More than 150 volunteers are now working on a West Sussex County Council Libraries project about the first world war. As the centenary approaches in 2014, the volunteers are recording its impact on West Sussex residents.
The Great War Project began last September with a £90,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant. A project manager has since been appointed, and the volunteers are carrying out detailed research.
“We have now reached the halfway mark, and the project is all set to be an enormous success,” said Lionel Barnard, County Council Cabinet Member who oversees the Library service.
Around 80 volunteers are listing important events and people using digitised local newspapers from the time. Another 70 volunteers are researching case studies of individual servicemen including boy soldiers, nurses, and topics such as airships, coastal defences, conscientious objectors, rationing and the way enemy aliens were treated.
“West Sussex Record Office are a key partner who have provided access to hundreds of documents from the Royal Sussex Regiment archive. Volunteers have digitised more than 19,000 pages from the archive,” continued Lionel.
In August a new book will be published, along with a dedicated website and travelling display, all on the theme of West Sussex and the Great War.
The County Record Office, will then have 10 local newspapers from 1914-1925 available on DVD, all searchable by keyword.
The Project still wants residents to donate – or lend – photographs from the period for scanning. These can be pictures of West Sussex servicemen, nurses, women war workers, POWs, or general street scenes and events featuring any places in the County during the 1914-18 war.