AN exhibition about Henley during the First World War will open at the River and Rowing Museum next month.
One family whose story will be told is the Greens. Tom G W Green was a boatbuilder and waterman. He used his winnings from the Doggett’s Coat and Badge Race in 1872 to purchase his boathouse, which was described as a “rat-infested shack”. Here, he built boats which he hired to local rowing clubs.
When the war came, business changed very little but Tom lost a son, Harold, who was killed in action in 1918.
Harold’s letters home were preserved and will be displayed at the museum, providing an invaluable insight into life in the trenches.
In his first letter, dated June 29, 1917, he thanks his mother for a parcel of writing material and informs her that he has been so unwell that he may have to miss an forthcoming march. He asks for very little, just some eggs or something else to strengthen him so that he may continue with his duties.