Wartime exhibition at Heritage Centre...

A mannequin wearing full First World War Army uniform will greet visitors to a new exhibition at Gainsborough Heritage Centre.

The uniform is on permanent loan to the heritage association, which runs the centre in the old post office on North Street.

Exhibitions officer James Titley said: “It was donated by Mr Steel and includes a kitbag, a rifle and some signalling equipment.”

He said that during the First World War Bristol fighter planes were built at Marshalls in Gainsborough and tested on an airfield between the town and Beckingham.

“There was also an ammunitions factory at Blyton which was quite famous because it was one of the factories that was entirely manned by women, because all the men were away fighting or doing other jobs,” he said.

The exhibition called Home Front and Heroes opens on 24th November.

The main part of it will be about the Second World War and volunteers will be dressed in 1940s costumes.

They will also be baking recipes from a wartime ration book and doing some wartime crafts, along with other activities on the theme of ‘make do and mend’.

James said that Gainsborough received a direct attack during the Second World War.

He said: “The town was attacked by enemy action but it was rumoured that it was a stray plane that just unloaded its bombs over Gainsborough.”

“It caused damage on Market Street around where Lloyds TSB bank is now, and on Market Place.”

“The town hall was also damaged and was propped up with wooden posts for about ten years after.”

James said most of the damage involved aeroplane crashes.

Lincolnshire was of course famous as ‘bomber county’ and there were RAF bases at Blyton, Sturgate, Kirton Lindsey, and Scampton.

“There was a big RAF presence in the Gainsborough area and Air Marshal Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris visited,” he said.

“Aircraft were also made by the Rose Brothers engineering company.”

“Although it’s 70 years ago there are still plenty of people around who have memories of the Second World War so we have been able to get a lot of information, photos and other artefacts.”

As well as military items they also have artefacts from ‘Dad’s Army’, the Gainsborough Home Guard, and from the local civil defence corps.

The exhibition will run for three months and admission is £3, or £1.50 for association members.

In the meantime, this Saturday there will be a coffee morning from 9am at the Heritage Centre when a large selection of second hand books will be on sale along with bric-a-brac and jumble.

The 2012 heritage association Christmas cards will also be on sale.

Then on Sunday at 1pm Bridget Laycock from the Marshall Club will be giving a talk entitled The History of Marshalls.

Admission will be £3 or £2 for members.

To become a member or make a donation to the heritage association go to www.gainsboroughheritage.com.