At a seminar hosted by the Imperial War Museum on HMS Belfast in London last Wednesday, I was able to meet with some of the hundreds of representatives of community projects, museums and universities who plan to commemorate the First World War.
A common theme was a determination that the contribution of every part of the United Kingdom to the war was acknowledged as we approach the centenary in 2014.
It became clear early in the seminar that the many projects today can harness the social and other media which abounds and use it for good, to engage with the younger generation and ensure that the lessons of that terrible conflict are not overlooked.
Research commissioned by the government has shown that there are varied perceptions amongst people of different generations and awareness of the war and its consequences.
Although a polling organisation, British Futures, has found diverse opinions on how best to commemorate the war, widespread interest in the centenary is obvious – including amongst ethnic minority communities, where there is strong interest in the role played by the more than two million troops drawn from the Indian Empire and other colonies.
The Imperial War Museum’s Centenary Projects database show that the main areas of activity are centred on exhibitions (276), one-off events (1443) and digitisation of information / web-based learning projects.
Like some others, the Tynemouth project is planning a wide range of events covering all of those noted and more.
The Imperial War Museum is developing a ‘timeline’ for the war to allow people with no special knowledge to better understand events and battles involving their relatives in the context of the conflict overall.
This will be available in the near future at its website – www.1914.org
In order that all the work being undertaken across the world can be made available readily, a system of direct data entry will allow Imperial War Museum recognised centenary projects such as Tynemouth’s to load information directly to the site.
Despite recent comment suggesting the UK is behind in its planning for 2014, I came away reassured that much is already in hand and that the Tynemouth project will be playing a full part in the nation’s collective commemoration.
You can now follow the Tynemouoth project on Twitter – @tynemouthWW1 – it has 345 followers already.
Anyone with information on this week’s casualties or anyone killed or died as a result of the war is asked to contact the project.
Visit www.tynemouthworldwarone.org, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Tynemouth World War 1 Commemoration Project, c/o Essell, 29 Howard Street,North Shields, NE30 1AR.
The project workroom at Room B9 Linskill Community Centre, Trevor Terrace, North Shields, is open from 10am to 4pm each weekday for visitors and for anyone interested to learn more about the project or how to get involved.
This week’s list gives details of men from the former Tynemouth Borough who were killed or died in the month of May 1918.
Coleman, Frank, age 21, Private, 14th Battalion NF, KIA, 27th, 8 Reed Street, son of Mrs Sarah Robson, previously employed as a fish curer. Soissons Memorial.
Cozens, John William Dent, age 36, Private, 25th Bnattalion DLI, died of infection, 4th, Northern General Hospital, Lincoln, 28th, born South Shields, son of late Samuel and Harriet Mather (nee Dent), husband of Adelaide Fanny, buried St John’s Cemetery, Westgate Road, was organist and choirmaster at Christ Church.
Gragg, Thomas John, KIA, 19th. Details needed.
Key: KIA – killed in action; DOW – died of wounds; NF – Northumberland Fusiliers; DLI – Durham Light Infantry.