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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.

What will happen to the information I send you?

All the material will be stored securely on Oxford University servers and preserved. The stories and photographs you send us will be displayed on our web site for anyone world-wide to view and reuse for educational purposes only (what is known as a Creative Commons licence CC-BY-NC) but not for commercial reuse. We will also display your name unless you choose to be anonymous but we will never display your contact details. All your personal data will be held securely. We also will share the objects with some other major WW1 projects to add to their collections also thus maximising their use and ensuring further preservation copies. 

For details please read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy


From the collection

  • Joel Halliwell VC

    Joel Halliwell is my Great Great Uncle - his sister Eliza was my great great grandmother - his brother - Thomas Halliwell died in the Somme in 1916 Joel Halliwell's medals have remained in my families possession for the last 100 years not not on public display. His VC dress medal was stolen from his pub at the New Inn Middleton in the 1920's.. On the 100th Anniversary of his heroism in rescuing 9 of his colleagues in No-Man's Land on a captured German horse we have loaned the medal to the Lancashire Fusilers Museum in Bury - Lancashire. I - Abbey Smith - wanted to share my Great Uncle's story with you. Civilian History Childhood He was a keen footballer as a schoolboy. Education and Academic and Professional Honours Parkfield Church of England School, Middleton, Oldham, Lancashire Civilian Employment and Appointments He worked at the Middleton Cotton Mill as a general labourer in 1901, eventually becoming Foreman of the Rain and Forest Mill, Oldham. He ran The New Inn public house, Long Street, Middleton, between 1930-40 but reportedly tired of people asking him to recount his exploits. Appointed Foreman for the Middleton Highways Department. He finally worked for a firm of dyers up until 1957. Other Honours - Service History Enlisted as a Private on 13 November 1914 at Bury, Lancashire. He was described as 5' 5" tall and weighing 134 lbs. Joined the 11th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers on 17 November 1914. Fined four days pay for being absent for 13 hours on 16 January 1915. Underwent three days detention for overstaying a pass by almost one day on 20 August 1915. Proceeded on operational service with the Battalion to France on 25 September 1915. Qualified for Proficiency Pay at Class 2 @ 3d per day on 13 November 1916. Unpaid Lance Corporal on 13 January 1917. Promoted Lance Corporal on 16 June 1917. Granted leave in England from 25 July – 7 August 1917. In early May 1918, the British needed to rest exhausted divisions following the German spring offensives and the Allies needed to create a General Reserve to meet the next onslaught. To achieve both French divisions, from the quiet Chemin des Dames sector, were relieved by five exhausted British divisions (IX Corps). 21st, 8th and 50th Divisions took over the lightly held area, each holding frontages of 8-10,000 yards. 25th Division was in reserve. A massive German barrage opened early on 27 May along a 24 miles front. The attack began at 0340 hrs, sweeping the forward defences away and pressing on to the Aisne. The defence of the second position was to have been conducted by 25th Division, but its brigades were sent to reinforce the forward divisions instead. As a result the second position was breached and a gap opened between the French and British. Both pulled back to form defensive flanks and the gap widened to 12 miles by nightfall. 74th Brigade (25th Division) was closest to the widening gap. 11th Lancashire Fusiliers at Muscourt was ordered to take up the front south of the Aisne. The Germans were held until they advanced through the French to the west. At 1330 hrs they crossed the bridge at Maizy and rushed towards Muscourt. 11th Lancashire Fusiliers stopped them along the road leading south from Concevreux, until they entered Muscourt and threatened the flank. The Battalion withdrew along the ridge near Meurival, but was shelled out of this location and forced back to another position 500 yards south of the ridge. During this tense period Lance Corporal Halliwell rescued wounded men as the Battalion fell back. He galloped forward on a horse captured from the enemy and, despite heavy machine-gun and shell fire, brought back singly and unaided an officer and nine soldiers who were severely wounded. He ensured they were evacuated then made three attempts to bring in an eleventh man, but was forced to give up when the Germans advanced again. 11th Lancashire Fusiliers repulsed three attacks before pulling back again. That night it moved to the high ground northwest of Romain with the rest of the Brigade. By then it numbered just nine officers and 100 men. Next day it was all but destroyed covering the withdrawal of the Brigade over the Vesle. For his gallantry he was awarded the Victoria Cross. Posted to the Base on 12 July 1918. Attached to Headquarters 151st Brigade on 4 August 1918. Posted to 16th Battalion on 23 December 1918. Posted to 10th Battalion on 18 January 1919 and arrived two days later. Demobilized on 30 January 1919, although his service record also states that he left France on 2 March 1919. He tried to re-join the Army for the Second World War, but was rejected through poor eyesight and the wound to his left leg received during the Great War. Orders, Decorations and Medals Victoria Cross 1914-15 Star British War Medal 1914-20 Victory Medal 1914-19 King George VI Coronation Medal 1937 Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953 Miscellaneous ODMs - Footnotes - Victoria Cross Recommendation - Citation The award of the Victoria Cross, for action at Aisne II (Chemin des Dames), near Muscourt, France, on 27 May 1918, was published on p.8724 of London Gazette No. 30811, dated 25 July 1918. The citation reads: "No. 9860 L./Cpl. Joel Halliwell, Lanc. Fus. (Middleton). For most conspicuous bravery and determination displayed during the withdrawal of the remnants of the Battalion when closely engaged with the enemy. L./Cpl. Halliwell, having captured a stray enemy horse, rode out under heavy rifle fire and rescued a wounded man from "No Man's Land." He repeatedly this performance several times, and succeeded in rescuing one officer and nine other ranks. He made another effort to reach a wounded man, but was driven back by the very close advance of the enemy. His conduct was magnificent throughout, and was a splendid and inspiring example to all who saw him." Investiture Invested with the VC by HM King George V at Buckingham Palace on 11 September 1918. Investitures for the VC were also made on that day for Roland R.L. Bourke, Victor A.C. Crutchley, Phillip Davey and Geoffrey H. Drummond. Location The Fusiliers' Museum Lancashire, Moss Street, Bury, Lancashire on loan. Movement History His VC was bequeathed to his eldest granddaughter and was known to be privately owned in April 2014. His miniature VC was stolen from the bar at his public house prior to 1939. Halliwell gave up running the public house shortly afterwards. Reverse Engraving 9860 L/CPL J. HALLIWELL 11TH BN. LANC.FUS. 27 MAY 1918 Abbey Smith - King's High Warwick

    This fairly basically made ring is engraved with the image of a WW1 tank. It is made of white metal and there are no other markings on it. According to my father (who died in 2007) it was "... taken from the body of a dead German officer in no man's land 1917". I do not know by whom. Although his father - Albert Gorge Warren served in WW1, he lost a leg during the Battle of the Somme in 1916 so it could not have been him. Other relatives also served, though.
  • All that is earthly fadeth away

    War was declared when My uncle, Rex Compton, was still at school (sixth form) and he enlisted in the 10th Essex Regiment straight away as a private. The Regiment was one of the first ‘volunteer’ battalions to be deployed in the Gallipoli campaign, until the successful moonlight evacuation in December 1915, by which time he was acting as temporary Captain. The Regiment went first to Lemnos and then to Alexandria. My brother came across this hand-made embroidered needle book when clearing out my parents' house only a week or two ago. Not only is it beautifully made, but it contains a fabric order number tab, a bit like one you'd sew in a child's school uniform, but from F Phillips & Co, Cairo and Alexandria, dated 4 March 1916 and made out to 2nd Lieutenant Compton. Rex and his older brother, Guy, died on the Western Front near Ypres a couple of weeks apart in July/August 1917, so how did this survive? Was it made for him by one of his loving younger sisters? Did he leave it behind by accident when on leave or for safe keeping? We will never know.
  • War medals and pin

    These medals and pin belonged to my grandfather, George Honey, a volunteer soldier with the Royal Berkshire Regiment. He was invalided in 1917 (gassed) and died in 1932.
  • Austrian war medals

    These Austrian army medals belonged to my wife's maternal grandfather. One is gilded in gold and the other is bronze.
  • Sunningwell Parish Records, war years

    Pages from the Sunningwell parish records minute book, used for meetings of the council. The record rarely includes notes related to the war. It does, however, reference housing allotment at the end of the war, as well as war memorials. The village lost 18 of the 60 men who served.
  • German War Goblet

    This Iron goblet, dated 1914-1916, was once bought for a war fund. The text on it reads: 'The iron goblet, the full one, dedicated to the iron heroes in the iron age'. The other inscription reads: 'I trusted in my people and the justice of our cause'. This goblet was given me to (Robert Evans) as a student while I was studying in Prague. I had used it to hold flowers.
  • Great War mementos of the Lloyd family

    The images here are of artefacts found when clearing the Lloyd family house in Wantage. Lorenzo Lloyd moved to Wantage from Wiltshire in 1895 and established an engineering business there which was located in Portway. The former farmhouse and adjacent barn which housed the workshop were demolished in the late 1970's but the workshop has since been recreated in the Wantage and Downland Museum.
  • Pocket Bible

    The pocket bible belonging to Private Robert Stewart, my great-uncle. He served in the King's Own Scottish Borders and was killed in December 1916. He was buried near the causality clearing station. As my grandmother could not afford to travel to his grave in France, I was the first family member to visit. Though I didn't know him, it was a very emotional experience. It was a small cemetery, I placed a small cross on his grave. When my grandmother died, the letters and objects relating to his service and death were passed to her grandson, my son
  • Memorial Photograph

    A small framed memorial photograph of Private Robert Stewart, my great-uncle. He served in the King's Own Scottish Borders and was killed in December 1916. He was buried near the causality clearing station. As my grandmother could not afford to travel to his grave in France, I was the first family member to visit. Though I didn't know him, it was a very emotional experience. It was a small cemetery, I placed a small cross on his grave. When my grandmother died, the letters and objects relating to his service and death were passed to her grandson, my son
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