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more stories from the first world war

The Limavady and the First World War exhibition has been open less than a week and some very interesting objects and stories have already come through our doors in response to the exhibition.

Yesterday, a gentleman called Cyril Roulston brought in a puzzle game called “Get Rid of Huns” The Great European Board Game. Produced during the First World War, the puzzle contains a number of counters which represent ‘the enemy’, namely, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Turkey. The puzzle also contains a piece of mercury which represents the European Allies – British Empire, France, Russia, Belgium, Italy and Serbia. The object of the puzzle is to fill each of the seven cut holes with some of the mercury while placing the appropriately coloured disc on the spot.

The term ‘Hun’ was a derogatory term which was widely used by Allied propaganda during the war to suggest the worst kind of conduct from the Germans; crushing neutral nations and imposing brutal rule upon conquered peoples. Many toys and games were designed during the First World War based upon the conflict both politically and militarily. This one is strictly political and produced before the entry into the war by the United States or before the withdrawal of Russia.

Cyril also showed me a postcard relating to his father who served in the conflict, Trooper William Thomas Roulston. Originally from Co. Donegal, Roulston joined the army in Derry/Londonderry in September 1914 and served with the North Irish Horse. He was wounded on 12 April 1915 and continued service with the Royal Irish Fusiliers and Tank Corps before being demobbed on 12 March 1919.

Cyril discovered the postcard at a market stall in Donegal Pass, Belfast in 1998. Written from the field on 17 April 1915 to a house in Waterside, Londonderry, it states, “Am still well, as you will see by above we have changed our address. Hope you got my last letter and card. I suppose you have heard that Roulstone was wounded. He had a narrow escape from being blown to bits. Write soon, Sam.” Cyril does not know who the writer or recipient of the postcard was, but the date and address of the postcard, coupled with the mention of ‘Roulstone’, certainly seems to suggest that Cyril found a postcard relating to his father’s wounding some 83 years after the event!

The puzzle game is now on display in the Limavady and the First World War exhibition. Pictures of the game and postcard can be found on Limavady Museum’s Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.529546517059614.134624.433030093377924&type=1

The V&A Museum has a version of the puzzle game in its collections. To find out more about the puzzle click here:

http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O11764/get-rid-of-huns-maze-puzzle/

This entry was posted on September 14th, 2012 at 1:29 pm by Victoria Newberry

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