News & Opportunities

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Petersfield Museum on ITV

Congratulations to Petersfield Museum for their part in a story that is gaining national attention and helping to demonstrate the value of museums in their communities.

ITV are visiting Petersfield to film Education and Outreach officer Amanda Harwood and the museum, for a programme that will air in August to coincide with the centenary of the First World War.

It all relates discovery Amanda made earlier this March, Amanda tells the story:

"In March, a local gentleman, Mr Paul Cormack, approached the Museum about loaning  us some items that belonged to his uncle, a pilot who was killed during the First World War for an exhibition I was putting together. His uncle had joined the Royal Flying Corp in September 1918 and was shot down in October 1918, just 2 weeks before the end of the War.

"He informed me that his uncle, Philip Cormack, was never found and he was listed on the Arras Flying service memorial that commemorates those who have no known grave. He loaned the Museum many personal items, correspondence and photographs which were used to put together the exhibition.

"However, as I was doing final preparation for the exhibition opening it became apparent to me that Philip Cormack was not in fact listed on the Arras memorial as I had been told. I looked into this further and found out that he is in fact buried in a French Military Cemetery in Belgium.  I studied this story further and discovered that in 2009, a local researcher in Belgium came across the grave of a 'Cormack P.F' in Machelen French Military Cemetery, the grave was marked with a French cross. After researching French military records, he discovered that no French personnel with that name were killed in the First World War and contacted the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) about his find.

"In December 2013, the CWGC confirmed that Philip was buried here and replaced his French cross with a Commonwealth headstone and his name was removed from the Arras War Memorial.

"This information was never shared with his family, until I informed the Cormack family and sent them the images and certificates that I had found. They were truly touched and grateful and have finally found out what happened to their relative who has been missing for 96 years."

ITV will accompany the family as they visit Philip's grave for the first time, they will tell Philip's story and interview Amanda about the part she played in helping the family. This is great publicity for the Museum and will highlight the great impact museums have on their local communities.