Start of the Battle of Verdun
The Verdun Offensive was an attempt by the Germans to end the stalemate with France. An area of barely 10 square kilometres, Verdun was perceived as the gateway to France. Considered one of the longest battles in history, it lasted from 21 February 1916 to 19 December 1916, resulting in some 700,000 casualties.
As preparations were made for Verdun, on 19 February 1916 the Richmond Herald reported on the Richmond War Exhibition at the Castle Assembly Rooms, planned as a means of raising money for the purchase of comforts for the “heroic homeless army in Flanders.”
According to the paper the exhibition, opened by former Queen Amelia of Portugal, included:
> Trophies of war from the battlefield
> Exhibition by the Belgian Soldier’s Fund
> Equipment with lectures and demonstrations
> A display on the history of aviation, from the first channel flight to Zeppelin Destroyers
> A stand organised by the Richmond War Worker’s Supply Depot
The Castle Assembly Rooms were on Whittaker Avenue, across from the Old Town Hall, now home to the Museum of Richmond.
Footage of Queen Amelia visiting Richmond during the war can be watched on the British Pathé website here.