Gill Bird, the Education and Outreach Officer from the Highlanders’ Museum at Fort George, led an afternoon workshop all about World War 1 today.
We started off by being given artefacts to examine in pairs – we had to try and guess what everything was. Gill was very impressed by our deduction skills.
Can you figure out what these are?
After we found out what everything was, Gill explained how the design of gas masks has changed over the years. We got the chance to try on a gas mask from the 1970s. Gill showed us a Gas Rattle, used to warn the soldiers of a gas attack, and we had a go at using it. It was really loud in the classroom but we didn’t think it would have seemed loud in the trenches.
We had a look at the uniform worn by the Highlanders on the battlefield, and felt the weight of the rifle that they had to carry. We were surprised that they wore kilts in the trenches, and we were shocked to hear that it got so cold overnight that the kilts froze and cut the legs of the soldiers (and they got frost bite on their knees too!)
The most unpleasant bit was smelling the gas and sweaty feet from the trenches. The saddest part was hearing Gill read a young soldier’s last letter. A poignant end to a really interesting, hands-on session.
Many thanks to Gill for coming out to see us.