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28 June 1914 - Mametz Wood: An Introduction

The Assassination of the Austrian heir, Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary [now: Bosnia and Herzegovina] on the 28th June 1914 triggered a series of events that cumulated in the start of the First World War. Following the Austrian declaration of war on Serbia, Britain entered the war on 4th August 1914 following the German invasion of Belgium. The European network of alliances ensured that most of Europe, and by extension their colonial subjects and other foreign allies were brought into World War One.

Rapid technological advancements made in the late 19th and Early 20th centuries had caused the industrialisation of warfare, allowing for global warfare that had never been seen before on such a scale. Radically new weapons and strategies were developed and introduced by different countries in order to facilitate this over the course of the war, such as trench warfare, machine guns, and gas weapons. These new styles of warfare brought with them unprecedented levels of casualties, and the mass mobilisation of society to support all-out war.

Mametz Wood is just one conflict which took place over a five-day period in July 1916, within the wider battle of the Somme. Mametz Wood is of special interest to the Royal Welsh Regimental Museum due to the fact that a number of divisions, such as the 38th Welsh Division, 10th and 11th South Wales Borderers, and the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, were involved in the battle. This exhibition will focus on a variety of artefacts such as British and German weapons, war medals, military records, war diaries, and first-hand accounts of the conflict from soldiers. Through the examination of historical sources this exhibition aims to provide an insight into the experiences of the regiments involved in the fighting at Mametz Wood, and examine the legacy of the conflict on Welsh culture today.

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