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Historians to reveal impact of WWI on Sussex

Chichester Cathedral, as it would be under German bombardment

The history of how East and West Sussex were affected by the First World War is to be discussed this week.

The Researching Lives of the Great War conference has been organised between the University of Chichester and the Gateways to the First World War initiative as part of plans to mark the centenary of the conflict.

It is aimed at helping historians and community groups apply for grants to launch projects which study the memory of the war across the two counties.

The event, which is free to attend, will be held at the University of Chichester on Friday 4 September and is led by Dr Ross Wilson, a senior lecturer in Modern History and Public Heritage.

He said: “Focusing on the Great War in Sussex, this seminar is for anyone interested in researching the history of the Great War on a professional basis, as a member of a community group, or as an individual.

“It will also feature three local projects which have received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and includes a talk from a Chichester historian on the Graylingwell War Hospital.

“Those attending will also hear about how the Fund and the Gateways Centre can benefit projects that focus on the centenary, and show historians how to apply for grants to study the local history of the War.”

The conference, which runs from 12pm to 5pm, will take place at the University’s Cloisters Chamber, at its Bishop Otter campus in Chichester.

Territorials leaving Chichester for France, from the archives of the West Sussex Record Office

It has been organised by the Gateways to the First World War, a centre for public engagement with the First World War which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and led by the University of Kent.

It will include speakers from the West Sussex Record Office as well as historians from East Sussex County Council, who will examine the importance of the counties in maintaining the army abroad and defending south coast against German forces.

A panel of experts will also meet at the Chichester Festival Theatre after the event to discuss the cultural impact of the War through British playwright W Somerset Maugham’s popular novel For Services Rendered.

Tickets for the University conference are free but should be booked in advance from www.gatewaysfww.org.uk/events/researching-lives-great-war.

Additional tickets for the evening event at the Chichester Festival Theatre are also free but must be reserved separately at www.cft.org.uk/for-services-rendered.

To find out more about the conference visit the University of Chichester, Bishop Otter campus, College Lane, West Sussex, PO19 6PE.

Photos: (top) Chichester Cathedral, as it would be under German bombardment, (middle) Territorials leaving Chichester for France, from the archives of the West Sussex Record Office.