Welcome to the Lest We Forget submission site

Here you can share your items, stories or memories related to the First World War or the people and places that were involved or affected. You can also see the stories and objects that have been shared by others. The site is used by organisers who have run a Digital Collection Day as part of the Lest We Forget project, but anyone from anywhere around the world is welcome to upload material that they have and want to share.

What are we looking for?

We welcome anything that originates from the First World War that you are willing to share with the rest of the world online as part of a major collection - things your family have kept or you have collected (letters, photos, diaries, memoirs, medals, souvenirs, uniforms, art, etc), information about anyone who lived through the war or was affected by it (serving personnel, adults and children on the home front, or key events during the war or directly related to it).

Above all we are interested in the story behind the items - who/where/what/when - or even just stories themselves passed down through your family that you'd like to record. We can take files in any format (e.g. photos of items, word documents, pdfs, and even audio or video files if you have recorded interviews).

For more information on the project as a whole visit our project web site or email us at ww1collections@it.ox.ac.uk. We are especially looking for volunteers who wish to run their own local Digital Collection Day. We can provide material and information to support you.

From the collection

  • Prisoner 53426

    My grandfather Wilhelm was 25 years old at the beginning of the war and came home at the age of 30. Terrifying how much lifetime the war robbed. He was captured in Gommecourt on July 1, 1916. It was the most western point of the German western front. Only a little bit to the south, on 1 July 1916, the Battle of the Somme began. Grandpa was very lucky, that he got out there right at the beginning! Did he see it that way - at least at the end of his life? Wilhelm arrived at Stobs on 11 August 1916 following hospitalisation for a bullet wound to his arm. He was later transfered to Catterick Camp in summer 1917 and various places on his way back to Germany following the war. Some mementos from the P/W camps in GB Wilhelm kept all his life and passed them down the family. During World War II Wilhelm’s son, also Wilhelm, was captured in France and below is a letter father wrote to son explaining, what had happened to him in the previous war. Lieber Wilhelm! 28.4.47 Zuerst will ich Dir mal Die Fragen beantworten.Ich kam am 1. Juli 16 in engl. Gefangenschaft b. Gommecourt, Richtung Arras- Amiens.Kam über Le Havre- Southampton auf etwa acht Wochen in ein engl. Lazarett. Von da aus nach Stobs near Harwick ins Lager.Im Sommer 17 gings nach Katterick. Im Frühjahr 18 nach Sheffield. Nach dem Waffenstillstand kam ich noch auf ein paar Tage nach einer Holzbearbeitungsstelle. Ein paar Wochen vor Weihnachten war ich im Lager Ly oder Ley. Im Frühjahr 19 kamen wir nach Franyo von hier aus wurden wir im Sommer mit drei Komp. gesammelt und kamen über Southampton nach Le Havre, also nochmals auf drei Monate nach Frankreich. Von Le Havre fuhren wir bis Arras. Dann folgte Marsch bis Eterpigny An der Straße Arras- Cambrai. Entlassung: 1.10.19. Auch letzt in Frankreich waren wir engl.Gefangene. Werdet Ihr bei Eurer Entlassung den Engländern wieder übergeben? Wie geht es Dir da jetzt? Hast Du noch Bekannte bei Dir? Es grüßt herzlich Dein Vater G. v. Alle Dear Wilhelm! 28.4.47 First I want to answer your questions. I was taken as p/w from the English on the 1. of July 1916 near Gommecourt, direction Arras-Amiens. I came over Le Havre - Southampton into an English Military Hospital for about eight weeks. From this place I came to Stobs near Hawick into a camp. In summer 17 we came to Catterick. In the Spring of 1918 we came to Sheffield. After the cease fire I still came for a few days to a woodworking site. A few weeks before Christmas I was in the camp Ly [Ely?] or Ley. In the spring of 1919 we came to Franyo [Fargo camp?]. From here we were gathered in the summer with three Comp. and came over Southampton to Le Havre, that meant once again three months in France. From Le Havre we drove to Arras. Then followed a march to Eterpigny on the road Arras- Cambrai. Release from captivity: 01.10.19. Until the end in France we were English prisoners. When you will be released, will they give you in the hands of the English? How are you there now? Do you still have acquaintance with you? I greet you from all my heart. Your father. Greetings from all of us
  • Postcard: "To My Dear Sister"

    This First World War postcard was found at St. Edward's Church, Stow-on-the-wold.
  • Letter from Oxford

    Charles Patrick Flanagan served in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War. This letter, written on 8 Nov 1917, was sent from his base in Oxford to his sister Agnes in Ireland. Charles later served in the Irish Air Force when the Irish Free State was formed. Charles was born on 12/5/1895 and died on 2/6/1926. He was sometimes known as O'Flanagan.
  • Autograph book from the Town Hall Hospital, Oxford

    Mrs Green (as I knew her) was my godmother's mother. Lily Green lived in 75 Walton Street, Oxford (not exactly an upmarket area). During the First World War Lily worked at the 3rd Southern general Hospital Oxford (in the Town Hall). I am not sure that she was a nurse. Lily kept an autograph book from 1912 all through her life. There are numerous poems, sketches and autographs from patients (wounded soldiers), colleagues including nurses, as well as family and friends. At the time of the War Miss Green, as she was then, lived at 24 New Inn Hall Street, Oxford. I remember Mrs Green as feisty. She was salt of the earth, and down to earth. She was a small lady, and she had a husky voice (probably a result of heavy smoking!)
  • Joseph Sobolewski

    Joseph Sobolewski came from Russia (modern Lithuania). He was born in Kalwary on 28th December 1872 andarrived in UK c.1900. His identity book (issued July 1918) includes a picture of him and thumbprint (because he was illiterate). According to the book, he was a cabinet maker and he is described as being 5’4 tall, medium build with blue eyes and brown hair. He is listed as a Russian Pole. The book also includes police stamps – these were to check movements (i.e. had to check-in with police when they moved). His passport, issued in 1918 by the Polish national committee, confirms him as Josef Sobolewski, an ‘alien friend.’ Numbered R/M G.A/513 (museum number [?]). It lists his children Anna (b. 1904) and Josef (b. 1906) and includes photograph (2 copies of same photograph in a strip). It gives the names of his parents, Bartomiej Sobolewski and Marjanna Kupszynska, and wife, Marjanna Kaminska. (In the British Identity book, the names are given as Bartholomew Sobolewski, Mary Kupchinska, and Mary Kumenska). The back page of the passport includes information about the issuing of the passport – idea that Poles who were sympathetic were listed as ‘alien friends’ Joseph and Marjanna Sobolweski were the maternal great-grandparents of the contributor who shared the story and pictures at the Oxford at War 1914-1918 Roadshow on 12 Nov 2016.
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