Oswestry charity, Qube, is commemorating the lives of local men who lost their lives in the First World War with the launch of a brand new website.
The Men on the Gates website is the culmination of a two-year project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) that sheds light on the lives of over 300 men listed on Oswestry Memorial at Cae Glas Park.
The project has brought together information from family members and hundreds of hours of painstaking research by volunteers. Head Researcher, John Davies has led a weekly group of volunteers at Qube. He said: “We’ve been able to build a profile for each of these men and each has his story that deserves to be told. They came from all walks of life and there are many connections between them as brothers, neighbours, work colleagues or members of local clubs and societies. We’ve been able to discover where the men lived and went to school, where they worked and which battles and campaigns they fought in on the land, at sea or in the air.”
The Men on the Gates website enables a name-by-name search of soldiers and all have a unique information page that tells their story.
North Shropshire College student, Sam Bellis, aged 18, is the youngest volunteer working on the project. He said: “It’s been a privilege to work on Men on the Gates, this wasn’t the kind of history we studied at school. It’s been fascinating and very humbling to learn about these local men and what their lives were like before they went away to war. I’ve also been able to learn some new skills and I’ve met a whole bunch of interesting people from different generations that I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise.”
Research consultant, John Davies and Qube Arts Officer, Charlotte Jackson, want to thank the many contributors to the project. They have included family members of the soldiers, volunteers and organisations like Oswestry Family and Local History Group, Cambrian Heritage Railways, Oswestry Town Museum, local history groups in Gobowen, Llanymynech, Trefonen and Oswestry Library. John said: “It’s been a real team effort. The Men on the Gates website and accompanying booklets are a
precious resource for current and future generations. It shows a real window on history and highlights the substantial contribution made by local people to the Great War. Together we’ve created an online legacy for these men. It stands as a digital commemoration of the sacrifice they made both for their town and for their nation.”
Qube is hosting two free events to coincide with the launch of the website. A talk on ‘Oswestry Pals’ with a demonstration of the new website will be given by John Davies on Thursday 22nd March at 7pm. John will also give a talk on the ‘Officers and Brothers’ listed on the Oswestry Memorial Gates on 6th April at 2pm. Numbers are limited so please contact Qube to reserve a place on 01691 656882, email firstname.lastname@example.org.