Research into Cenotaph WW1 deaths

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THE FRIENDS of Hermitage Park and Helensburgh Heritage Trust have received a grant of £10,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for the War Memorial Families Project in Helensburgh.

Awarded through its 'First World War: then and now' programme, the project will focus on researching and creating biographies of all the men of the town named on the memorial in Hermitage Park who were killed in World War One.

To mark the centenary of the First World War, the project will enable local people in Helensburgh to come to preserve the  memories and heritage of the people who lived through the conflict.

Volunteers will collect photographs, newspaper clippings, documents, letters and photos of keepsakes, as well as family tales passed down to help them build a clear picture of what life was really like.

The two organisations will be casting their net far and wide using all the library and online resources and archives available, but most important of all will be the contribution of local families.

They will be providing training and workshops in using archives, and hope that local people who wish to be involved will help deliver the project. Anyone with a relative named on the memorial please is asked to get in touch.

With help from professionals, the information gathered will be digitally recorded and an on-line interactive archive will be created where everyone can access and contribute information. The archive will allow the public to discuss, contribute, share and research information about the Home Front.

The men named on the war memorial were the Burgh’s best men —a butcher’s boy or a stockbroker, it made no difference. They all made the ultimate sacrifice.

The two organisations hope thatthis project will honour them and their families and connect those who live here today with the war dead.

The first workshop dates and events will be announced shortly.

The chair of the Friends, Fiona Baker, said: “We are delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players and look forward to honouring the town’s war dead by uncovering the stories of their lives.

"It is impossible not to be moved by the list of names on the war memorial and now we have an opportunity to find out who they were and about their lives in the town.”

Ríona McMorrow, acting head of the National Lottery Heritage Fund Scotland, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching every corner of the UK.

"With our small grants programme, we are enabling even more communities like those involved in Helensburgh War Memorial Families Project to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”