"Few people in Britain were unaffected by the War. Millions served in the conflict or transformed their lives to contribute to the war effort; most who survived lost loved ones, family and friends. Yet, their sacrifices increasingly slip from living memory. Safeguarding the memory of the war is of critical importance to both honouring the sacrifice made by those who upended or laid down their lives during the conflict and to the preservation of our national identity. Through our digitisation project, we will keep the memory of the war alive so that we may never forget."

Dr Stuart Lee, Lest We Forget Project Leader

Launched in October 2017 following the success of an enormously popular crowdfunding campaign, Lest We Forget was an Oxford University-led project that aimed to capture the memories and stories of the First World War before they were lost to history.

Working in conjunction with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Lest We Forget team helped local communities organise and run their own Community Collection Days, where members of the public brought along war-related stories, memories, photographs, diaries, letters and other mementos to be 'digitised' and uploaded to the Lest We Forget Online Archive.

Over the course of the project:

  • 437 volunteers were trained to organise Community Collection Days
  • 38 Community Collection Days were held in schools, community centres, libraries and Universities all over the United Kingdom
  • 897 contributors attended a Community Collection Day
  • 13,949 photographs of First World War artefacts were taken
  • 886 stories and 10,824 photographs were uploaded to the online archive

The contents of the archive were made freely accessible on 11th November 2018 to complement projects and events commemorating the centenary of the end of the war. The contents of the archive can be accessed here and on Europeana 1914-1918, bringing these stories and experiences from the past to researchers and educators today.

Lest We Forget is the third crowdfunding campaign on OxReach, which helps Oxford academics find funding to support projects with societal impact.

Dr Stuart Lee, Project Leader and Lecturer, Reader in e-Learning and Digital Libraries and Deputy CIO (IT Services).

Dr Nancy Martin, Research Coordinator (2017-18).

Dr Matthew Kidd, Research Coordinator (2018-19).

Alun Edwards, Comms and Engagement Lead for IT Services.

Dr Ylva Berglund-Prytz, Senior Research Officer for IT Services.

For general enquiries, please email ww1collections@it.ox.ac.uk.

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Lest We Forget: Saving the Stories of a Generation at War, 1914-1918