All guns blazing at new WWI exhibits in Leeds

Jonathan Ferguson, curator of firearms, with a Blanch-Chevallier Grenade Launcher.
Jonathan Ferguson, curator of firearms, with a Blanch-Chevallier Grenade Launcher.
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HISTORY fans are aiming to get all fired up at a Leeds museum.

Visitors to the Royal Armouries will experience a blast from the past at a series of special events to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

Highlights include exhibits of weapons and armour used in battle, stunt horse shows, photographic displays and talks from experts detailing the stories of those who fought for King and Country on the Western Front.

Jonathan Ferguson is curator of firearms at the museum.

He said: “We aim to demonstrate how developments in technology and tactics changed both the experience of the men fighting the war, and the face of warfare itself.

“From cavalry and bayonet charges in 1914, to the elite machine gunners of 1918, we will explore how various weapons and pieces of armour were conceived, how they were used, and how effective they really were.”

Mr Ferguson added: “I think people will be surprised at how advanced some of the thinking was, and that, both before and during the war, there were constant attempts to innovate and to put the right equipment in the soldiers’ hands.

“However, no amount of ingenuity could prevent a horrific human cost and a legacy that still echoes today.”

Exhibitions include ‘Bullets, Blades and Battle Bowlers’, which starts in September and explores how technological advancements impacted modern warfare.

From August 23 to 25, a horse show called The Final Charge will be performed by stunt riders who appeared in Steven Spielberg’s 2011 film War Horse.

The show will be set on the battlefields of the First World War and tells the story of the brave soldiers’ journey through Europe.

Presentations and seminars from curators and experts on a range of topics will also be held.

For more information or a full schedule of events, visit

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