LOOKING BACK: Preserving the past

Life and death in the trenches ... the papers carried a poignant ' roll of honour' with details of the local men who lost their lives in the First World War
Life and death in the trenches ... the papers carried a poignant ' roll of honour' with details of the local men who lost their lives in the First World War

One-hundred-year-old newspapers published in Eastbourne during the First World War have been preserved for future generations after being made available online for the first time.

The editions of the Eastbourne Gazette and Eastbourne Chronicle have been scanned and are available to browse on East Sussex County Council’s First World War website.

So far, the collection covers the period from January 1914 to June 1915, while a fresh batch of scanned papers will be published every month, allowing people to follow the conflict as it unfolded a century ago.

The newspapers describe how Eastbourne rallied behind the war, including efforts made to enlist more men and to help wounded soldiers, and feature advertisements for products such as fire extinguishers to protect the home from Zeppelin attack.

A regular, and poignant, feature is the ‘roll of honour’ with details of local men who lost their lives in the war, while the papers also show how ordinary life, from council meetings to coroner’s inquests and theatre performances, continued during wartime.

Councillor Keith Glazier, East Sussex County Council leader, said, “These newspapers offer an in-depth picture of both the progress of the war at the front and how life continued at home.

“They provide a fascinating glimpse into life in wartime and will be of interest to anyone with an interest in the period, as well as those researching their family history.

“Due to their age, some of the papers are in a very fragile state and will only deteriorate as the years go by, so digitising them means they will be preserved for future generations.”

The archive currently features newspapers from Eastbourne and Hastings, but more titles will follow in the months and years to come, covering a wider area of East Sussex.

The newspapers can be viewed online at www.eastsussexww1.org.uk

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