NHS Shetland - Survey - March 2021

WW1 community project gets underway

The Arthur brothers from Kirkigarth, Stromfirth, whose story is likely to be one of those explored by the WW1 project. Willie Arthur (left) was in the Gordon Highlanders, Jeemie served in the Royal Navy on HMS Vanellus. Photo Shetland Museum and Archives

A MAJOR community project bringing to life the impact of World War One on Shetland is being launched with a £10,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Anderson High School has teamed up with the Shetland Family History Society, Shetland Heritage Association and Shetland Museum and Archives for the ambitious venture.

The project entitled Those at Land, Sea, Home and Abroad is being coordinated by history teacher Jon Sandison and will result in public events and a long term legacy in the form of an online archive of material.

School pupils and local volunteers will work together to build up a story of how the islands were affected by the conflict that broke out 100 years ago.

As well as working on wartime heritage sites and the background to information on war memorials, the project will visit the graves of 30 Shetlanders who fell on the battlefields of France and Belgium.

Those taking part will be seeking out stories about how the war impacted on families and communities in the isles.

Checking out the Hillhead war memorial

They will also be collecting photos, newspaper clippings, documents, letters and photos of keepsakes to help build a picture of life at the time.

The material will eventually be brought together with public displays and presentations, as well as some kind of publication.

The plan is to make the information widely available for future generations with an online archive that will allow anyone to contribute, share and research information about the home front.

Sandison said everyone was “thrilled” to receive the lottery funding and everyone involved was very excited about getting started.

Anderson high school pupils working with local historian Douglas Sinclair to find out more about WW1.

“This aspect of Shetland’s local heritage has, at times, almost been overlooked and forgotten about,” he said.

“This project will aim to ensure that there will be more understanding of its impact on the Shetland community as a whole.

“Researching and recording this heritage is important because it will be put in place for both the current and future generations.”

The Heritage Lottery Fund is handing out £1 million in small grants from £3,000 to £10,000 every year until 2019 to community projects across the UK  as part of their First World War: then and now programme.

The fund’s Scottish head Colin Maclean said the fund’s small grants programme aimed “to help young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how this conflict has shaped our modern world”.

More information about the project can be found here.