A MAJOR military exhibition, which will run for more than two months, is to be held in Worcester to mark one of the most heroic episodes in the history of the Worcestershire Yeomanry.

Titled "Qatia and Oghratina – the aftermath" it is being staged at the Worcestershire Soldier Gallery of Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum and will recall the bravery and sacrifice of a detachment of hussars during the First World War, when it found itself attacked by an overwhelming force of Turks while protecting engineers sinking wells into the Egyptian desert near Port Said. Otherwise known as the Queen's Own Worcestershire Hussars, the yeomanry was a regiment of cavalry with its officers drawn from the county's social elite and troopers, in the main, from their landed estates.

The exhibition, which opens on Monday, March 21 until Monday, May 30, will cover events that took place on April 23, 1916, which saw the loss of nine officers and 101 other ranks, as well as the subsequent experiences of soldiers who survived the battle but were taken as prisoners of war.

Included in the exhibition are artefacts belonging to Major Walter Bell, donated to Worcestershire Yeomanry by Ann Cullis, Major Bell’s great granddaughter. Visitors will be able to see Major Bell’s diaries and notebooks from his time as a prisoner of war in Turkey as well as his Lloyds Bank passbook, which was found on the battlefield in Qatia and eventually returned to him in Worcester after the war. Also on show are sketches of the battlefield as well as the diaries of Lt Arthur Holyoake on loan from the City Art Gallery and Museum’s collection.

Colonel Stamford Cartwright, curator of Worcestershire Yeomanry Museum and chairman of the Comrades Association said: “Qatia and Oghratina – the aftermath is an opportunity to tell the whole story of the Yeoman at Qatia and Oghratina from the battle on April 23, 1916 through the experience of those who became prisoners of war in Turkey. We are grateful to Ann Cullis and her family for the fantastic donations of diaries, notebooks and passbook of her great grandfather Major Bell which will give visitors a real insight into the experience of a Prisoner of War.”

Dr Adrian Gregson, Worcestershire World War One Hundred project manager, added: “The Battle of Qatia is a significant moment in Worcestershire’s military history and an important moment to remember the sacrifice of the Worcestershire Yeomanry 100 years ago. This is just one of the many exhibitions taking place as part of the Worcestershire World War One Hundred project and an opportunity for visitors to the exhibition to gain an understanding of the impact battles such as these have on both those on the frontline and at home.”

On Saturday, April 23 this year the Worcestershire Yeomanry will commemorate the centenary of the Battles of Qatia and Oghratina with a special commemorative service at Worcester Cathedral at 11am. At 2.45pm members of the public are invited to join the Yeoman in the unveiling and dedication by the Squadron Padres of a bespoke memorial created by sculptor and mosaic artist Victoria Harrison in Cripplegate Park. The nine foot high commemorative poppy sculpture will provide a lasting memorial to the Worcestershire Yeomanry and has been funded by Cllr Richard Udall and the Worcestershire County Council Divisional Fund and supported by Worcestershire Stone Masons of Hylton Road, Worcester.

Cllr Udall said: “I am delighted to be funding the beautiful commemorative sculpture. It is important that we mark the anniversary and, on its centenary it feels like the right moment to create a lasting memorial for future generations to enjoy. I hope people who see the sculpture are reminded of the sacrifice many made during the First World War and are inspired to come and find out more at the exhibition at the Worcestershire Soldier Gallery.”

Qatia 100 is part of the Worcestershire World War One Hundred project. Funded by £353,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Worcestershire World War One Hundred is one of the largest programme of events across England commemorating the First World War involving cultural and heritage organisations County-wide through until 2018.

Further information about the Qatia 100 Commemorations can be found on the Friends of the Worcestershire Yeomanry Museum Facebook page and www.ww1worcestershire.co.uk.