Sanitation, Sand & Shells:
The War Diary of Alfred M. Cockburn (2nd London Sanitary Company, Royal Army Medical Corps)
This exhibition explores the work of the R.A.M.C Sanitary Companies during the First World War, providing a unique insight into a relatively unknown aspect of the war: military hygiene and sanitation. The personal testimony of Alfred Cockburn, who served in Egypt and France, as a corporal in the 2nd London Sanitary Company, sheds light on those military non-combatants who played a vital role. During the 1930s Alfred reflected on his wartime experiences and in his own words wrote the following:
This account of my active service is completed. All that has been written was easily recalled from my notes that I made daily. Some were sent home in green envelopes. The diaries themselves left at home on two occasions of leave from France, so on returning, I started a new one. Twenty years after and strange to say, when I had written of my time in Egypt and my first year in France, the first weekly part of the publication “Twenty Years After” appears and is bought for me by my son Alfred. But, I treasure most, the cards and letters, which unknown to me, were put away by my wife.’
Alfred was an avid collector of ‘things’ and his diary is full of wartime related ephemera that he collected during his time in service as well as from his visit to France during the late 1930s, when he revisited many of the places and local people he had stayed with.
The exhibition runs from 18 May to 15 August 2017. Admission Free.