THE Heritage Lottery Fund recently held a presentation at the House of Commons to launch the programme ‘First World War: Then and Now’.
More than 150 MPs and Peers from across the UK attended the event.
Five dedicated WW1-type projects were on show – plus ours! This was in recognition of the project’s work in helping the Huddersfield community to understand the experiences of local people during the Great War.
“It’s good to know the HLF is happy with what we are doing,” said project manager Brian Heywood.
“The foresight to include World War I in our activity plan has enabled us to be well prepared for 2014 and be recognised at events such as this. The support of our superb steering group and all local volunteers has been invaluable, and without them our project would be impossible.
“The HLF was particularly keen for us to stress the partnerships we have built in Huddersfield. Local university students are helping to research and write our ‘Huddersfield in World War I’ book, the first to cover the entirety of the war in the town.
“The local history and civic societies are also assisting with invaluable advice.
“Our ‘World War I Town Centre Trail’ is being produced in partnership with Discover Huddersfield.
“The book and trail will both be published in 2014, in time for the centenary of the start of the war.
“Our major link between rugby league and the war is Huddersfield’s Team of All Talents, winners of all four available trophies in 1914-15.
“Most of these players went to war and two of them, international forward Fred Longstaff and Edward Haigh, did not return.
“One of our volunteers, David Gronow, has transcribed the 1917 war diary of another international, Douglas Clark.
“It ends when he was invalided out of the war with 90% injuries and the Military Medal for bravery after which he defied medical advice by not only playing again, but regaining his international place and later becoming All-in Wrestling Champion of the World.
“Since publicising Douglas’s story we have been approached by two playwrights and a filmmaker who want to put his story onto stage and screen. ‘Huddersfield in World War I’ will also be a unit of our local history scheme of work, which is free to local schools, and feature in our main exhibition at the Tolson Museum from October.”