Website brings the past alive

Published on: Thursday, 12-March-2015

Fascinating real-life testimony and poignant true stories of Knowsley people who served in World War One can now be accessed at the touch of a button.

The Preserving the Past with the Present, for the Future website – which can be found at - contains audio interviews with local people as well as photographs and profiles of soldiers who fought in the Great War and subsequent conflicts. 

It is the result of a project which took place in the borough throughout 2014, the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One. Lead by Knowsley Council, Preserving the Past with the Present, for the Future saw Prescot Museum, the 33 Signals Squadron in Huyton and other local community groups gather archive materials, conducting interviews and carrying out research to insure that the role of Knowsley’s servicemen and women is never forgotten.

During 2014, thousands of people visited the touring exhibition, Local Heroes, Distant Voices, which documented the experience of local soldiers and their families in times of conflict. Now many of those artefacts will live on thanks to the Preserving the Past with the Present, for the Future website – and an archive which has been created at the 33 Signals Squadron.

Mark Campbell was one of the local people who provided documents and other material relating to his father Albert Edward Campbell, to the Local Heroes, Distant Voices exhibition. He says he is delighted that the website will now serve as a lasting legacy for the project.

Mark said: “I am so pleased that my dad's and others' stories have been immortalised for future generations to enjoy and appreciate. The website is brilliant – I am absolutely delighted with it.”

Cllr Eddie Connor, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Community and Culture, said: “People who visited the Local Heroes, Distant Voices exhibition were really moved and fascinated by the stories that it told. What made it so powerful was that it was about the people who lived in our neighbourhoods, the relatives of people we know.

“The Preserving the Past with the Present, for the Future website is a really great legacy of that project, and makes it easy for people to find out about how conflict has shaped the people of Knowsley over the years.

“I’d also urge people to go along and see the archive at the 33 Signals Squadron, which will also be an important source of information for anyone interested in local history for a long time to come.”

As well as audio interviews with Armed Forces Personnel and their families, the website also includes a ‘digital walking tour’ of the borough’s war memorials .

Anyone wishing to view the archive held at the 33 Signals Squadron can make an appointment via the website, or contact Major Robert Dobson on 0151 481 4931.