14 June 2016 14:28

A local history project is all set to launch an interactive website packed with fascinating true-life stories about the Lancaster and district community during the First World War.

The new-look ‘Streets of Mourning Project’ site will officially go live at Lancaster Castle on June 25 during Armed Forces Weekend.

Two years ago the project team, which included Lancaster University researchers, mapped Lancaster’s lost WW1 soldiers onto the streets where they lived, enabling people to click on a street name on a unique, interactive map to see how the war impacted on a particular city area.

The new website has increased functionality.

The original ‘Reveille’ website created by the Lancaster Military Heritage Group gave the details of each casualty, by name, listed on Lancaster’s War Memorial in the Memorial Gardens at the Town Hall. Now people can search by street, school, employer or name.

The new site will also tell the tale of the whole community at war including those who stayed at home.

Lancaster Military Heritage Group, Lancaster Civic Society and the King’s Own Regiment Museum and a team of researchers from Lancaster University recently secured funding to look at how the war impacted on the people at home.

They are keen to hear from anyone who has a story to tell about Lancaster in WW1. The focus will be on the soldiers who came home, the men who stayed at home and the women and children who waited for loved ones to return from the front line.

“We want to supplement the stories already told with stories passed down from generation to generation – those tales which are not part of the public records,” explains Dr Corinna Peniston-Bird, a Senior Lecturer in Lancaster University’s History Department.

“One moving story we gleaned recently was about John Griffin who went missing in 1915,” she explains. “When his mother died, the family found all of his possessions carefully stored in a drawer. She had never accepted he would not be coming home.

 “We would love local people to share any relevant letters, photographs and stories with us.”

To that end, a team from the project will be at Armed Forces Day armed with scanners, cameras, recording equipment and volunteers. The team want to collect as many precious memories as possible.

The team will seek feedback from website visitors to enable them to make regular improvements.

For details of the project, please see the website: http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/greatwar/

Armed Forces Weekend runs from 10am to 4pm on Saturday June 25 at Lancaster Castle and at the same times on Sunday June 26 on Morecambe Promenade.