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The Peoples War - A great Success!

 The BBC project "The Peoples War" has been as great success in Thanet. There have been over one hundred stories uploaded to the web site  enriching the archive with stories mainly about Thanet during the war. For  two months staff and volunteers from libraries and UK-Online centres have listened to the fascinating stories from the people of Thanet. It started on the 22nd of April with a wartime buffet at Margate Library where people tasted Wooton Pie, curried carrots and Raspberry 'ice'.

Another treat was  the lecture entitled 'Rationed Fashion' given by Lee Ault from Broadstairs. It outlined how clothing and materials were  rationed but still had a degree of fashion attached to them. Bob Prior at Ramsgate Library delivered his unique talk on the role of the RAF in the skies of
Kent and he also displayed some of his collection of wartime memorabilia. During the day he changed uniform three times to display authentic German officer ranks. It was all very exciting and poignant. 

The project was slow to get started but the momentum grew and soon people from Thanet were telling their wartime stories from all theatres of war. Stories about being bombed at Dunkirk, being a POW for 5 years, being an evacuee and liking it - and hating it! There are stories about searching for bombs, watching dogfights, hunting for subs. People have met Churchill, skippered ships, defused bombs and listened to the doodlebugs fly overhead. Most of all people have told us the extraordinary stories of what it was like to be just an ordinary person in the street through the time of the war. 

The BBC web site contains stories from all over the world written by all types of people. It is very easy to access and one can use a single search word and find stories written by people with similar experiences. There have been many occasions where people made contact with old friends and service personnel through the stories on the website. Whether you have had a war experience or not the website is an excellent read as well as an educational resource. The project isn't over yet! 

There are fourteen UK-Online centres throughout Thanet where you can access this information for free. If you think you are not up to the challenge of using a computer there are trained staff available to show you how easy it is. Don't let the thought of technology put you off - where is that Dunkirk spirit? If you want to make a contribution then go to the website.  where you can register yourself and write your story. Staff at any of the libraries and UK-Online centres in Thanet will be able to give you advice and help. 

So I give a big 'Thank You' to the staff of the Thanet Libraries who have such a wealth of knowledge and displayed great enthusiasm for the project. I give the biggest 'Thank You' to all of the people who gave us their stories and endured the most desperate times of the last millennium so that we could enjoy the life we now live.
Steve Murphy
UK-Online in Thanet


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