Following the overwhelming interest and support of the World War One Commemorative Display at the 2014 Great Dorset Steam Fair, organisers have decided to keep the replica trenches from this year’s special display until 2018, to coincide with the four year centenary of the 1914-1918 conflict.
Although the trenches were dug out using modern machinery, every other aspect is authentic. They are formed of two rows with a front line trench and a support trench, and each is approximately 150ft long and 6ft deep. These trenches were created to replicate those on the Western Front in France 100 years ago, so they are in a zigzag formation with duck boarding to walk on, tin and wooden panelling on the sides and sand bags lining the top front edge.
Managing Director Martin Oliver says: “The exhibitors who participated in this year’s WW1 Display have said that our trenches were the best replica system they had ever seen. We have made the decision to keep the trenches until at least 2018 because it seems an appropriate tribute to those who lost their lives in The First World War. Many of our visitors told us that this year’s WW1 Special Display was incredibly moving, and it would be a shame to remove a spectacle that causes such reflection before the centenary is over.
“It is hoped that the trenches will provide an educational experience for visitors over the four years, allowing them to envisage what life might have been like on the front line. Furthermore, between now and the 2015 show, we would like to encourage local schools to contact us and arrange visits so that we can share this experience with them free of charge.”
The Great Dorset Steam Fair site is based on a working farm and leaving the replica trench system in place until 2018 has been fully endorsed by land owner, Robin Hooper of Tarrant Hinton. Martin Oliver says “Robin is very proud to give up part of his farm for four years to enable the trenches to remain in place and I would like to thank him for all his help and cooperation. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Lewy Smith of Bema Cross Demolition for all his help in supplying the machinery and for digging out the trenches. It simply would not have been possible to create the trenches in the time available without his help”.
If you would like to request a visit to the trenches at Tarrant Hinton for your school over the coming weeks and months, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Great Dorset Steam Fair 2015 will take place from Wednesday 2 September to Sunday 6 September. For more information, please visit www.gdsf.co.uk.