While the nation annually commemorates the lives of those who have fought and fallen in service, little is known about the experiences of the wives and families who are left behind.
Now, the untold stories of war widows past and present are to be told as part of a new project in Liverpool.
War Widows’ Stories will raise public awareness and knowledge of war widowhood in the UK by sharing women’s accounts of everyday life throughout the decades.
Delivered by Dr Nadine Muller, Senior Lecturer in English and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) in partnership with the War Widows’ Association of Great Britain (WWA), the project will record the memories of widows and their families in the post-war and contemporary United Kingdom.
Volunteers, including close relatives of participants, will be trained in oral history interviewing to help them best capture the personal experiences of war widows after the Second World War. Through one-to-one interviews with WWA members of all ages, these valuable memories will be recorded and preserved for future generations.
Dr Muller, author of The Widow: A Literary & Cultural History (2017), said: “War widowhood is an inevitable and undeniable, yet largely ignored, part of war. We want the War Widows’ Stories project to help afford these women their rightful place in history by making their stories heard.”
The recordings will form a living archive charting the country’s histories of women, war, grief, and welfare from the 19th to 21st centuries. A dedicated website will make the project’s research accessible to the public, featuring oral histories, video recordings and collected artefacts.