One hundred years ago Surrey was playing its part in the first global war between modern, industrial nations. It was a war which demanded unimagined sacrifices by the county’s people, young and old, rich and poor. How did Surrey answer the call?
Surrey in the Great War: A County Remembers is a four year project, run by Surrey Heritage and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which aims to discover how the 1914-1918 conflict affected those left behind, in the county, on the Home Front. The project team is on the look-out for stories about people and places:
How did the Great War affect your family/town/village/school/workplace?
How did communities meet the challenge of the ever-growing demands for men, money and arms?
How did they face food shortages and air raids?
How did they respond to the arrival of soldiers from across the Empire, refugees from war-ravaged Belgium and enemy prisoners of war?
How did they feel about the cause for which they were fighting? Did some change their mind?
How did they come to terms with their losses and with the war’s terrible legacy?
The project will, over the course of the commemoration period (2014-2018), drive and coordinate new community-based research into the histories of individuals, communities, and organisations during the war years and will especially focus on engaging and inspiring people not currently actively involved in heritage to participate in and experience the thrill of exploring and understanding the past.
Through this ambitious project people of all ages and backgrounds across the entire county will come together with the common aim of creating a global, accessible and enduring resource which will tell Surrey’s story during the Great War. The project team will travel the length and breadth of the county to collect information about the impact of the war on the county. In addition, they will host research surgeries, roadshows and project showcase days, as well as hosting information stands at external events.
The lasting legacy will be this website, recording the lives and service of all the men and women whose names are on war memorials in Surrey. It will not only be a comprehensive 21st century digital memorial but also a resource to enable people to explore, discover and understand the impact of the war on their local area and community.
Other outputs of the project will include a commemorative book, bringing all of Surrey’s Home Front stories together; a series of walking apps, giving users the chance to walk in the footsteps of Surrey’s men and women during the war; and an educational pack, allowing schools to access the project’s findings, and embedding knowledge of the Great War in Surrey in the minds of younger generations, keeping those war-time memories alive.
Unlike in 1914 there are no age or height restrictions! Schools and colleges, community groups and local societies, experienced researchers and novices with a thirst to discover – all are welcome. We need volunteers throughout the county to help us. Find out more about how to volunteer.
Surrey Heritage, through this project, calls you to enlist and help create a worthy tribute to the courage, sacrifice and stoicism of Surrey’s people a century ago.
Project Funders and Supporters
The project team would like to thank all of its funders and partners:
The National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund
Cyril Pearce, University of Leeds
Regimental museums and archives
Local history centres and societies
Surrey’s Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme co-ordinator
All those individuals and groups (faith, sports, community and others) who have embraced the project and taken up the challenge of uncovering Surrey’s Great War heritage.