Local cultural organisation ‘Portsmouth Poetry’ has been awarded a grant of £10,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project “I Died In Hell” which will commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele, 1917. The project will focus on telling the story of Portsmouth people who participated in one of the worst conflicts of the First World War.
The project will research participation by soldiers and civilians from Portsmouth in the battle which claimed over half a million lives. The experiences of local people will be illustrated in a month long exhibition in Portsmouth Cathedral as part of the 2017 Portsmouth Festivities and the results of the research will be shown on the Guildhall Big Screen and preserved in a digital archive.
Folllowing the exhibition, lectures and presentations will be available to local organisations and community groups and a schools project for 11-14 year olds will enable local children to continue the investigation into this important piece of local history.
Soldiers and naval personnel fought in the battle from July to November 1917 in some of the worst conditions experienced in WW1 as members of local regiments including the Hampshire, Sussex and Dorset regiments, the Second ‘Pompey Pals’ brigade and the 63rd Royal Naval Division. Three local men were awarded the Victoria Cross.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a specially commissioned performance inspired by the works of Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen and other WW1 poets, in The Cathedral on June 20th which will present the human cost of Passchendaele through words, music and images. The performance is supported by the New Theatre Royal and the University of Portsmouth’s Department of Creative Technology.
About Portsmouth Poetry
Portsmouth Poetry is a project to promote mixed-arts events and activities in the city. A non-profit body, its mission is to work in partnership with other venues and organisations in art, theatre, music and education to provide performances and community and educational projects drawing on a broad spectrum of expertise.