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People's War volunteers wanted
Soldiers on D-Day
World War II memories are what we're after ...
Last updated: 18 April 2005 1259 BST
lineCan you help the BBC undertake its biggest-ever history project? We need an army of volunteers to collect WW2 memories.
(April 2005)

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'What's the Second World War got to do with life today?' you might wonder.

Ever flown abroad on holiday? Been ill and treated with penicillin? Or are you a wife or mum who combines running a home with earning a living? Well, you have World War Two to thank for it.

Whatever your views on the rights or wrongs of war, Britain and the world would look a very different place if the Second World War had never happened.


Frank Whittle

The quest for superiority over the Germans in the air led to the development of the jet engine (thanks to Frank Whittle and the Gloster Aircraft Company). Penicillin was developed to treat war injuries. And before the war effort required them to step into men's shoes in Britain's fields and factories, it was traditional for a woman to give up paid work to be a housewife as soon as she had a wedding ring on her finger and working mums were unheard of.

If we bother to listen, people who lived through World War Two, and are still here to tell the tale, have fascinating stories which are an important part of our social history. Because it wasn't just on the front line that the battle was fought, sacrifices were made and lives lost.

Preserving memories

The BBC People's War project wants to preserve as many of these memories as possible before it's too late - but we need YOUR help to do it.

The aim is to create the biggest-ever online archive of personal reminiscences of living through the Second World War, so future generations will know what it was like in every walk of life.

We want to collect at least 5,000 reminiscences in the West of England alone from the declining number of people who have firsthand experience of the conflict and its effects - before those memories are lost forever.


Wartime picture

BBC Gloucestershire's Action Desk is looking for people to help with this huge story-gathering task. We need volunteers who are willing to ask elderly people about their war memories, then help add these to the BBC People's War website.

All the stories gathered will build a massive educational and historical resource, painting a vivid picture of wartime life from front line to home front, in Britain and across the Commonwealth.

You can help if you:

  • Are a student looking to improve interviewing and/or research skills - particularly if you are studying history, journalism, or interested for a media career.
  • Are familiar with word-processing and using the Internet.
  • Work for or are involved with an organisation that has contact with elderly people and could help get a group together to share their war stories.

Get in touch!

If you want to play your part in the BBC People's War get in touch with the BBC Gloucestershire Action Desk. Simply telephone 01452 331133 or e-mail Martin Evans.

You can also discover more by calling in at the BBC Learning Centre on Eastgate Street anytime. The centre is also holding a People's War Day on Saturday April 23 between 10am and 4pm.

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2005 Archive
Check out the 2005 Features archive for past stories from the website

2004 Archive
Check out the 2004 Features archive for past stories from the website

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