Ceredigion Museum is hosting the RNLI’s ‘Hope in the Great War’ exhibition, which honours the courage and determination of those who saved lives at sea as part of the First World War centenary commemorations. The family-friendly, interactive exhibition focuses on six heroic rescue stories from around the coast of the UK and Ireland. It also explores the fascinating history of Borth, Aberystwyth, New Quay and Cardigan Lifeboat stations.
Alice Briggs, Assistant Curator at Ceredigion Museum said, “Many people think of World War One as happening on the continent, but the UK coast saw heavy casualties, including merchant and passenger ships. ‘Hope in the Great War’ is a poignant reminder of all the people who risked, and lost, their lives on the sea as part of the war effort. ”
“We’ve taken the opportunity whilst ‘Hope in the Great War’ is on display to showcase the fantastic work of the RNLI in Ceredigion and its rich history. Roger Couch at New Quay Lifeboat station and David Jenkins of Aberystwyth station have been extremely generous in sharing their knowledge. In fact, there are so many fascinating stories that we will have to do another exhibition in the future that just focuses on Ceredigion!”
One of the stories Alice discovered is about Audrey Lawson Johnson, who survived the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 as a small baby. The passenger ship was torpedoed by a German submarine and sank in eighteen minutes, with a loss of 1198 lives, including both of Audrey’s sisters. Along with the Titanic, it was one of the greatest disasters at sea in history. Audrey spent her adult life fundraising for the RNLI and her work paid for the lifeboat at New Quay, which she asked to be named Amy Lea after her mother, who also survived the sinking.
The exhibition will also show objects from the Ceredigion Museum collection, including paintings of the John and Naomi Beattie lifeboat, an old style pulling and sailing lifeboat that had been stationed in Aberystwyth between 1906 and 1933. The exhibition runs until 30 June.