Home and Away: Cheshire at War
Cheshire’s wartime history is a colourful, often bloody story of bravery, suffering, loss and victory. Nowhere is it more thoroughly brought to life than in the Cheshire Military Museum which charts the exploits of the Regiments of Cheshire over five centuries. The stories told range from life in the First World War trenches (including soldiers taking a bath!) to recent action in Iraq and Afghanistan. Evocative pieces on display include the Victoria Cross and bullet-pierced helmet of Thomas Alfred Jones who captured 102 German prisoners. Each object and tale gives a snapshot of the battles, the travels and the world-shaping impact of Cheshire soldiers.
While Cheshire Military Museum is the obvious starting place for anyone interested in Cheshire’s wartime past it is by no means the only stop. Nantwich and Congleton both have strong English Civil War links. The famous 1644 Battle of Nantwich is a highlight at the Nantwich Museum, with displays that include a letter from the Parliamentarian leader, Sir Thomas Fairfax. At Congleton Museum you can also immerse yourself in the town’s wartime past, and meet some colourful characters including John Bradshaw, the man who sentenced to death King Charles I.
You will also find evidence of past wars in some more unexpected Cheshire venues. The terrible losses endured by the people of Port Sunlight during the First World War are revealed in the village’s museum, while Warrington Museum hosts a display about the town’s role in the Crimea, Boer War and both world wars. Even Stretton Watermill in its charming rural setting conceals a wartime link, as it provided vital supplies to the nation during the Second World War.