Volunteers are needed for a major project which will tell the previously untold personal stories of local people involved in the First World War.
The project will be launched on Monday, 4 August at the Treasure House, Beverley, exactly 100 years after the outbreak of the war which claimed so many millions of lives.
The East Riding Local Studies & Archive Service holds hundreds of photographs of local First World War soldiers, sailors and other people. East Riding of Yorkshire Council Archivist Lizzy Baker said: “These photographs show a really wide variety of people – men from all ranks and walks of life who were serving at the front, wounded, killed or awarded a medal. Unfortunately we know very little about these men other than their names and faces.”
The new project, ‘First World War Lives’ will bring to life the stories of these East Riding people. Volunteers will be researching in the archive research room. They will track down information on these First World War Lives and then write a short pen portrait or mini biography for the person. This will be displayed in a weekly changing exhibition in the Treasure House corridor for the next four years, marking the length of the war itself. All these files will then be stored at the Treasure House for public use.
The project will be launched, along with a free First World War Resource Guide at the Great War Local History Forum at the Treasure House on Monday, 4 August from 6pm-8pm. The Forum is a free drop-in for the public, where they will be an opportunity for people to go sign up to volunteer on the project and talk to other people who are interested in the war. It will be opened by the chairman of the East Riding, Councillor Pat O’Neil.
Councillor Richard Burton, portfolio holder for civic wellbeing and culture, added: “It’s important that we mark this hugely significant anniversary. We must never forget the contribution made by people of the East Riding in what turned out to be a conflict that changed the world for ever. I strongly encourage people to volunteer on the project and help the archive service tell the untold stories of local people in the First World War and for those to be remembered.”
Volunteers who are interested in helping with the project do not need any previous research experience as full training and regular support sessions will be available, although it would be useful if you have a basic level of computer literacy.
The archive service already has a team of dedicated volunteers who contribute a huge amount to the Treasure House.
Volunteer Anne Fletcher, who already helps with the archive service, said: “I have worked in archives and libraries in the past – I love history so the Treasure House is a great place for me. If you love history this is the place to volunteer!”
Volunteers can go along to the Treasure House in opening hours, including Tuesday and Thursday evening until 8pm and Saturday between 9am and 4pm, as well as the normal office hours.
Anyone who is interested in helping should contact the archive service on (01482) 392790 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer Anne Fletcher, left, and Treasure House assistant Geraldine Gray looking through some of the First World War archives