This project has now closed.

The Unremembered: World War One’s Army of Workers (2017)

The Unremembered 2017 was funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and led by Big Ideas. This community engagement project was a campaign to raise awareness of the contribution of the Labour Corps as part of the WW1 centenary.

We invited communities to commemorate the brave sacrifices of the Labour Corps and their heroic contribution to the war effort by holding their own event for The Unremembered. With funding and support from the MHCLG, we delivered a series of initiatives each month to remember the courage and contribution of Labour Corps from across the world, presenting their forgotten history.

Who were the Labour Corps?

Image: Collection of John Sheen author of histories of the Northumberland Fusiliers and Durham Light Infantry.

The Labour Corps supplied the army with weapons and ammunition, food and fodder, water and fuel. They built and maintained roads and railways. They were essential to the war effort.

British and Allied Forces struggled to cope with the demand for manpower after the huge losses of men during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. From January 1917, manpower was drawn from the UK, China, India, South Africa, Egypt, Canada, the Caribbean and many other places within the British Empire.

Tens of thousands travelled thousands of miles to defend freedom and although they rarely saw service in the frontline, many died or were seriously injured. Today their contributions and sacrifice are all but forgotten. They are The Unremembered.

Watch our trailer from the launch of the project in 2017:


MHCLG logo 

The Unremembered 2017 was funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The Unremembered 2017 was part of Remember Together, which brings diverse communities together to commemorate shared – and often sidelined – heritage, bringing significant marginalised heritage into the mainstream.