Universities at War is a project to tell the lost stories of Newcastle and Durham University students, alumni and staff who fell during the First World War. The project was awarded £7,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), from its ‘First World War: then and now’ programme. The project focuses on expanding on the work of staff and students from both universities to tell the stories of their fallen alumni by working with volunteers across the region and beyond.

With help from heritage professionals, the information gathered by volunteers will be digitally recorded in an online resource which everyone can access and contribute to. Research into these important stories will be promoted through public events and an exhibition in 2017 showcasing the work of the volunteers. Both Universities will also work with local schools to help young people understand the local impact of the conflict and develop the skills to research their own memorials.

Commenting on the award, Newcastle University Archivist Ian Johnson said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund to engage the public in the important aim to make these fallen more than just names on a memorial. As many of these fallen were local and the commemorations have sparked everyone’s interest nationally, we know the experts are in our communities and we want them to get in touch to make this a success through credited contributions.”

Ivor Crowther, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North East, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. In this Centenary year we’re pleased to fund this project which will provide a truly personal link to the conflict and ensure the stories of Durham and Newcastle alumni are heard and remembered.”

Both Universities invite anyone interested in learning more about the project to get in touch with the project team via our contact page.

Special thanks must go to Ian Johnson and Dr Jane Webster from Newcastle University whose amazing ideas started this project and who have both continued to give so much support to it, and to Alastair Fraser and Francis Gotto at Durham University, for their enthusiasm to join Newcastle University and make this a joint University project, and also for their continued support of the project over the last two years.  We would also like to thank the Tynemouth WWI Commemoration Project who gave the team so much helpful advice when they were starting and really helped to get the project off the ground.

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