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Glimpse of hero's life in WWI trenches; Exhibits on display at shopping centre.

Byline: ROB PATTINSON @rpattinson83

A COLLECTION of items used by a Wirral World War I hero while in the trenches has gone on display in a pop-up museum.

Richard Vass brought forward his late dad's treasured memorabilia in response to an appeal by the Pyramids Shopping Centre, in Birkenhead, for photos and artefacts from the Great War.

Lt Capt William Albert Ernest Vass had kept a box full of items of his kit and photographs including a whistle he blew to send troops over the top. It also included his regimental badge, a blanket he used to keep warm in the trenches, a leather belt and a pair of binoculars.

The collection has now gone on display at the shopping centre's pop-up museum, Wirral Through The Ages, jointly set up with social enterprise Big Heritage.

After the items were brought in, the project's organiser, Joanne Kirton, decided to look into Lt Capt Vass' military records.

Using the national military archives based in London, she found details about the battles he was involved in and the honours he won. He was awarded the Allied Victory Medal, the British War Medal and a 1914-15 Star Medal.

A dossier telling the full story of his brave battle career has now been presented to his son.

Richard, 80, from Irby, said: "I was very surprised, I did not expect this. Joanne and the exhibition organisers have done a wonderful job here, I was very glad to help out.

"I think my father would also be especially proud to know these items are contributing to an exhibition in such an important anniversary year for World War I veterans and it is in such a central part of town that anyone can pop in any time they are passing."

A display chest has been put together for the exhibition, detailing how Lt Capt Vass fought with the Sixth Battalion, the Manchester Regiment, and was involved in a number of momentous battles including the Dardanelles Campaign at Gallipoli, Turkey, in the winter of 1915-16 when the combined number of troops killed from both sides was half a million.

After returning home from the war, Richard's dad went on to live to the age of 82, working for many years as a printer in Liverpool until he retired.

The pop-up museum in the Pyramids will close today.


PROUD: Richard Vass with his dad's World War I memorabilia at the pop-up museum, with Joanne Kirton, of Big Heritage, and Derek Millar, commercial director of the Pyramids shopping centre Pictures: MANDY JONES

HEROIC: Wirral World War I hero Lt Capt William Albert Vass in uniform
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 29, 2014
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