Dorchester's Keep Military Museum WWI exhibition opens

An exhibition reflecting life in the trenches during World War One has officially opened in Dorset.

The Trench at The Keep Military Museum, in Dorchester, commemorates soldiers from the Dorset and Devon regiments who served during the Great War.

World War One debris artefacts including rifle rounds

The exhibition has been funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of more than £50,000.

It includes a mock trench and dug out, audio and video guides, as well as war debris and rifle rounds.

It also features artefacts from the local community including two love letters donated by Janette Millard, of Weymouth.

Sweetheart letter from L/Cpl Horace Collier of Cerne Abbas to Birdie Loder with photo of Ms Loder

They were sent to her aunt Birdie Loder by L/Cpl Horace Collier - both of Cerne Abbas.

He was killed in action in October 1914 in fighting north of Bethune, France.

"The letters are very moving and in one of them he signs off 'yours till death'", Ms Millard said.

"Birdie did go on to marry but she kept those letters in her possession all her life, until she died aged 86 in 1980 - we found them in her close personal belongings."

Signs in the mock World War One trench at The Keep

Over the next four years, the exhibition is expected to alter to reflect each year of the war.

"At the moment we're dealing with 1914 so the main subjects are the expansion of the British Army and the early battles - Mons, Le Cateau, the Marne," museum curator Chris Copson said.

"Next year we'll be looking at Gallipoli, to reflect the events of 1915, and so on."

New recruits to the Dorsetshire Regiment are inspected

The HLF grant has also funded a new education room at the museum which will be used by local schools.

Former BBC war correspondent Kate Adie officially opened the exhibition.

Other invited guests included Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, Angus Campbell.

The Trench exhibition at The Keep

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