Preserving the Past with ‘Their Finest Hour’
Last Friday, RGS Worcester arranged to take part in ‘Their Finest Hour’ as part of a national project to collect and preserve memories and artefacts from the Second World War.
This event was run by Oxford University as a national project to digitise memories and artefacts from the Second World War, eventually aiming to create a free, online archive in preparation for the 80th anniversary of D-Day in June 2024. With events taking place across the UK throughout 2023, our own Perrins Hall provided the venue for Worcester.
Between 10.00am and 2.30pm on Friday, there was a constant stream of visitors, and their stories were moving and fascinating. Some of those who came to join us shared their memories of their own evacuation and of their feelings during the war, particularly with family members away fighting. Other people brought in family treasures, artefacts brought back from other countries, letters sent, and memoirs written. Over 400 photographs of artefacts and many, many stories were collected. With the help of Dr Elspeth King and four students from the University of Worcester, the Lower Sixth Historians were fabulous at interviewing the Worcester residents who came to tell their memories, but it was also a privilege for us to be the ones to take down such recollections. The Year Seven and Eight digital leaders did a wonderful job of organising the photography, coping admirably and efficiently with everything presented to them, from books to diaries to medals and even a flying jacket.
If you missed the Digitisation Collection Day, it is still possible all this year to upload stories directly to the website at https://theirfinesthour.english.ox.ac.uk/home. For us in the History Department though, it was a fantastic day and an absolute pleasure to be helping with this important archive. Next step – ensuring that all the memories we collected are moved from our digital records into the Oxford University ones, ready for the launch next year!
Mrs Jane Harrison, Head of History and Politics