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Talk to shine light on life of Strabane World War I veteran

23 November 2018

A special talk will take place in ‘The Lost’ Gallery at the Alley Theatre next week, revealing more about the life of a First World War veteran from Strabane as revealed in a series of poignant correspondence.

Bredin Delap was the son of a well-known Strabane Minister who fought at the Battle of Jutland. On Monday November 26th, Clare Ablett, Curatorial Assistant with National Museums Northern Ireland, will be sharing the finding of an incredible letter archive from the Delap family, who lived in Strabane in the early 20th Century.

The talk will take place at 7pm in ‘The Lost’ Gallery and will reveal how the archive paints a fascinating picture of the life of the veteran and the Delap family.

Speaking ahead of the event, Clare explained the origin of the archive. “The letters we have in the archive are from the family of a gentleman who served at the Battle of Jutland rather than from the man himself. The correspondence is written to him from family and friends with additional documents which chart his whole life growing up in Strabane as one of eight siblings. They shine a light on his military career from joining up as a naval cadet in 1913 and his progression through the ranks until he left the navy in 1923, to his attempts to find a job. It is a really fascinating glimpse at the lives of a family caught up in some of the most dramatic historic events of the 20th century.”

Clare Ablett is currently based within the History Department as Curatorial Assistant, having been with National Museums NI since the reopening of the Ulster Museum in October 2009. She is also Project Officer for the WW1 Engagement Centre Living Legacies, based at Queen’s University Belfast. Her background is as a field archaeologist working in Ireland, and she has been involved in heritage projects at both national and local level.

The event is one of a series taking place as part of the Creative Centenaries programme organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Good Relations team working in conjunction with the Tower Museum. Events focus on the commemorations marking centenaries and semi-centennial anniversaries, particularly around the First World War and the 50th anniversary of the birth of the Civil Rights movement and the beginning of the Troubles.

Education Officer with the Tower Museum, Ronan McConnell, said: “These are local stories about local people who have played a role in shaping our own history so it’s important to document them and share them with future generations. Our events are intended to showcase collections and the stories behind them by engaging audiences directly within the exhibition galleries rather than a separate space without interpretation.”

The series is funded by The Executive Office via Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Good Relations Programme. The Making History Exhibition is funded by the Peace IV programme. The PEACE IV Programme is supported by the European Union, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match-funding has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.

All the events are free and everyone is welcome to attend. If you would like to book a place for any of the events please contact [email protected]