Monday, 16 April 2018

What we're working on: April

The only required outcome of this project, as mandated by its funder A Century of Stories, is a 20-minute conference paper at the Century of Stories conference at the University of Leicester (9 November 2018). However, from the beginning we've always been clear that we wanted to create some kind of additional output that was more durable and more accessible to the public. 

The Friends of Welford Road Cemetery have produced five self-guided themed cemetery trails over the years, and we are excited to be working with them to create a new one highlighting international connections of its First World War graves!

Monday, 9 April 2018

Research Visit to Welford Road Cemetery

A few months ago Hanna travelled from Oxford to Leicester to revisit Welford Road Cemetery- the focus of this project- to meet with the Friends of the cemetery, visit the graves we're researching in person, and get a sense of what outputs for this research would be most feasible. 

The cemetery has a designated Commonwealth War Graves Commission plot, but also has individual CWGC headstones scattered throughout the cemetery.

scattered CWGC grave

CWGC plot

CWGC Cross of Sacrifice

'Their name liveth for evermore', standard phrase used at CWGC sites- usually
on the Stone of Remembrance

grave of Samuel Paynter Musson, born in Jamaica and served
with the Indian forces

cemetery's visitor centre

The Friends of Welford Road Cemetery have a small visitor centre that handles visitor queries and stores research related to the cemetery's graves. It was great to meet with some of the Friends and hear about their work. 

Next week we'll have a post up on the outcomes of this meeting: what we decided to create as a more public-facing output for our research, and how the work on that is progressing!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

International Epitaph: Sergeant Frank Nicholls Knight

Today's blog post is not by us and is not hosted on this site- instead it's by the fantastic Sarah Wearne of the 'Great War Epitaphs' daily research project!

Sarah kindly agreed to feature another one (see her first one here) of the international First World War burials at Leicester, Sergeant Frank Nicholls Knight, as her daily epitaph for today. She researched the personal history and social context behind his epitaph, "An O.L. / He became a profitable member of the King and Commonwealth". Click here to read the full post!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

What we're working on: October

Here's a quick update about what the Global War Graves team is working on this month!

Enshia is working on compiling a series of spreadsheets: info on international burials and commemorations of First World War participants in Welford Road Cemetery; international burial or commemoration places of British soldiers who are also commemorated on non-CWGC headstones at Welford; and other international connections. (Working from info drawn from the CWGC database and a PDF created by the Friends of Welford Road Cemetery). 

Hanna is working with the Friends of Welford Road Cemetery to plan and define the public-facing deliverables for the project, and planning next steps for research in the CWGC archives in Maidenhead and a research trip to Leicester. The only mandated outcome for this project is a conference paper to be given in Leicester next November, but we are very excited to announce that we will also be putting on an exhibition of our findings at the cemetery's visitor centre, and creating a First World War edition of the cemetery's popular self-guided walking trails. 

Monday, 25 September 2017

International Epitaph: Private Albert Wellington Jarman

Today's blog post is not by us and is not hosted on this site- instead it's by the fantastic Sarah Wearne of the 'Great War Epitaphs' daily research project!

Sarah kindly agreed to feature one of the international First World War burials at Leicester, Private Albert Wellington Jarman, as her daily epitaph for today. She researched the personal history and social context behind his epitaph, "He gave his life that we should live", and traced his journey from Leicester to Canada to Leicester again over thirty years. Click here to read the full post!

Monday, 18 September 2017

Meet the Research Intern: Enshia Li

Hello! My name is Enshia and I will be serving as a research intern for the Global War Graves Leicester project over the next year. I am a grade 12 student hailing from Toronto, Ontario, so unfortunately I shall be quite distant from Leicester during the process. At school, I am in the International Baccalaureate program, studying History, English Literature, and Chemistry at the higher level.

Recently, the experienced horrors of World War I has passed from personal memory to the historical. Yet we are still -- I am still -- fascinated by its bleak trajectory, the violent chance and machinery of its course, its quake shaking the present, reverberating far into the future. Still now, I am not entirely sure what this explosion means to me, to us, this generation born a century after the soldiers of the First World War.

Although we were born a hundred years apart, I am certain of one thing: remembering their sacrifice. To me, the act of honouring the dead is inseparable from remembering their individual lives, which is why I am so excited to be helping out with this project. By uncovering diverse histories of soldiers, we would add to the collection of WWI memory in the Leicester community, revealing previously neglected identities and narratives.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Welcome to Global War Graves Leicester

Welcome to the Global War Graves Leicester project! 

This is one of seven research projects funded 2017-18 by Century of Stories, a Heritage Lottery-funded social history initiative that supports First World War community and academic engagement in Leicestershire. 

Welford Road Cemetery, Leicester, October 2014

About the project
There are 298 First World War casualties buried or commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission at Leicester's Welford Road cemetery. (And many more commemorated on private headstones). Not all of them are British, and not all of them are men. There are also Australians, Belgians, Canadians, and an Indian, whose 'name liveth forever more' in stone in Leicester, including an Australian nurse. This project aims to explore and bring to light how these people ended up in Leicester; how their identities were negotiated and represented in death; and how even the British burials alongside them also had connections throughout and beyond the UK. The purpose of this research will be to challenge and expand our understandings of the relationship between local and global in terms of Leicester and the First World War.

The First World War is everyone's story, but not everyone realizes this. Especially in communities like Leicester with diverse populations and strong histories of immigration, there can seem a disconnect between the people of 100 years ago and the people of today. The First World War was truly a global war, in which the British not only encountered the world in new ways but the world also came to Britain, particularly via its hospitals. I've personally witnessed, to my dismay, that First World War history- particularly at the local level- is sometimes not inclusive, and is only engaged with by a particular demographic. (However, I can point to many other instances of the contrary, too!). As someone who has lived in Leicester but isn't from there (or even from Britain at all), I'm aiming to contribute a project that strikes a balance between the emotional investment of a local and the critical distance of an outsider.

The graves of Welford Road Cemetery provide an exciting opportunity to diversify Leicester's understanding of the people and nationalities that were part of Leicester's First World War story, and to open up broader understandings and discussions about the importance and relevance of remembrance both during the centenary and beyond. 

Project Outcomes
The only mandated outcome of this project is a conference paper to be given in Leicester in November 2018 (more info to follow when available). However, I am working with the Friends of Welford Road Cemetery to decide on additional, more public-engagement-friendly and durable outputs that they feel would best serve Leicester's communities. (And I have an MA from Leicester's School of Museum Studies, so can always be easily tempted into a panel exhibition...!)

What you will be able to find on this blog
  • Research: bite-sized information on the international burials and international connections among Welford Road Cemetery's FWW burials
  • Behind-the-scenes: posts about what this research project entails and how it's going
  • Event info: later on, info on community / cemetery / academic events where this project is represented

(PS I am avoiding abbreviating this project to 'GWGL', so as to avoid confusion with my research network at Oxford: 'Globalising and Localising the Great War', aka 'GLGW'! That just seems like a recipe for confusion...)