riches (centre). Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Copyright © 2018 Celia Bartlett Photography. All rights reserved.

A battlefield amputation kit used in the First World War and a replica of a Military Cross will be on display at an exhibition in Finchingfield on Sunday.

Medals belonging to a First World War soldier. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYMedals belonging to a First World War soldier. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

The exhibition at the Finchingfield Guildhall will showcase war items and information about the soldiers from Finchingfield who died in the war.

The amputation kit and military cross belonged to surgeon Sir Eric Riches whose daughter Jenny Wright, a Great Bardfield resident, donated the objects.

Sir Eric joined the war when he was 19, interrupting his medical studies. He received the Military Cross in 1917 when an ammunition dump was set on fire by enemy shells.

Under heavy artillery fire, Sir Eric, who was then a lieutenant in the infantry regiment, put out the fire, which prevented the destruction of the ammunition and averted deaths.

A reconstruction of a medical bay used in the First World War. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYA reconstruction of a medical bay used in the First World War. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Mrs Wright, 62, said: “I had absolutely no idea what he had been through. The only thing I can remember him talking about was that he spent his 21st birthday in a graveyard in Ypres and somehow a fruitcake his younger sister made managed to get through.

“He also told me when the food came through they always prayed that the sardines and condensed milk arrived together as the sardines were so disgusting they had to eat them with the milk. Otherwise he never talked about it.”

After the war, Sir Eric, who died aged 91, was a senior urologist surgeon at the Middlesex Hospital and had a private practice in Harley Street.

During the Second World War he invented a medical device which would allow a catheter to go into the lower abdomen of wounded soldiers.

Items which will be display at the exhibition. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHYItems which will be display at the exhibition. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Twenty-seven soldiers from Finchingfield died during the war, including Horace Robert Linsell, who died aged 28, just weeks before the armistice.

The exhibition will be open from 12pm until 5pm on Sunday and includes artefacts provided by a First World War Living History group.

The remembrance service begins at St John’s Church at 10.30am followed by a parade to the war memorial. The congregation can then walk to the guildhall for refreshments and view the exhibition.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Dunmow Broadcast