Children and Military Lives Exhibition

Thursday 5th May 2022

  • Exhibition running from 1 June to 24 November 2022 at Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, Woodstock
  • Explores the experience of children of serving military personnel and also children who have been affected by conflict, historically and contemporarily.
  • Collaboration between charities – Soldiers of Oxfordshire Trust, War Toys, and Little Troopers.
  • Combines objects, personal stories, oral histories, art and photography.

Opening from 1 June and running until 24 November 2022, this new exhibition will tell the stories of today’s Service children (children of Serving British Armed Forces personnel) and their experiences of living life in the military community, as well as stories of children who become victims of war, experiencing the effects of military conflict – from Second World War evacuees to today’s refugees and asylum seekers.

With a focus on Oxfordshire people, our visitors can see and hear what living through conflict is like first hand, from recordings of evacuation memories to present day accounts from children who arrive in the county and experience a new culture here, processing their life experiences through art and personal stories.

To bring this exhibition to visitors, Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum have partnered with two charities, Little Troopers and Brian McCarty’s War Toys.

Little Troopers, a charity which supports all children who have parents serving in the British Armed Forces, will give visitors the opportunity to discover the stories and experiences of military children who have grown-up in the Armed Forces community. Explore how they cope with having their parents deployed overseas to different parts of the world; how they move house and school regularly, building friendships for what can be short periods of time and read and listen to their own reflections on what it’s like to have military parents as these young people start to consider their own adult lives.

Louise Fetigan, founder of Little Troopers, comments: “There are more than 100,000 children today who have parents serving in the British Armed Forces so it’s really important that we represent these children and give them the opportunity to tell their story and to share their unique experiences. Military life is full of challenge, change and adventure and this exhibit offers visitors a special insight into our Armed Forces community as seen through the eyes of military children.”

SOFO Museum has also collected accounts from children of the 1950s to 2000s, whose parents were part of the British forces. Frequently these children experienced traveling across the globe following in their father’s footsteps; often giving them unique life experiences they never forgot.

Also included in the exhibition, the unique photo series War Toys vividly brings to life the effects of war on children living in conflict zones around the world. Acting as their own art directors, children often living in refugee camps are given the opportunity to depict real scenes from their experiences using toys and the local terrain. The resulting images are impactful and thought provoking; giving us an insight into a world which is far removed from our experiences of watching news programmes covering the camps in war zones.

The exhibition will not only run throughout both Armed Forces Day and Refugee Week, but also the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. To mark the Jubilee, SOFO Museum will highlight the Queen’s own ‘military childhood’ and her Second World War service in the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service) with a timeline of the nation’s toys and books. We have gathered toys from the 1940s to the present day as we take a look at our enduring relationship with toys that depict war, from tin soldiers of yesterday to remote control drones of today.

Military children will be able to attend the museum for free if their accompanying adult shows a valid MOD90 card.



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