In 2009 Sam Sweeney, fiddle player with Bellowhead, bought a violin in Oxford. It had all the appearance of a new instrument but the label inside gave the date 1915 and the name Richard S Howard. Research revealed that the violin had been made – but never finished – by a luthier and some-time music-hall performer from Leeds called Richard Spencer Howard. He had been conscripted in 1915 at the age of 35 and two years later was killed during the battle of Messines Ridge.
His violin had been left unfinished in his workshop and was finally finished by luthier Roger Claridge in 2007. The fiddle was then placed in the window of an Oxford music shop where it was spotted by Sam. The show brings the reality of the First World War vividly to life through the eyes of an ordinary man, his family and his comrades using story, music and film as well as playing the actual fiddle that Richard Howard started but never had the chance to finish.