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First World War Centenary

2014 will mark 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War. Portsmouth Museums and Archive Service are part of the First World War Centenary Partnership, led by the Imperial War Museum.

The partnership will present a global programme of cultural events and activities from 2014-2018 to commemorate the centenary. 

Portsmouth City Museum has been awarded £97,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund for Lest We Forget - a project which will commemorate the anniversary of the start of the First World War.

Lest we Forget will tell the story of some of the people who took part in WW1 as servicemen and women or civilians in an Exhibition which will open in July 2014.

The starting point for Lest We Forget will be the museum and archive collections which hold First World War related material relating to some 200 or so individuals: servicemen and women and civilians supporting the war effort at home.

We will, with your help be uncovering these stories as well as many others. Portsmouth was a City of some 200,000 people in 1914, many contributing directly to the war effort.

The project also focuses on a specific part of the City’s First World War heritage; the story of the Portsmouth Battalions (Portsmouth Pals). Portsmouth was among many other cities in Britain to raise its own Pals’ or city battalions which sought to encourage the recruitment of groups of friends/work colleagues to represent their own city.

More than 6,000 people from Portsmouth were killed and 18,000 wounded.


How You Can Get Involved

Add details of your ancestors to the Tale of One City Community History website.


Add details of your World War One projects to the Community history website under the topics and places sections.  

Please do let us know if you are working on a local community history or schools project relating to the First World War - We can list your project on the web site.  We are also working directly working with some community groups to support their projects. 

The project coordinator would be pleased to visit your group to tell your more about the project. Let us know if you are interested. 


Volunteers are invited to be involved throughout the life of the Lest We Forget project. We are seeking people with a variety of skills to offer, you might volunteer for one or more roles. The idea is to build up a group of volunteers that can be requested to get involved at particular times, subject to their availability. Training will be offered for all roles. .

The roles are:-

Story Gatherers - For people who would like to listen to others, to hear their stories about their ancestor's part in the First World War, and make these stories available on the Lest We Forget web pages. If you less confident in the web side we can train you or ask other volunteers to take your information and add it to the site.

Helping Hands - For people who are happy to work with others mainly in the museum setting, helping with community events, and in particular be keen to support visitors in the exhibition spaces to uncover for themselves the story of their ancestors. If you have some experience of working with ancestry websites, or are keen to learn that would be good but overall we need our volunteers to comfortable helping others.

Web Wizards - For confident researchers, who are able to use their skills to support other people. Part of this role involves checking entries onto the Lest We Forget webpages before publication. This aspect will take place weekly.

Media Masters - For people who enjoy using a variety of media equipment, laptops, camcorders, audio recording equipment and cameras for example. You will be involved in helping make a record of community involvement in the Lest We Forget project.

Contact lestweforget@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Look out for the forthcoming events programme.

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