Harwich war story to be told with help from lottery grant

A stereo card image of German submarines moored at Harwich at the end of World War I, November 1918. The vessels were surrendered to Britain under the terms of the armistice signed by Germany. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption German submarines were moored at Harwich at the end of World War One in November 1918

A project to mark a town's important role in both world wars has been given a grant of £319,000.

The Heritage Lottery Fund will help pay for a two-year series of events in Harwich, Essex, to include art, films, re-enactments and history-walks.

It will focus on the surrender of the German U-boat fleet in 1918 and the Kindertransport, when Jewish children came to the UK via the town from 1938.

Activities will be focussed on a three-week period in November 2018.

This will start on Armistice Day, 11 November, and will mark the centenary of the surrender of about 175 German U-boats on 21 November 1918.

The boats were escorted by British ships into the River Stour estuary.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Some of the Jewish children who arrived in Harwich from Germany were temporarily housed at Dovercourt camp

Special events will also be held on 3 December, the 80th anniversary of the arrival of the first Kindertransport refugees.

'Heritage almost lost'

This followed the devastation of Kristallnacht, when the Nazis organised anti-Semitic attacks in Germany and Austria.

About 10,000 children were evacuated and most arrived in the UK by ferry in Harwich.

Children without pre-arranged foster families were sheltered at temporary camps such as Dovercourt.

The events are being organised by not-for-profit organisation New Heritage Solutions. Its application for lottery funding said it was important to mark the town's important roles in both wars.

It said: "Surprisingly, save for the odd newspaper cutting, a very short archive film clip, some blurry photographs and a few paragraphs in specialist military histories, the surrender of the German U-Boat fleet at Harwich in November 1918 has all but faded away.

"This is a heritage that has almost been lost from public view, yet its importance here in the East of England and much wider afield is immense."

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