This project is now closed

The Unremembered: World War One’s Army of Workers (2018)

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

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 to remember the courage and contribution of Labour Corps from across the world, presenting their forgotten history.

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 Read more news about The Unremembered here.

A nation commemorates The Unremembered

Big Ideas collaborated with Out of Home advertising company Clear Channel to ensure that the contribution of the Labour Corps is remembered during November this year as part of the national commemoration of Armistice100.

We invited community groups and individuals across the UK to take part in this national campaign which commemorates 100 individuals representing the global story of the Labour Corps for the Armistice Centenary. The Unremembered100 photo tributes will be shown in public spaces across digital advertising sites throughout the month of November. If you’ve taken part in this project, find your photo tribute in the gallery below.

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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.

The Unremembered 2018: A nation remembers the forgotten workers of World War One

“We are over the moon to see the photographs of our wreaths on display and to know that we have contributed to this memorable project…We will be keeping an eye open for future Big Ideas projects as our students thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”

Mrs Lisa Mouland from Amery Hill School

Read the full case study here >

How you can get involved in The Unremembered

Even though the project has ended you can still access our high quality free resources by clicking the button below.

Keep up-to-date with the project

You can share your stories with us and how you’re getting involved with The Unremembered on social media using #Unremembered.

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 The Unremembered group

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The Unremembered is led by Big Ideas and funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), with additional funding from a National Lottery grant from the Big Lottery Fund to work in the Home Nations. The Unremembered is part of Remember Together, which brings diverse communities together to commemorate shared – and often sidelined – heritage, bringing significant marginalised heritage into the mainstream.