Wives and Sweethearts; Love on the Front Line Exhibition

 

 Wives and Sweethearts explores soldiers’ relationships from the 18th century to the present day through a deeply-moving selection of letters and photographs. Displayed alongside are sweetheart brooches, jewellery and other touching love-tokens.

 Explore the ‘Wives and Sweethearts’ online exhibition here.

 Divided into themes that address the different stages or aspects of soldiers’ love lives, the display asks why a relationship with a soldier is different from that with a civilian. Throughout history, how have those who have served in the Army combined their life with partners and families with their military duties?

 ‘Courtship and Engagement’ explores the beginnings of soldiers’ partnerships. The section focusing on weddings highlights the immense contrast between wartime and peacetime marriage ceremonies, especially in the 20th century. ‘Women of the Regiment’ looks at the roles of women in the Army during the 19th century, while the images brought together under the heading of ‘Army Families’ show more modern soldiers and their families.

 The largest part of the exhibition looks at what is perhaps the hardest aspect of life with a soldier; the long periods of separation it often entails. Finally, ‘Reunion’ takes into account the fact that soldiers’ return to their loved ones, although usually joyful in the long run, can often be painful and difficult at first.

 Highlights from the exhibition, revealing individual relationships and stories in poignant detail, include:

You can catch the exhibition until July 30th in the White Space Gallery at the National Army Museum, details of which can be found here.


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