Plea for family memories of First World War

Borderers are being urged to share their familys World War I experiences as part of a two-year project run by Live Borders Museums, Archives and Library Services.
Borderers are being urged to share their familys World War I experiences as part of a two-year project run by Live Borders Museums, Archives and Library Services.

Borderers are being urged to share their family’s First World War experiences as part of a two-year project being run by Live Borders’ museums, archives and library services team.

Subsidised by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Armed Forces community covenant, the project, called Saving and Sharing Scottish Borders Stories of the Great War, aims to document the region’s social and family heritage of this momentous period in history by recording material in various formats so that it can be made widely available and preserved for future generations.

This Saturday, a free event will take place between 10am and 2.30pm, at Selkirk Parish Church Hall.

People are invited to take along their families’ First World War letters, diaries, photographs and more to share their predecessors’ stories.

Members of the public can also contact the Heritage Hub, in Kirkstile, Hawick, on 01450 360699 or email archives@liveborders1.org.uk to take part in the project.

Ewan Jackson, chief executive of Live Borders, said: “This is an opportunity for us all to recognise the contribution to the war effort made by individuals and families across the Borders.”

As part of the Selkirk event, John Nichol and Hilary Bell will perform extracts from War and Glaur at 11.30am, and at 1.30pm Alan Cumming presents a talk on Scottish women’s hospitals during the period.

The Selkirk and Ettrick Forest branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland will be providing refreshments, with all proceeds going to the Poppy Scotland appeal.

They will also be asking for help to reunite war items from their collection with family members.

For many, both at home and on the front line, poetry provided a means of expressing the extreme experiences of war.

The project will also be exhibiting a selection of Borders First World War poetry in libraries in early 2017 and is looking to complement it with three contemporary pieces.

For the past two months, members of the public have been submitting poems inspired by the Borders’ experience of the 1914-18 war and, with a closing date of Thursday, December 1, there is still time to send entries in.

Project officer Morag Cockburn said: “Throughout the project, we have been struck by the prevalence of poetry in a range of sources, from newspapers and publications to private letters home from the front.

“Poetry, in a range of styles, seems to have been a tool to help Borderers make sense of the conflict. 100 years on, this competition will encourage people to reflect on the impact of the war on the Borders.”

Entry forms can be collected from libraries or downloaded from www.liveborders.org.uk/libraries_and_ archives