The British public commonly imagine war widows to be elderly women who lost their husbands as a result of active combat in the Second World War, surrounded and supported by family, friends, the armed forces, and the state. While this applies to some women, it by no means describes the majority of Britain’s 18,950 war widows.
War Widows’ Stories captures the lives of war’s forgotten women past and present through oral history, participatory arts, public events, and archival research. In doing so, the project dispels prevalent myths about war widowhood and highlights the hidden, everyday challenges these ordinary women face in extraordinary circumstances. By enabling war widows to tell their stories in their own words and by creating an intricate, multidisciplinary history of war widowhood, War Widows’ Stories breaks the deafening silence that continues to surround war widowhood in Britain today. War widows have been persistently ignored in public histories of war and armed conflict. We need your help to raise awareness of their stories.
The War Widows’ Stories website curates a growing library of artefacts that illustrate the history of war widowhood in the UK, all of which you can use in your teaching and research, or for your private study. We also provide audio recordings and fully searchable transcripts of our interviews with war widows and their adult children in our Stories section.
If you want to listen to the interviews in full as podcasts or listen to some of our popular soundbites, you can do so by visiting the War Widows’ Stories Soundcloud Channel, where all of our recordings can be downloaded and streamed online.
If you’d like to know more about the project and how you can become involved, or if you’d like to have copies of our posters and postcards to help us spread the word, we’d be delighted to hear from you – please send us a message!
We are funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, the British Academy, the Heritage Lottery Fund, and we work with the Royal Museums Greenwich, Firing Line Museum, Highlanders’ Museum, National Memorial Arboretum, National Museum of the Royal Navy, and the Imperial War Museums. War widows’ stories are an important and incredible part of the histories of women and war. If your museum would like to collaborate with us, please get in touch.