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Fairfield Halls war exhibition has special significance for one family

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FOR Jenny Brady, an exhibition of First World War memorabilia at Fairfield Halls in November will have a particular poignancy.

This is because a key feature of the display will be two postcards sent by her great grandfather, David Davies, to his wife in Wales from the trenches of the Western Front.

The Hidden Croydon exhibition is being staged in the Fairfield Halls foyer on November 14, ahead of a concert the same evening by the London Mozart Players (LMP).

The concert is the centrepiece of the group's commemoration of the start of the First World War and will feature a specially commissioned choral work by Jonathan Dove, called For An Unknown Soldier.

The exhibition is a collaboration between the LMP and Riddlesdown Collegiate in Purley.

This month, two events are being held at which people are being invited to bring along First World War memorabilia which can be included in the main exhibition.

The first will take place at Fairfield Halls on Tuesday between noon and 2pm and the second on September 19 from 10am to 12.30pm.

Jenny, 25, who is the LMP's concerts co-ordinator, hopes her discovery will encourage many other people to bring along their own treasured memories of the war.

One of her postcards shows the embroidered badge of the Welsh regiment, with which her great grandfather served.

The other, with the illustrated message "Till we meet again", includes a personal greeting in pen from Mr Davies' wife Elizabeth, which says: "I think of you today dear though we are far apart, I send my loving wishes, to greet my true sweetheart. From Lizzie."

Jenny believes her great grandfather must have returned the postcard as it also contains a pencil written message from him saying: "From a hungry husband sending this out of the trenches to you. From Dai to Lizzie."

Explaining how she discovered the postcards, Jenny said: "I was doing some research into the family history and I asked my mum and dad if they had any information.

"My dad pulled out a mass of old photographs of my great grandparents and the postcards were among them. They are very fragile now but they are just amazing."

She said: "All my great grandfathers fought in the trenches and all of them returned home, a fact for which I'm extremely grateful as my grandparents were born post-1918.

"I'm also grateful to my grandmother for recognising the significance of this world event in the context of the Davies family, preserving these postcards for future generations to truly appreciate the personal cost of war."

Jenny said there were not many people alive today whose family had not been affected in some way by the First World War.

Revealing their memories through memorabilia was, she said, "what the Hidden Croydon project is all about".

Fairfield Halls war exhibition has special significance for one family


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