2014 is the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

A new exhibition in the John Gray Centre Museum opening on 17th May will examine East Lothian’s contribution to the campaigns of World War One, from the experience of the soldiers and local regiments that served overseas, to the effort on the home front and the effects on the landscape and towns of East Lothian.  Our War: East Lothian 1914 – 1918 is on until Sunday 30th November 2014 and there will be related events and activities throughout the six months of the exhibition, check the What’s On section of the www.johngraycentre.org for more details.

The exhibition features a room setting where visitors can explore some of the very personal and poignant stories linked to objects and records in the museum and archive collections and begin to understand the cataclysmic effects of this conflict on East Lothian’s people. Other parts of the exhibition look at the regiments that many local men joined, the Royal Scots and the Lothians and Border Yeomanry and the contributions made by people all over the region to the war effort, from knitting comforts for the troops to nursing or working in agriculture. The exhibition explores a number of stories in detail such as that of Florinda Tunnard, a volunteer nurse from Haddington to the tragic experience of the Cranston family. Of seven sons who went to fight four died, two others suffered dreadful injuries and only one returned unscathed. The exhibition is the first of a number of initiatives all over the region which will continue until 2018.

The John Gray Centre offers P5 to 7 classes in East Lothian schools the chance to find out more about First World War in East Lothian in their schools session: Life on the Front Line. Children will meet a recruiting officer who will take them through their paces as they learn about this period of our history. More information is available at http://www.johngraycentre.org/learning/projects/schools-programme-2014-15-2/