SOLIHULL REMEMBERS: Special exhibition on town’s World War soldiers launched

Solihull – VIJAY SHAH via DAVID IRWIN and BirminghamLive

The central England town of Solihull, which lies close to the major city of Birmingham, has launched a World War I historical exhibition to commemorate the locals who gave their lives and who fought gallantly in the ‘Great War’, which saw its centenary last year. The exhibition will feature tales of an underage soldier, a recipient of the Victoria Cross, and two soldier siblings who perished within two hours of each other on the gloomy battlefields of continental Europe.

 

As reported by city paper the Birmingham Mail and featured on its BirminghamLive news portal, the exhibition, entitled ‘Solihull Remembers 1914-1918’ is being held at the The Core’s Heritage Gallery. The Core is a council-owned community building based in the city’s Touchwood district. The event will run until 2nd of February, 2019, organisers say.

The exhibition will feature detailed displays and imagery of the time, as well as telling the stories of Solihull residents who answered the call for their country. It is the result of four years of painstaking research by the heritage and local studies service of Solihull Council, who uncovered the accounts of 800 Solihullians who died in World War I. In addition to telling stories from the front line, the exhibition will also show the public the contributions of women who joined auxiliary staff who assisted the war effort, often facing grave dangers themselves.

Tracey Williams, a council heritage and local studies librarian who was leader of the research team at the council that researched the material for the exhibits, told the Birmingham Mail: “At the latest count we have 811 casualties … the challenge has been to bring their stories to life, so it isn’t just a list of names.

“Unfortunately there are still some people we have not been able to identify, which when you consider what they went through is quite upsetting.”

Local councillor Joe Tildesley, who is cabinet member for leisure, tourism and sport and himself a descendant of a World War I soldier, praised the ‘tremendous work’ that went into organising the exhibition. He said: “It’s important that we remember all those who were killed in action,”. Solihull’s mayor, Flo Nash, who officially opened the exhibition, added: “This helps you appreciate what people lost all those years ago,”

“So many young people lost their lives and so many families lost loved ones.”

SOURCES:

interactive storytelling, ICIDS, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/icids/lists/interactive-storytelling

Solihull Updates, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/SolihullUpdates

“Visiting Solihull’s First World War exhibition” – David Irwin, BirminghamLive/Reach plc. (4 January 2019) https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/visiting-solihulls-first-world-war-15626975

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KUNDUZ TAKEBACK: Afghan hospital hit by US strike, three killed

Kunduz/Kabul, AFGHANISTAN
VIJAY SHAH via Financial Times/Reuters

As the Afghan armed forces seek to retake the northern city of Kunduz after a surprise invasion by the Taliban earlier this week, reports have come in of a possibly misplaced American air strike on a hospital, killing three people, the UK’s Financial Times and news agency Reuters have claimed.

The US military, currently working alongside Afghan forces to hold back the Taliban, once Afghanistan’s rulers before the 9/11 attack, had acknowledged today that it may have been responsible for the attack on the hospital facility, which is managed by international medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The casualty estimate at the moment stands at three dead and another thirty missing, possibly more.

English: Afghan soldiers holding position duri...
English: Afghan soldiers holding position during a joint operation in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan conducted by USSOF, Afghan Nationa Army and German PRT infantry forces. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to a statement released by US colonel Brian Tribus, the US sorties were sent in around 2.15 am local time as the Taliban were engaged in street fighting with the Afghan national army following their biggest surprise victory in the last fourteen years. Hundreds of Taliban fighters swarmed into Kunduz, completely catching the local provincial government by surprise. 

In the statement, Col. Tribus also said: “The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility,” he added. “This incident is under investigation.”

Eyewitness reports of the damage to the hospital state that one wall of the main building has been completely obliterated, leaving behind debris including shattered wooden door frames and broken glass from the hospital’s windows. Three of the facility rooms are also said to be on fire, according to Saad Mukhtar, director of public health in Kunduz.

Mukhtar was one of those who witnessed the damage from the strike. In a visit to the MSF building, the director said: “Thick black smoke could be seen rising from some of the rooms,”

“The fighting is still going on, so we had to leave.”

Due to the ongoing fighting, MSF have not been able to take a complete note of casualties or to assess structural damage. At the time of the strike, there were believed to be around 200 patients and staff present in the Kunduz hospital. It is the only hospital in the Kunduz Province, which borders Tajikistan, equipped to deal with major injuries.

“We are deeply shocked by the attack, the killing of our staff and patients and the heavy toll it has inflicted on healthcare in Kunduz,” the aid group’s operations director, Bart Janssens, said.

MSF staff members are currently battling to not only treat existing patients, but also those injured in the strike.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson, told Reuters that US air strikes had targeted the hospital, killing patients, doctors and nurses. He denied allegations that Taliban militants were being treated at the hospital, which might have made it a target for US drones trying to pick off Taliban leadership figures.

The hospital’s chief, Dr Masood Nasim, said the hospital was under increasing strain and risk as the battle frontline reached it this week, with gunfights taking place just outside its gates. Medical staff reported hearing all manners of ammunition, such as shelling, rockets, and fighter jets passing overhead, Nasim claimed. Staff even discovered stray bullets coming through the roof of its intensive care unit.

MSF have said they have so far treated almost 400 patients at the Kunduz hospital since fighting broke out six days ago. Most of the people rushed to the 150-bed facility were victims of gunshot wounds sustained in the fighting, although it did not state if they were civilians or military personnel of whatever side. The hospital had been struggling to cope the massive influx, with many new patients being forced to recuperate on mattresses laid on floors or in the hospital’s offices.

There is no word on who ordered the strike on the Kunduz hospital, or whether it was deliberately targetted in hit in error.

 

SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
GustavoSBR, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/GustavoSBR
“Three dead at Afghan hospital after US air strike” – Reuters via Financial Times/ft.com – World – Asia-Pacific/The Financial Times Ltd. (3 October 2015) http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0aa6a070-69b1-11e5-8171-ba1968cf791a.html?ftcamp=published_links/rss/home_europe/feed//product#axzz3nV1Mffqp
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Joint US-Afghan-German operation in Kunduz Province.jpg” – ISAF Headquarters Public Affairs Office/Flickr, Wikimedia Commons (4 November 2009) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Joint_US-Afghan-German_operation_in_Kunduz_Province.jpg