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Strabane remembers its fallen sons in new exhibition

13 November 2018

A special installation in honour of those from the Strabane area who fought and lost their lives in the First World War launched at the Alley Theatre this week.

The exhibition, titled The Lost, which is hosted by Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Heritage and Museum Service in partnership with the Alley Theatre, marks the centenary of the signing of the Armistice, and features a range of artefacts from the time, many provided by local families. 

Opening the exhibition, the Deputy Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Ald Derek Hussey, said it was important to share the local stories of ordinary people caught up in the conflict.

“I am delighted to see this installation marking the centenary since the guns fell silent and what became known as the ‘War to end all wars’ finally came to a close,” he declared.

“This was a conflict which touched lives across the world, and I think it’s vitally important that our own local stories are recorded and shared as part of that global story. While they died on distant shores, this is our way of bringing them home, and ensuring that they are remembered and celebrated for their bravery and their selflessness.”

A special call out was issued over the summer for people to come forward with information about the hundreds of local men and boys who fought during the war, to help piece together the stories of their lives.

Adrian Beattie from Derry City and Strabane District Council said the installation would shine a light on the individuals behind the statistics. “On Thursday August 27 1914 Edward Coyle, from Urney near Strabane, became a statistic. He became one of the first men from the Strabane area to be killed in the First World War. Over the next four years he was followed by over 350 men and boys from around this area in the ‘War to end wars’.

“For the first time we have gathered as complete a record as has ever been attempted, of every fatality from the area on a day by day timeline. We hope the installation - though stark in its simplicity - will give substance to these names, who after a century have become almost shadows. It reveals them as sons, brothers, fathers, farmers, mill workers, mechanics - just ordinary people who fell a long, long way from home.  This installation is more than just a mute roll call, it is a story, telling of lives cut short and lives changed forever.”

‘The Lost’ Runs from 13th November until 8th Dec 10am – 5pm Monday – Saturday. Admission is free.