The Staffordshire Regiment and the Breaking of the Hindenburg Line

Fri, 14/09/2018 - 15:21

National Lottery support for ‘The Staffordshire Regiment Museum and the Breaking of the Hindenburg Line’ project to mark First World War Centenary

 The Staffordshire Regiment Museum – based at Lichfield – has received a £10,000 grant thanks to National Lottery players. Awarded through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War then and now programme. The project will focus on the contribution of The 137th Staffordshire Brigade on September 29th 1918 when allied forces successfully broke the main German defensive line; the Hindenburg Line during the Battle of the St Quentin Canal. Germany signed the armistice to end the Great War 43 days later on 11th November, which brought to an end four years of brutal warfare.

 To mark the Centenary of the First World War, the project will enable local people in Staffordshire to come together to preserve the memories and heritage of the people who lived through the First World War. Volunteers will help research newspaper clippings, photographs, war diaries and the Regiment archives as well as family tales passed down to help them to build a clear picture of what happened at the battle on September 29th and to find out more about the Staffordshire men involved.

A famous photograph shows Brigadier General JV Campbell addressing the victorious Staffords sat on the banks of the St Quentin Canal. We would like to hear from any relatives who may be able to identify family members in the photograph. The Staffordshire Battalions involved in the battle were the The 1st/5th South Staffords - very much a Walsall battalion and the 1st/6th South Staffords - very much a Wolverhampton battalion. The 1st/6th North Staffords had recruited in Burton-on-Trent but had absorbed a good number of men from the Potteries when the 1st/5th North was broken up in January 1918.

 With help from professionals, the information gathered will be digitally recorded and hosted online for people around the world to find out more about the astonishing achievements of the Staffordshire men. We will also be using the research to produce a documentary film, which will be screened at the Museum and a digital resource pack, which will be sent to local schools so this incredible story can be preserved and shared with young people across the local area.

The Museum will be working with local film-makers, Inspired Film and Video to produce the documentary.

 Commenting on the award Danielle Crozier, Museum Curator said, ‘We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players. David Lloyd George called the battle the greatest chapter in our military history and The Staffords spearheaded this attack, which smashed the Hindenburg Line. It was a fine military victory but it’s one that’s often overlooked and we look forward to sharing this story with the public’.

 Vanessa Harbar, Head of HLF West Midlands, said “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. Thanks to National Lottery players, HLF has already invested more than £94 million to more than 1,900 projects – large and small - that are marking this global Centenary. With our small grants programme we are enabling even more communities like those involved in the ‘St Quentin Canal project’ to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local people broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”

 Visitors can visit the exhibition at the Staffordshire Regiment Museum in Lichfield throughout September and October and if you’d like to find out more information please contact Danielle Crozier on 01543 434394.