The History Lab…

October 6, 2008

…is the Institute for Historical Research’s network for postgraduate historians. It runs a seminar, at which Rob Dale, a PhD student at QMUL who has the bad luck to have me appointed as his ‘mentor’ will be speaking at the end of this month. And it has a blog, which I’ve now added to the sidebar.


BSA Memorial

October 6, 2008

Tomorrow night, I’ll be speaking to the Birmingham War Studies Seminar about British casualty figures for the Second World War. As a connected point of interest, therefore, here’s a site about the attempt to create a memorial to the workers killed when the BSA factory in Small Heath was bombed in November 1940. It’s an interesting example of the work of local commemoration, and I wonder whether the campaigners will enjoy more success as the Second World War slips over the boundary of lived memory.

90 Years of Remembrance

October 3, 2008

Beginning a push that has something of the last drive to victory about it, the BBC are gearing up for a multi-platform burst of remembrance this year. The website, run out of the ‘Religion’ section, interestingly enough, is promising a whole ‘campaign’:

With the aim of personalising the act of remembrance and bringing World War One vividly alive in the present, it will encourage individuals and families to look into the stories of their relatives that lived in the First World War through a variety of activities [shouldn’t there be a comma back there somewhere? I mean, I’m not surprised they lived through a variety of activities, I’m just not sure that’s what they mean]. From Oct 22nd:

  • Find out more about the events of the Great War on the website through the WW1 timeline and footage
  • Discover your WW1 family and local history through links to an array of family history sites
  • Post WW1 artefacts, photographs and memories about those who served to the online wall of remembrance
  • Browse the many WW1 stories already online including those of some familiar faces
  • View listings of all related programming on BBC television and radio throughout November with sneak previews available
  • Attend free remembrance events across the country on the weekend of the 8th and 9th of November
  • Sign up to BBC Remembrance’s texting service to receive the story of a local soldier who served in WW1

Although it’s only really supposed to get going on 22 October, some people have already added their thoughts.

Perhaps the most interesting feature at the moment is the archive of recordings from remembrance ceremonies at different points over the last sixty years.

Or you could watch Michael Palin tell you that a million Britons died in the First World War. The Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians are going to love being called British, I tell you.

More on the remembrance of the 90th anniversary of the war as it develops.