Community research projects

Soldiers’ stories on our streets

Soldiers’ Stories on Our Streets is a community research project that helps local people find out who volunteered to fight in the Great War from the streets in which they live today.

Download the map of Medway's WW1 servicemen 

About the project

Our project is inspired by the Friends of Medway Archives (FOMA) Index.

The FOMA Index was started by Michael De Caville, a local man, who over twenty five years ago began a quest to record street by street the men of the Medway Towns who had died during the Great War.

The FOMA Index was completed and made available online in 2014. It contains details of over 4,000 men, is fully searchable and printable, it also contains photographs and the ability for researchers to add information.

Although well known outside of Medway in research circles, this fantastic resource is under used and little known in Medway.

Project aims

Our project aims to raise local awareness of the FOMA Index, whilst training local people in basic archive and research skills, to learn more about the First World War through their family, house and area's history.

How the project benefits schools

For schools, the project will:

  • produce learning packs highlighting soldiers' stories from streets near their schools
  • offer introductory sessions with Medway Council’s Museum Education Officer focussing on the background of the project, Medway in the First World War and basic research skills
  • produce a set of researchable worksheets
  • provide an opportunity to showcase research to local audiences

How the project benefits communities

For the community, the project will:

  • produce large maps with the soldiers' streets highlighted with information about the project and the FOMA Index to show case in public places; maps will include the HLF name and logo and also the FOMA name, logo and copyright symbol
  • run public research sessions at the Medway Archives Centre with Friends of Medway Archives volunteers for people to find out about soldiers' stories from their streets, houses or family connections
  • be uploading newly researched material to enhance the FOMA Index for future years and users

The project will focus on the main Medway towns of Rochester with Strood, Chatham, and Gillingham with Rainham.

We hope that by taking part in our project, local residents will benefit from:

  • a better awareness of local heritage, using the FOMA Index and the Medway Archives Centre
  • learning basic archive research skills
  • learning about Medway in the First World War, and the impact it had on the Medway Towns
  • gaining an increased sense of place by understanding more about the history of the street or area they live in, and people who lived there in the past

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