THE largest exhibition ever created, exploring the north west during the First World War is on display at the Imperial War Museum.

A hundred years after the outbreak of the First World War, IWM North unveils personal stories – with objects never before on public display – revealing the region’s role in the global conflict.

From Street To Trench: A World War That Shaped A Region shows how the society we live in today was born out of the rapid changes that resulted from the Great War.

Among the items on display are those which highlight Elsie Poole, a nurse who served with an East Lancashire Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) from 1915, when she was 22 years old.

VAD units had first been set up by the Red Cross in 1909, but their numbers increased during the war.

More than 3,000 Red Cross Auxiliary hospitals were temporarily set up around the country, often in large, private houses, which eased the burden on military and regular hospitals, which were struggling to cope with the high numbers of casualties brought about by bloody and devastating trench warfare.

The work of Elsie and her fellow volunteers was invaluable to the war effort.

Being a VAD nurse was not an easy job and in addition to changing bandages and giving medication, nurses had to cope with treating surgical wounds and diseases which befell many soldiers fighting in the east in places including Mesopotamia and Gallipoli.

Born in 1893, Elsie never married, but worked in the Girl Guide movement all her life. She died in 1987.

Founded in 1917 to mark the sacrifices made by civilians and soldiers alike, IWM reveals more than 200 personal objects, films, sound recordings, photographs, artworks and letters in the exhibition, many on public display for the first time.

Rarely seen documents and manuscript poems provide an insight into war poet Wilfred Owen’s experiences with the Manchester Regiment and the inspiration for his poetry.

Also on display for the first time is a letter from the Gallipoli front by officer Clement Attlee of the South Lancashire Regiment, who later helped to found the NHS as Labour Prime Minister.

As the North West was a major focus for recruitment, many left the region for the first time to serve across the globe.

Also on display at the museum is the field gun that fired the British Army’s first shot of the First World War on the Western Front, the revolver carried by Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien on the Somme.