Communities across Scotland are being urged to play their part in a vital project which will unlock the secrets of the First World War and ensure their place in history is recorded for future generations.

This week sees the start of Home Front Legacy 1914-18, a project on which the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), Historic Scotland, English Heritage, Cadw and partners across the UK are working together to record the physical remains of the war on home territory.

The project is calling on volunteers from across Scotland to step forward to help survey, research and record buildings and sites which played a key role before, during and after the conflict. This is the only community engagement project recording physical remains from the First World War, working with partners across the heritage sector in the UK.

Home Front Legacy 1914-18 will allow communities across Scotland  to build on a desk-based audit of all existing First World War records undertaken by Dr Gordon Barclay for Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS).The audit was an extremely valuable piece of work and saw almost 1,000 records of buildings and places created or updated. This was more than triple the number expected at the outset, with previously unknown information around strategic defences, buildings and structures coming to light.
The audit, available on the RCAHMS website, provides greater detail than before about the part played by communities across Scotland a century ago. We hope the Home Front Legacy project will encourage volunteers to build on the audit by visiting, surveying, recording and researching these sites more fully, as well as discovering other buildings and sites associated with the First World War.

Dan Snow, President of the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), called for volunteers to join up for the Home Front Legacy campaign. He said: “Our aim is to record and preserve vulnerable sites, buildings and structures – camps, drill halls, factories and observation posts for example, before they and the stories they bear witness to are lost forever. Our volunteers will be scouring the nation’s towns, villages, countryside and beaches to track down local First World War places that are just not in the records. They’ll upload observations on what they find to a specially designed app along with photographs and historic documents which will appear on an online map to open up the impact of the war on our landscape for everyone.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said: “I welcome the Home Front Legacy campaign as it will increase our understanding of the vital role Scotland’s communities played in the conflict. We hope it will also encourage people to engage with the physical heritage from that period that still surround us.
“Even though much of the First World War is well documented, we know there is still a lot to learn from the conflict and the role our communities played in it and I believe this campaign will go some way to completing our picture. I would urge as many people as possible get involved in this campaign and help us to continue unlocking the secrets of Scotland’s places during this period.”

Eila Macqueen, Director of Archaeology Scotland which is also participating in the project, added: “This is such a valuable and exciting project which will increase our existing understanding of the sites and buildings connect to the First World War. As we prepare to remember the events of 100 years ago there has never been a more appropriate time for communities across the country to get involved in this part of our history. We look forward to working with the other project partners in making Home Front Legacy a success.”

How to Get Involved

Sign up on the Council for British Archaeology’s Home Front Legacy website to access the online recording toolkit, guidance and resources, including an app for recording sites in the field and a map and photo gallery of newly recorded sites.

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