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History project needs stories of First World War
PEOPLE will be able to share their family’s First World War history when a Europe-wide project comes to Oxfordshire.
Historians are seeking items from the 1914-18 Great War to share via the internet.
Roadshows are being held across Europe to collect and digitise items for the Europeana “digital museum” project.
Oxfordshire’s event will be held at Banbury Museum in Castle Quay shopping centre on Saturday, November 3, from 10am to 4.30pm.
Items being sought include photographs, letters, diaries, film or audio recordings along with family stories.
They will be photographed or scanned and uploaded to the Europeana website on the day.
Experts from the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, the Western Front Association and Oxford Museum Services will help visitors.
The project is being run in conjunction with Oxford University, The British Library and Government-funded digital education group JISC.
Europeana executive director Jill Cousins said: “Memorabilia and stories are kept by families.
“They are hidden archives containing very personal stories of great historical significance.
“That’s why our online archive, which is collecting material from across Europe in a series of roadshows, is so important.
“We want to encourage people to create their collective memory of a war that affected the everyday lives of virtually all Europeans, no matter which side they were on.”
Royal British Legion Oxfordshire chairman Jim Lewendon said: “It is a good idea. There is a lot of history, a lot of chaps served and never talked about it. Most were discharged and had to get on with their lives.”
Director of Oxford University IT services Dr Stuart Lee added: “The European project has successfully unearthed hidden treasures held by members of the public that add to our knowledge of the war.”
Stephen Barker, learning and participation manager at the Woodstock soldiers’ museum, said: “Their objects will tell us about a time passing from living memory, the story of the lives of Oxfordshire men, women and children in wartime.”
The project is also due to visit North Oxfordshire Academy, Banbury, next Friday to involve students in discovering their family’s wartime past.
Mr Barker will speak to pupils alongside representatives from the Western Front Association, Oxford University and the Army Cadets.
- Material can be uploaded at the website europeana 1914-1918.eu/en/contributor