Photo: Warwick Taylor MBE of the Bevin Boys Association, said that Home Front Recall is about "letting the younger generations know." © Newscast.
As the 60th anniversary of the end of the second world war approaches, the New Opportunities Fund has announced a multi-million pound scheme to commemorate the effort on the home front.
Home Front Recall is a funding initiative offering £7.3 million to home front veterans, from fire fighters and nurses to dock workers and merchant seamen.
Organisations can bid for grants to fund reunions, learning resources or exhibitions that allow communities to come together and ensure future generations remember the contribution made by the British people between 1939 and 1945.
Photo: the scheme is a chance to recognise the essential contribution made to the war effort by those working on the home front. © Newscast.
"We need to let our children know what things were really like during the war," explained 99-year-old Cyril Demarne who, as Chief Fire Officer at West Ham in London, saw the worst of the Blitz.
"They need to be aware of what their country went through during those six years and why we must never let it happen again. I think this scheme will contribute a great deal to this."
Funding for the project is coming from the New Opportunities Fund, the Community Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund, each contributing £5.16 million, £1 million and £1.14 million respectively.
"This is a great opportunity for those who made so many sacrifices to support the war effort on the home front to fully participate in the 60th anniversary of the events that brought an end to the second world war," explained Arts Minister Estelle Morris.
Photo: Bevin Boy Stan Tate and evacuee Ken Hutchinson helped launch the initiative from an Anderson Shelter at Newcastle's Discovery Museum. © Newscast.
Home Front Recall is part of a three-pronged initiative to commemorate contributions to WWII and is being run alongside the Their Past – Your Future scheme and Heroes Return project to fund veterans’ trips overseas to old battlegrounds.
Among the organisations already planning events for Home Front Recall is the Arctic Convey veterans group in Portsmouth, which, as the group's Commander Eddie Grenfell explained, is hoping to hold a reunion.
"Without a doubt the route via the Arctic was the most hazardous sea campaign of the war," he said. "If your ship was sunk you had five minutes to live. I actually spent 10 minutes in the freezing water before being rescued and taken to a Russian hospital where the doctors pronounced me a medical wonder."
Photo: Britain's oldest firefighter, 99-year-old Cyril Demarne, at the London Fire Brigade Museum. © Newscast.
"I would like to apply for funding from this fantastic scheme to organise a final reunion in Portsmouth with the British and German survivors of the battleship Scharnhorst."
Scharnhorst was a German warship sunk in December 1943, off the coast of Norway, in the Battle of North Cape as it attempted to attack the Russia-bound Arctic Convoy.
The groups have until March 31 2005 to apply for a grant of between £500 and £20,000, and until December 2005 to carry out their projects.
Any organisations interested in applying for grants should call the New Opportunities Fund public enquiries line on 08457 458 458.