Their Finest Hour

Published 25 January 2024

On Wednesday 17 January, Ella, Eva, Laura, Astrid and Jemima (Year 12 Students) joined staff and volunteers at the West Berkshire Museum, as Newbury ran its own Digital Collection Day. The team at the museum met with members of the Newbury community and recorded war-related stories, memories, photographs, diaries, letters and other mementos and uploaded these to an online archive.

Their Finest Hour is a University of Oxford project that aims to empower local communities to collect and digitally archive the everyday stories and objects of the Second World War that have been passed down from generation to generation. The stories and objects of the men, women, and children who were part of the 1939-1945 generation are being lost. Many of those affected have since passed their stories and objects on to their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom now act as custodians of their relatives’ remarkable legacy. The photographs, letters, diaries, medals and other artefacts symbolise the experiences of the wartime generation and the initiative aims to preserve and value this heritage before it is lost to posterity.

Gemma Taylor, Culture & Libraries Volunteer Officer at West Berkshire Council, said of the students: “They are an absolute credit to the school and should be very proud of how they presented themselves. They were very professional and engaged well with everyone. I do hope they enjoyed the experience and that they are proud that they helped preserve history yesterday.”

Thank you to Ella, Eva, Laura, Astrid and Jemima for giving their time and for representing the school. All digitised stories and objects will be free to access here from 6 June 2024.

Read more about this project on Newbury Today.