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Sheffield professor to head ‘Landscape of Heroes’ project

RAF War Memorial at Sandtoft. Picture: Barrie Codling
RAF War Memorial at Sandtoft. Picture: Barrie Codling

A Sheffield-led project to re-discover a lost heritage of military landscapes begins soon, with the aim of creating a lasting digital resource.

Local people from the Isle of Axholme in North Lincolnshire will help in workshops to research the varied military history of the area.

The Landscape of Heroes project will be coordinated day-to-day by Chris Percy with Sue Lee, overseen by Chair of the group, Professor Ian Rotherham of Sheffield Hallam University.

Much of the history and heritage from WW2 is in danger of being lost. This project sets out to capture memories and to record the heritage which remains.

Project organisers want to recruit volunteers with an interest in both military history from the Civil War to the Cold War, and local and social history. Free workshops with specialist guest speakers and experts will help develop volunteers’ skills in archival research, accessing and using digital archives, undertaking fieldwork and recording and understanding the many aspects of land-use for military and civil defence purposes.

It is intended to produce a final project web site with leaflets and booklets, a heritage trail and phone app.

Workshops will include introductory sessions focusing on oral histories and techniques, sources of archival material and the use of archives and fieldwork. The areas covered include memorials and the people commemorated on them, specific buildings and structures for a military purpose, requisitioned civilian buildings, defensive structures and locations and aviation.

Landscape of Heroes will also place emphasis on human and personal aspects of the military histories. Every name on a memorial has a story to tell and it is planned that research will help uncover the stories behind the names on memorials (and the memorials themselves) and Commonwealth War Grave Commission graves in the area. The role the civilian population played will not be forgotten, with research into all aspects of Civil Defence such as air raid precautions, emergency services and the Royal Observer Corps.

Anyone interested should call Chris Percy on 0114 272 4227 (9am-5pm) or email chriscp2@hallamec.plus.com .