The men, women and children of Britain experienced great changes to their lives during the Second World War, including the absence from the family of key members, loss of loved ones, food shortages and rationing, bombing and mass movements from homes. Of course people at home were greatly involved in the war effort by way of farming, munitions, industry and mining, nursing, scientific research and weapon development as well as teaching, shop work and clerical jobs. A number of organisations also played an active role, including the WVS (Women's Voluntary Service), the AFS (Auxiliary Fire Service), ARP (Air Raid Precautions) and Local Defence Volunteers, or Home Guard. In these pages we feature examples of personal experiences of British civilians in the form of biographies, photographs and documents from the Centre's extensive collection.
The Second World War Experience, board of trustees
Restrictions on use:
View by appointment. Copyright restrictions apply on archive material.
Administrative / biographical background:
The Second World War Experience Centre was established to collect, document, preserve, exhibit and encourage access to the surviving material evidence and associated information of the men and women who participated in the war in whatever capacity, whether military, civilian or conscientious objector. The archive is international in scope, documenting both Allied and Axis experience. Whilst the key dates are 1939-45, the Centre also collects material documenting the build-up or aftermath of the Second World War. The centre focuses on original wartime letters, diaries, artwork, photographs, maps, newspapers, books, official papers and memorabilia and militaria evoking the period. It also includes manuscript and typescript memoirs, as well as recordings of oral history. An international network of volunteers tape-records individuals' war memories around the world. Invaluable as evidence, these interviews are also a fascinating supplement to documents and personal memorabilia, which they serve to illustrate. The concept for the centre grew from the work of Peter Liddle at the Liddle Collection, Brotherton Library, University of Leeds to gather the evidence of personal experience in the First World War.
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