Image of RAF squad from WWII

Memories of war - an introduction

An introduction by Richard Gallon describing the background to the Memories of War oral history project.

On 7 November 2003, Library Services at Home (LSAH) began interviewing clients who had served in the armed forces during World War Two. The purpose of this oral history project was to capture personal experiences from this historical period and create a permanent record for future generations. With assistance from the Royal British Legion, we found a diverse group of eight men and two women who had served right across the globe in the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force during the conflict.

The interviews were recorded on tape, and then transcribed and edited, resulting in the production of a travelling display and several physical copies available for general loan. June 2004 saw the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, so it was the perfect time to release the project. We had an amazing launch day at LSAH attended by the participants and their families, the Royal British Legion, the Sutton Coldfield Sea Cadet’s Band, the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, and many other dignitaries. Carl Chinn broadcast his WM radio show from LSAH and Laurie Hornsby performed a set of sing-a-long oldies.

Along with my colleague Carl Hughes, I will never forget conducting these interviews. We at LSAH are indebted to the participants for trusting us with their emotional recollections.

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