World War I
These sound extracts have been compiled from recordings made in the 1980s and 1990s of older local residents, though we did not seek to record memories of war as such. We were tracking people’s lives in the main and all had memories of not just one, but two world wars.
We have included one or two direct experiences of war from a soldier’s perspective, but most of our interviewees were women. What these memories show is that there was hardship on the Home Front. What is sometimes forgotten in comparison to the Second World War, where civilians were targeted by both sides, there was quite a bit of bombing carried out over London by both aeroplanes and airships. Rationing was also a fact of life.
We believe all of the people whom we interviewed are now dead. But we do have a partial record of life in that period through these recordings. Soon we will be looking at events of the Second World War as people with these experiences are getting older all the while. Now is the time to record their testimonies.
Waltham Forest Oral History Workshop was formed in 1983 and the equipment we used for some of our earlier recordings was not as good as today’s. Please bear this in mind when listening to some of these older recordings.
- Blast damage from bomb
- Bomb in Hoe Street
- Family’s war service
- Father injured in no man’s land
- First experience of margarine
- Food shortages
- German aircraft and an airship
- German bakers attacked
- German-owned shop stoned
- Horses taken for war service, and one returned
- Munitions worker
- Sam Taylor came across Chinese workers on the battlefields
- Sam Taylor joined the army in 1917
- Service in Iraq and India
- Silvertown explosion