The Unremembered: World War One’s army of workers

21 February 2017 | Liz Robertson

Big Ideas Community Interest Company is working with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) on a new programme The Unremembered, commemorating the bravery and sacrifice of the Labour Corps throughout the First World War.

St John’s Catholic Primary school and South African Disapora singers hold the names of SS Mendi victims on the steps of Portsmouth Guildhall with The Unremembered project c. Big Ideas Company

The Labour Corps supplied the army with weapons and ammunition, food and fodder, water and fuel.  They built and maintained roads and railways. They were essential to the war effort.

Throughout 2017 the Big Ideas team, with support and funding from the DCLG, is delivering an inclusive and thought-provoking programme to invite communities to commemorate the sacrifices of the Labour Corps and their contribution to the First World War. The Unremembered launched on 17 February 2017 at a commemorative event organised by the South African High Commission to commemorate the centenary of the tragic sinking of SS Mendi, a disaster which claimed the lives of over 600 men of the South African Labour Corps.

From April 2017 a new, free resource pack will be available for communities and schools. In this creative resource there are opportunities to learn about the history of the different Labour Corps, and guidance on how to find local stories and participate in activities to join in with The Unremembered project. The resource pack will be followed by new monthly releases about Labour Corps from different countries around the world.

Sign up to The Unremembered newsletter to find out how to request a free hard-copy of the resource pack.

There will be many opportunities launching throughout 2017 to join in with The Unremembered project. Share your stories on social media using #Unremembered and stay up-to-date with the latest information on the project by signing up to the newsletter, and joining The Unremembered Facebook group.


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