The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) has created its first online sound archive, Voices of Liberation.
Tuesday, CWGC launched a call for Canadian content in this worldwide initiative.
The organization commemorates the 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who died during the two World Wars. It operates in more than 23,000 locations across 150 countries and maintains an extensive records archive. The Commission has recorded many voices from the “greatest generation” and is now looking for members of the public to express their feelings about the wars from places of remembrance. The recordings will go into its online sound archive and form “a lasting tribute” to the veterans.
Of the 1.7 million people CWGC commemorates, more than 100,000 died in the battles of 1944, which took place 75 years ago. In a written statement, the CWGC explained the motivation behind the project.
“Commonwealth servicemen and women are commemorated in CWGC war cemeteries and memorials across the world and today, these iconic sites of remembrance remain places of pilgrimage for veterans and descendants. The archive aims to pay tribute to those who gave their lives and shine a light upon these places of remembrance.”
The public will be able to explore the archive online, listening, for example, to firsthand accounts from veterans or testimony from family visits to the battlefields.
The recordings capture the voices of veterans who served in infamous battles during the war, such as 99 year-old Victor Gregg. Gregg served with the Parachute Regiment and in 1944 participated in the Battle of Arnhem, where he was captured by the enemy.
Alongside the sound archive, the CWGC has launched its new podcast series “Legacy of Liberation.” The six-part series explores the Second World war and gives information on the historic cemeteries and memorials that commemorate those who fought and died. Historian Glyn Prysor and heritage expert Lucy Kellett are the hosts “taking a fresh look at events which have become almost legendary, and examining the artistic, architectural and social legacies of these iconic places.”
For more information or to contribute your voice to Voices of Liberation visit cwgc.org.