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Lest We Forget

Back in 2008, Oxford University launched The Great War Archive, a mass-digitisation project that successfully gathered over 6,500 materials relating to the First World War held by the general public. Building on from this success, Lest We Forget is a brand new initiative to save as many more pictures, letters and memories as possible through community-based collection days across the country. We are currently seeking to raise £80,000 to fund training days for local volunteers, acquire equipment, and offer outreach events.

Building on from the success of the ‘Great War Archive’ in 2008, a mass-digitisation project that attracted the direct submission of over 6,500 items (now available online), we want to go even further and rescue the many remaining traces of the war in attics, drawers, and cupboards in homes across the UK still waiting to be uncovered.

With the loss of all veterans of 1914-1918, and the rapid fading of those years from living memory, this campaign provides one final effort to ensure that as much material as possible is saved for posterity before it’s too late. These centenary years have provided an important impetus for a renewed interest in the generation that fought the conflict, but we want to ensure that memory lives on beyond 2018.

Training local volunteers in archival recording skills, the Lest We Forget initiative seeks to actively engage communities nationwide in the digital preservation of documents, photographs, and memorabilia. Local schools, care homes, and community groups will be invited to partake in dedicated training events and take a lead in collection days for members of the public to share family collections.

Every item collected will then be published in 2018 on a free-to-use online database for children, scholars, and the wider public alike to promote understanding of the Great War, further historical research, and secure the stories of those who lived through it.

However, we cannot achieve this alone: from 5th June 2017, our crowdfunding site is live as we raise the £80,000 required for training days, outreach activities, and equipment.

Any donation, no matter how small, is welcome. Donate today via: https://oxreach.hubbub.net/p/lestweforget/ or by cheque to S. D. Lee, 13 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6NN made payable to: Oxford University Development Trust. Please make sure to enclose your name and address.