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

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 and more – are rarely acknowledged today.

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We invite 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 will deliver 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.


Commemorate the British Labour Corps

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 in the Labour Corps during the First World War. Funding, free resources and project support are available. Visit our take part page to find out more.

Special opportunity: we need your help

We are looking for groups to appear on digital advertising boards at bus stops and public spaces across the UK in unique photo tributes for the Labour Corps for Unremembered100.

To take part, groups are invited to send their photo tributes holding up the Unremembered100 names in front of the camera. The names have been selected to represent a cross section of the wider story of hundreds of thousands of people from across the world who served in this capacity.

Download the following document for more information and to find out how you can take part:
Unremembered100 billboards document

“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 >

The Unremembered 2018 launch event at the National Army Museum:

How you can get involved in The Unremembered

Email us at to take part and for further information.

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.

 @Big_Ideas_Co          Big Ideas       _bigideas

 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.