The first oral histories collected in Leicestershire & Rutland that included memories of the First World War were recorded from 1983 onwards. Previously, BBC Radio Leicester had recorded interviews with survivors of WW1, and even with a survivor of the Boer War, but these were used as short clips in a series of programmes about the history of the Leicestershire Tigers regiment and the original recordings no longer exist.
In the 1980s the Leicester Oral History Archive compiled a cassette of memories of 'The Great War' and sold it to the public via local libraries and the tourist information office. However, since this was created there have been many more recordings that mention WW1 that have never been used publically. In the summer of 2014 the East Midlands Oral History Archive (EMOHA) and a team of volunteers started the process of listening to almost 300 recordings that include memories from 1914-1918. The team identified a number of themes that were talked about in the recordings and relevant extracts were identified and the process of turning them into sound clips started. This initial work created a solid base that Colin Hyde of EMOHA could use to fully explore the recordings and create edited sound clips that amount to more than 2 hours of material.
Thanks are due to the team of volunteers who met for a week at the Record Office for Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland in July 2014 to start the project: Mel Rawling-Reeves, John Sutton, Roy Birch, Stephen North, William Ferguson, Dave Bux, Pat Breen, Penny Walker, Thomas Evans, Joe Hartland, Zhining Liu, Max Jin, Matt Astley, Omar Farraj, Samuel Moore, Nick Wilson, Will Salt, Will Trickett.
These volunteer sessions were funded by The Royal Leicestershire Regiment Association as part of the Leicester Remembers World War I HLF project delivered in partnership with Leicester Arts & Museums Service.
Anon, Dr M Morton, Messrs A &W Winfield, Miss Bentham, Miss ED Lynham, Miss GA Moore, Miss K McDonagh, Miss L Goodacre, Miss L Sharp, Miss M Lewis, Miss V Grain, Misses A & I Manger, Mr & Mrs Souter, Mr A Attenborough, Mr A College, Mr A Granger, Mr A Hall, Mr AHB Smith, Mr AL Scotchbrook, Mr B Hopkins, Mr C Bell, Mr C Martin, Mr C Meadows, Mr C Monk, Mr F Saunders, Mr G Wells, Mr GW Kendrick, Mr H Cox, Mr H Goddard, Mr H Orton, Mr H. Riley, Mr HJ Ould, Mr J Allcock, Mr J Hoyes, Mr J Wardle, Mr L Hollis, Mr LA Woodward, Mr M Mitchelson, Mr M Robinson, Mr M Sheffield, Mr R Wood, Mr S Coleman, Mr SA Bentham, Mr W Brain, Mr W Lenton, Mr WH Windebank, Mrs A Hannah, Mrs A Martin, Mrs B Kendall, Mrs B Marsten, Mrs B Preston, Mrs D Langham, Mrs D Robinson, Mrs D Sheffield, Mrs D Ward, Mrs E Bancroft, Mrs E Gamble, Mrs E Hoden, Mrs E Hulbert, Mrs E Isaac, Mrs E Johnston, Mrs E Norris, Mrs EA Dickens, Mrs EM Brown, Mrs EN Barrs, Mrs F Ward, Mrs H Jeffrey, Mrs H Stacey, Mrs H Sykes, Mrs M Hawes, Mrs M Parker, Mrs M Sleath, Mrs M Woolley, Mrs N Frampton, Mrs P Davis, Mrs Stacey & Mrs Alderwick, Mrs Taylor, Mrs V Hall, Mrs W Taylor.
Each speaker in the audio compilations was recorded in either the 1980s or 1990s as part of one of several oral history projects then running in Leicestershire. Most of these recordings were not about WW1 specifically but covered it as part of general memories of the interviewee's life and times. These memories cover life on the home front in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. There are more recordings with people who served in the armed forces during WW1 but they are not included in these compilations.
Most of the recordings were created using 1/4" reel to reel tape recorders, usually UHERs, while others were recorded on cassette. These have been digitised and every effort has been made to present the recordings as well as possible, but the sound quality of the recordings is variable.
More detailed catalogue information for each compilation can be found on the My Leicestershire History website. You can find more details on each speaker by using our online catalogue and you can listen to some of the full recordings from which the clips have been taken on My Leicestershire History and all of them at the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland where they are stored on CDs.
Each of the recordings has been loaded onto Soundcloud and My Leicestershire History.
The text on this website was written by Colin Hyde and is based on material prepared by Sue Mackrell for the Story of Leicester website, and the three main books about Leicester during WW1:
Leicestershire During the Great War by Ben Beazley.
Leicester in the Great War by Matthew Richardson.
Leicester 1914-1918 by FP Armitage.
The Start of the War
Stranded in Australia
Attitudes to Germans
Billeting the Troops
The Home Front
Food pt 1
Food pt 2
Women working pt 1
Women working pt 2
Death & Absence pt 1
Death & Absence pt 2
Back to Work
Counting the Cost
Information about the recordings