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WWI drawing found during DIY

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By Fiona Reid
Nostalgia
WWI drawing found during DIY

WHEN Callum Boyd decided to do some home decorating, he never expected to stumble across a World War One mystery.

Callum lives in Victory Avenue in Gretna and was carrying out some maintenance when he discovered a wall painting on the plaster. It showed a grave with a cross containing the words: “Here lies the body of Jack Ellmenery or Elmenwery (?) Departed this life for the country’s good AD 1916”.

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Intrigued, he contacted the team at the Devil’s Porridge Museum to try and find out more.

Manager Judith Hewitt said: “It’s a mystery really and we’re intrigued by it.

“Callum thought the picture would be of interest to us at the museum as our main focus is to share the story of the greatest factory on earth in World War One and he was right!”

She explained the property was built in WWI to house some of the 30,000 workers who worked in munitions at HM Factory Gretna. And she thinks the artist must have a connection to that time.

Judith said: “The picture raises a lot of questions for us. It seems likely Jack died in World War One, but who was he and what was his connection with HM Factory Gretna?

“While we can’t help wondering who drew the picture, it is doubtful we will find out – but you never know! It may have been drawn by one of the 10,000 navvies who built the factory and the townships of Eastriggs and Gretna, or it may have been drawn by one of the 12,000 Gretna Girls who mixed the devil’s porridge. We will do our best to find out.”

She added: “While the actual piece of plaster sadly crumbled to nothing, we are pleased to have the photographs and are really grateful to Callum for sharing them with us.

“I think it is amazing what history there is right in front of our noses (or hidden in our houses!).”

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