AS part of the First World War commemorations taking part across East Lancashire, a new exhibition with never-seen-before photographs is coming to Accrington.

On Saturday, the Haworth Art Gallery will officially launch ‘WW1 – We Shall Remember Them’ with help from the Mayor and Mayoress of Hyndburn.


The exhibition, which will remain at the gallery until September 21, boasts an extremely rare set of pictures taken during the war by one of Accrington’s aviation officers.

William Geoffrey Chambers served as a photographic reconnaissance officer and his collection of 80 large format negatives taken on service, and a full album of photographs that was passed through the family will be available for the first time.

The snaps of early aviation have been digitally restored and printed by Accrington Camera Club member John Barton and depict the history of flight in the war leading up to the formation of the Royal Air Force.

The exhibition graphically shows the risk intrinsic to the early days of flight displaying the landing strips that were rough fields and aircrafts that were string bound wooden struts and canvas.

The death toll of 8,000 men in training surpassed any number of pilots who died fighting during the war.

Cllr Miles Parkinson, Hyndburn Council Leader, said: “The Accrington Pals’ huge bravery and sacrifice and that of their comrades who fought and fell in World War One, must never be forgotten.

“Therefore this exhibition and the many commemorative events which took place across the borough marking the centenary of the Accrington Pals’ devastating losses and the sacrifice of all those who fell in the Great War are vitally important to keep them in all our minds.”

The exhibition also commemorates the individuals of war, telling private and poignant stories of heroism and horrors faced including the story of ‘The Boy Soldier’.

Accrington-born Reginald St. John Beardsworth Battersby, lied about his age to join the armed forces at 14-years-old and the showing explores the squalors of life in the trenches and his fight for survival against all odds.

Also on offer is the story of ‘The Briggs Connection’ – a letter documenting the correspondence between Joseph Briggs, the French commander, Marshal Joffre.

Yvonne Robins, Haworth Art Gallery manager, said: “I think it is incredibly important that we remember what those men and boys went through, and they went through all of that for us.They were proud to fight on our behalf and people from Accrington can come along and learn more about their grandfathers’ or great-grandfathers’ legacy, and how much they sacrificed to protect their families, town and country.”