Plymouth’s Great War announcement

PRESS RELEASE 23rd May 2014

The Military Covenant sponsors new project to explore Plymouth families’ archives of the outbreak of the Great War

Today, The Word Machine Community Interest Company launches a new project in Plymouth, supported by the Plymouth Armed Forces Community Covenant grant scheme, to ask Plymouth families to explore their own family archives for memorabilia and memories about the outbreak of war in Plymouth in 1914.

Following the launch of the Plymouth’s Great War exhibition at the Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery on 1st May, The Word Machine CIC and other partners will be asking Plymouth families to see if they have photographs, letters, family stories or physical items which can be photographed or scanned to form a new community archive of material relating to the outbreak of war.

MD says: “We’d like to find anything we can: letters, photographs, medals, diaries, stories, official documents, personal possessions. We know these kinds of family items will be very precious, so we will be setting up facilities to enable families to photograph or scan items so that we can keep a record and the items can stay safe with families. We will be interested too to hear family stories of the time, which we will record and log as part of the project.”

Families with currently-serving military members will also be asked to contribute contemporary items and thoughts reflecting their present-day experience of living in Plymouth while family members are away serving their country. It is hoped that this contemporary aspect will help give greater understanding of how Plymouth families felt 100 years ago.

Plymouth Covenant officer, Heather Ogburn, said: “We are delighted that The Word Machine CIC are able to explore Plymouth’s unique experiences of WWI by looking at very personal stories from those who lived through it. The project will create a rich archive that will illustrate events which have shaped who we are – our cultural, heritage and identity.”

A Facebook page has been set up to share information at and a website will be produced where all the scanned images and stories will be presented.

A grant award to local community projects in support of the Plymouth’s Great War initiative will be announced by The Word Machine CIC next week.


Heather Ogburn, Plymouth Armed Foces Community Covenant                Tel: 01752 307485


The Military Covenant community logo can be downloaded here:

A copy of the Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery Great War exhibition poster can be downloaded here:

The Word Machine CIC logo can be downloaded here:


1. The Word Machine Community Interest Company is a social enterprise based in Plymouth which works with local people to enable them to realise and release their stories.

2. Further information about the Military Covenant can be found here:

3. The project will work closely with Plymouth and West Devon Record Office and Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery.

4. The project will work with Plymouth social enterprise FotoNow ( who will make their Camper Obscura available around the city over the summer for families to visit and scan items into the onboard scanner.