Re-enactment groups across the country are gearing up for a living weekend at Park Hall Farm’s WW1 trenches in Oswestry. Troops will be taking park in the 48 Hour Trench Experience from 20-22 March 2020. The trenches will be open to the public on the Saturday and Sunday of the event via guided tours.
The organisers will be using pyrotechnics throughout the weekend to bring the experience to life. There will be controlled black powder ground explosions and simulated gas attacks with smoke. Around twenty men will be hunkering down at the trenches for the entirety of the 48 hours, with two attendees from Belgium travelling over especially for the event. All of the troops will be armed with rifles and bayonets.
Organiser, Micah Dominic Parsons shared the motivation behind the event, he said, “The whole ethos of the event is to provide a unique insight and snapshot experience for those living in the trenches and for visitors, who will be able to appreciate what life was like for soldiers during the war.”
Steven Davies describes the point in history they will be re-visiting, “On the morning of the 13th October 1915, the 1/5th North Staffords (a territorial battalion formed from the men of the Potteries) began an assault on the Hohenzollern Redoubt, a heavily fortified section of the German Front Line near Loos. The 1/5th suffered 500 casualties during the assault with only 200 men escaping unscathed. In the words of Private Sidney Richards, scribbling in his pocket diary on the evening of the 13th: ‘It was absolute hell with the lid off. Dying and wounded all over the place. I shall never forget this day…’
“Attendees will experience the days leading up to October 13th, 1915, with troops massing in the front line. The event will be run authentically for 48 hours, with full trench routine, including stand to at sunup and sundown, rum rations, sentries, and much more. It will be a very enthralling weekend for everyone taking part.”
Guided tours will take place on the hour from 11am until 3pm on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 March. Due to the pyrotechnics involved, tour numbers will be limited.