Voice Of WWII Veterans Recorded For Online Archive

The voices of Second World War veterans and their relatives are being recorded to mark the 75th anniversary of some of the conflict’s most momentous battles. Their stories will be captured for an online sound archive created by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). ‘Voices of Liberation’ has been set up to commemorate more than 100,000 service personnel who died in 1944.

Best and Worst

The public will be able to explore and range of recordings and add their own. Among the contributors is 99-year-old Victor Gregg, who served with the Parachute Regiment and was captured by the Nazis at the Battle of Arnhem in 1944. “I was a frontline soldier from the day war was declared right to the gruesome end,” Mr Gregg explains.

“I was never out of a frontline unit so I can presume that I’ve seen it all – the best things that man can do and probably the worst.”

Look Forward

In another poignant recording, Alan Gaudern, 74, reads the last letter from his father, who was killed before they met on 11 July 1944. The letter, addressed to Mr Gaudern’s mother Ethel, said: “You know we’ve faced up to the likelihood I may not come back… but you know I feel I shall come back because I want to so much. “We’ve had a perfect married life together, haven’t we? We must look forward to a more settled future. “But if I don’t come back I want you know how much I owe to you and thank you for our lovely life together and to let you know it isn’t my wish that you remain a widow, if you really fall in love again.”

Sacrifice

The CWGC hopes the archive will be a fitting tribute to the dead and highlight its cemeteries and memorials across the world. Chief archivist Andrew Fetherston said: “We believe that by capturing these stories from the public we are creating an archive of international importance and a lasting legacy for those who died for our today.

“We want people to share their connections to the war and our cemeteries to ensure that as Commonwealth nations we have not forgotten their sacrifice.”

The public can contribute to ‘Voices of Liberation’ on the CWGC’s website.