There were 20,000 good reasons for the overhaul of a Preston military museum.
So said Lieutenant Colonel John Downham, chairman of the Lancashire Infantry Museum Board of Trustees at its re-opening yesterday.
The 20,000 men from the infantry regiments of Central Lancashire who gave up their lives in the First World War, were remembered at a ceremony at Fulwood Barracks where rugby legend, Bill Beaumont CBE, cut a ribbon to ceremonially re-open the museum following its refurbishment.
Speaking at the ceremony Mr Beaumont said he was honoured to officially open the museum after is was revealed his grandfather, Harry Beaumont, then a Lieutenant in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, played a leading role in the defence of the Diyalah River Crossing in Mesopotamia in 1917.
He said: “With the centenary of the First World War happening this year, people are beginning to realise the poignancy of what actually happened.
“And it is important that people come and see the exhibitions in the museum because, not only does it tell us about the First World War, but other battles that the Lancashire regiments fought in which were of equal importance.”
During the battle that Mr Beumont’s grandfather fought it, 100 trapped Lancashire soldiers held off an entire Turkish army for some 30 hours.
And with interest in the Lancashire’s military history at an all-time high because of the centenary of the First World War, work was urgently needed to modernise the 90-year-old Fulwood Barracks – based Museum.
Crucially, said the Lieutenant Colonel Downham during his opening speech, 4,000 schoolchildren have been taught in the learning room library since it opened in November last year, meaning future generations of Lancastrians can continue to discover about the region’s rich military history.