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Iceni Magazine | August 22, 2017

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The Forum, Norwich, appeals for stories about Norfolk women in the First World War

Norfolk Women, The Forum, Norwich, norfolk, women, first, world, war

The Forum, Norwich, is appealing for people to share their stories and memories of Norfolk women in the First World War who were either on active service or remaining strong on the Norfolk home-front.

Thousands of Norfolk women had their lives completely transformed during the First World War. They proved their strength and bravery was essential to the war effort and beyond.

The Forum is keen to hear from local people who may have photographs, letters and objects relating to Norfolk women in the First World War. This may include: farm workers, Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, Women’s Royal Naval Service, Women’s Royal Air Force, Munitions, British Red Cross Society, Women’s Land Army, women in the factories and shops, transport, canteens, hospitals, comforts and the post office.

The Forum is working with volunteers on the research strand of the project with its focus currently on the role of Norfolk women on active service. Volunteers are being supported in their research by local military historian Neil Storey and have taken part in heritage research skills training at the Norfolk Heritage Centre and the Norfolk Record Office.

Violet Jackson the Trunch postwoman during WW1. (Neil Storey Archive)

Their research, which will consist of written work, talks and the co-creation of a project film will culminate in a Women on Active Service exhibition starting at The Forum and the Norfolk & Norwich Millennium Library on 04 November 2017. Following this, the exhibition and accompanying films will go on tour to schools and community venues around the county.

Information and stories will help add to the research for The Forum’s community project ‘Norfolk in the First World War: Somme to Armistice’. It runs until November 2018 with National Lottery funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The Forum has received £90,000 of money raised by National Lottery players to deliver its three year project which has focused on The Battle of the Somme in 2016 and The Battle of Gaza in April 2017. Moving forwards it includes:

–          First World War Women on active service in 2017

–          First World War Women’s Legacy in 2018

–          The 100th anniversary of Armisitice Day in November 2018

The Forum’s project will share the stories of our local heroes – both men and women – so their names, life experiences and sacrifices are acknowledged and remembered by new generations. Thanks to National Lottery players, the project will commemorate the lives of the fallen and those who returned via dedicated school and learning programmes, adult volunteer-led projects, public talks, events and exhibitions.

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF East of England, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players we’re pleased to support this project which will focus on the experiences of Norfolk women during the First World War and the continuing legacy it has had for their descendants and communities. I would encourage anyone with a story to share to get in touch and ensure they become a part of the narrative of this project.”

Local people with information on the role of Norfolk women in the First World War are invited to get in touch with The Forum’s Heritage Assistant, Lizzie Figura-Drane via email: heritage.assistant@theforumnorwich.co.uk or telephone: 01603 727971.

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