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Your group could contribute towards a resource pack with a unique focus on the experiences of people sidelined in history by researching and commemorating British men and women who served as Labour Corps in the First World War.

We are searching for groups across the UK to take part in our project to raise awareness of the lives and experiences of British men and women who served as Labour Corps during the First World War. Your projects will be used to create The Unremembered: The British Story resource pack. The pack will showcase the stories of individuals alongside the creative commemorative projects of community groups across the UK.

The Unremembered commemorates the Labour Corps from across the world who served in the First World War. Many died, but their contributions – carrying, building, washing, cleaning, cooking – are rarely acknowledged today.

The British Labour Corps was restructured in January 1917 to meet the demands of the unprecedented scale of the First World War. Although their work was essential to the war effort, many of those in the Labour Corps were men considered unsuitable for combat. Also, from 1917 close to 60,000 women enlisted in the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps (or QMAAC – formerly called the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps) and were stationed in the UK and France. Among their duties were clerical work, vehicle maintenance and catering.

Research on the British Labour Corps and QMAAC shared by your group could include anything which helps to tell the story of their experience during the First World War: letter exchanges between service personnel and family or friends, archive images, newspaper articles, poetry or songs. We are looking for research which paints a picture of the people involved and which helps us all understand the situations they experienced and the context in which they worked.

Let us know if you would like to work with a historian to explore local Labour Corps heritage as we can fund professional research input. Find out more by reading our British Labour Corps community research call out document and getting in touch with the Big Ideas team at theunremembered@big-ideas.org.

 

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