Student curator of our current exhibition ‘The Land Endures: Bringing Sunset Song to Life’, Sebastien tells us about his favourite objects in the exhibition and why he finds them so fascinating:
‘These four objects are part of a collection of First World War medals awarded to Charles Luther Gordon, a 2185 Private Gordon highlander soldier. Private Gordon served in 1st Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders and later joined the regiment in Accrington, Lancashire. These medals include the 1914-15 Star, a British War Medal 1914-20, a Victory Medal 1914-18, and a ‘Dead man’s penny’ for a soldier killed in action on 2nd March 1916.
I chose these objects as I wanted to research something a little different from the objects that highlight home-life in North East Scotland which make up a large amount of the exhibition. While these objects represent an integral part of the history of North East Scotland, I feel the medals are equally as important. The Gordon Highlanders were an integral part of the British Army since the Napoleonic Wars in 1794, under Duke Gordon’s tutelage. In my opinion, these medals are a very important to exploring north East Scotland’s importance as a region in a wider context.
I found the link of these medals to the novel Sunset Song particularly interesting as well. For example the 1914-15 Star is used to represent Chae Strachan and his excitement when the war began, resulting in his early departure to the Western front. This early period also represent’s Chae’s brief exposure to the traumatic experiences of war and how this completely changed his personality, frequently questioning the Kinraddie community’s behaviour and wrongdoing. Moreover ,the British War Medal and Victory Medal could both represent Long Rob and Chae for participating in the First World War itself. Finally, the Dead Man’s Penny represents Long Rob and Chae’s commemoration of their brave deaths.
Thanks you for reading and stay tuned for more discoveries at the exhibition, hope to see you there!’
Written by Sebastien Raybaud, Student Curator