WarGen, set up late last year by broadcasters and historians Dan Snow and James Holland, is a group of volunteers who are trying to find and interview people who have lived through the Second World War, whether as civilians, as Servicemen and women, or as part of any other group, such as the Intelligence Services, S.O.E. and the like.
WarGen doesn’t just cover the UK but is a worldwide initiative, although it is fair to say that the majority of the current 300 volunteers are based in the UK.
This is a race against time to find men and women, bearing in mind they will be upwards of 77 years old, who would be willing to be interviewed by a WarGen volunteer. The resulting interviews, film and/or audio, will be transcribed and then posted on the WarGen wiki website at www.wargen.org/wiki/
The oldest interviewee is a spritely 100 years old and others interviewed have been in their late ’80s and ’90s, the youngest being in his 78th year.
The fascinating aspect about this initiative is that the interviewees all have different stories to tell about their childhood, their experiences during the war and the after-effects of the war on them and their families. These are stories that tell it as it happened and are not in any way influenced by a political agenda. The more interviews WarGen can collect, the better the representation of what people actually experienced, and the circumstances people found themselves in. This ranges from the effects of the blitz (seen both by those bombed and those who did the bombing), to the emotional consequences of families broken apart, to rationing and the aftermath of war.
If you, or someone you know, would be interested in taking part please contact me direct by email at Michael Thompson or on my mobile number 07768 890044. I am based in the North of England and therefore cannot conduct interviews outside that area but I can put you in touch with local volunteers.