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Trawlermen’s fateful First World War story part of museum exhibition

boston trawlermen: Fishing crew from the Porpoise and Kesteven trawlers pictured from back row, left to right,are Mr Graham, Mr Eggars, Mr C. Warsap, unnamed of Valentine Terrace, Boston,Mr England, Mr Harris, Mr Blakey and Mr Willmott. Picture courtesy of The Guildhall.

boston trawlermen: Fishing crew from the Porpoise and Kesteven trawlers pictured from back row, left to right,are Mr Graham, Mr Eggars, Mr C. Warsap, unnamed of Valentine Terrace, Boston,Mr England, Mr Harris, Mr Blakey and Mr Willmott. Picture courtesy of The Guildhall.

The fateful account of Boston trawlermen captured by Germans during the First World War is being told at the Guildhall Museum.

Historical accounts vary, but up to 23 Boston trawlers were thought to have been sunk by the enemy in the North Sea during the 1914-18 war.

Many attacked in the first few days were not even aware of the outbreak of war when their fishing vessels were hit.

Information at the exhibition states surviving fishermen from many of these trawlers, some of which were just boys, were then emprisoned for four years at the Ruhlenen camp near Berlin.

After survivors were repatriated in 1918, many gave a graphic account of their experiences to The Standard – some of which we will bring you in the run-up to the 100th anniversary of the start of the war in August.

A notice at the Guildhall states: ‘As the war continued, fishermen were no longer taken prisoner but were either left in the sea with their sinking trawler or killed outright by the Germans’.

Guildhall collections officer Polly Wilkinson said: “The exhibition is important not just because it recounts the stories of the First World War, but because it relates to the history of Boston.”

Other dramatic events which befell Boston during the war include a Zeppelin dropping seven bombs over the borough, killing one and seriously injuring four.

The exhibition includes a model of the Zeppelin and a fragment of one of the bombs.There are also personal affects from front-line soldiers.

The exhibition runs until October, from 10.30am-3pm, Wednesday-Saturday.

l See this week’s Standard for the first of our series of supplements on the First World War.

If you have a local family story from the First World War call our newsteam on 01205 311433.

If you are making a special trip to the Guildhall Museum to see the exhibition, contact them first on 01205 365954.

 

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