National Collections >

Association of Jewish Refugees
The British Library Sound Archive

Evacuees Archive
Imperial War Museum Sound Archive
Museum of Army Chaplaincy 
Museum of the Order of St. John
Royal Naval Museum
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
The Second World War Experience Centre
The Wiener Library

Collection websites contain:
 Transcripts / Summaries  Audio files              Video files            


Association of Jewish Refugees
Jubilee House, Merrion Avenue, Stanmore, Middx, HA7 4RL
Contact: Michael Newman, Head of Media and Public Relations
Email: enquiries@ajr.org.uk

Collection description:
The Association of Jewish Refugees oral history project has been collecting the recollections of Jewish refugees who came to the UK before and after the Second World War.

Recordings relating to World War II:
150 (Life histories which include references to wartime experiences)

Subjects covered:
Home Front •  Holocaust related • Refugees

Format of recordings:
Video - all or some with transcripts
Access:
Contact the Association of Jewish Refugees for details

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The British Library Sound Archive                                                                        
96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB
Contact: Dr Robert B Perks, Curator Oral History / Director, National Life Stories
Telephone: 020 7412 7405 Fax: 020 7412 7441
Email: nsa-oral@bl.uk 

Collection description:
The Sound Archive collects audio and videotaped interviews as well as carrying out its own programme of life story recordings. As the national centre for oral history in Britain, it provides advice and training in oral history methods and maintain close contact with oral history groups in Britain and abroad. It has a number of significant collections which include recordings relating to WWII experiences, the majority of which are life histories.

Recordings relating to World War II:
c. 5000 (Includes recordings solely focused on wartime experience & life histories which include references to wartime experiences)

Subjects covered:
All aspects of WWII, including interviews with holocaust survivors, civilians in the Crimea (Uzbekistan), conscientious objectors, Auxiliary Fire Service members, German prisoners of war, and civilians and ex-servicemen and women in the UK.

Particular collections of note include:
The Millennium Memory Bank project (one of the largest collections of oral history interviews ever to have been assembled, containing many life histories which include references to WWII)
Central British Fund Kindertransport Archive
Testimony: Video interviews with holocaust survivors
Living Memory of the Jewish Community - taped interviews with holocaust survivors
Holocaust Survivors Centre project

See the searchable library catalogue for further details on the collection.

Format of recordings:
Audio - all or some with transcripts
Video - all or some with transcripts
Access:
Contact the Library for details

Current status: The collection is still under development

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Evacuees Archive
Institute of Education, University of Reading, Berkshire, RG6 1HY
Contact: Dr Martin Parsons, Director of the Research Centre for Evacuee & War Child Studies
Telephone: 0118 9318870 Fax:
Email: m.l.parsons@reading.ac.uk

Collection description:
The collection contains material from Dr Parsons' own research, specific research projects such as the Living Museum in London in 2005, and the work presently being carried out on private evacuees going to the USA in 1939-45. It also contains a collection of publications relating to the topic, back copies of the Children in War journal and some dissertations. It also contains sound recordings of interviews carried out by Dr Parsons and students. The collection has recently been moved to the Museum of English Rural Life, because it was getting too big for the original site.

Recordings relating to World War II:
80 (Recordings are solely focused on wartime experiences)

Subjects covered:
Home Front Evacuees  Refugees (from Europe) • Finnish Evacuees who went to Sweden Children of Dutch Collaborators 

Format of recordings:
Audio - no transcripts
Video - no transcripts

Access: 
Researchers can access the collection by contacting the Research Staff at the Museum of English Rural Life via University of Reading. The books are in an 'open' collection but access to the other material will require prior notice. There are no charges except for photocopying (where possible). However, we insist that any use of the material is duly acknowledged and referenced in subsequent publications or research projects .
Related products:
Publications which have used the recordings as source material are kept in the 'open section' for reference only. However, the annual Children in War journal is available for purchase. Not from the archive, but by contacting the Evacuee Reunion Office on 01777 816166 where back copies are kept.
Additional information:
The collection is a work in progress. It is probably the largest collection of evacuee related materials outside of the Imperial War Museum. The USA evacuee recordings, when finally edited, will also be available in the IWM and the English Speaking Union in Charles St. London.

Current status: The collection is still under development

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Imperial War Museum Sound Archive                                                            
Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HZ
Telephone: 020 7416 5342 Fax: 020 7416 5379
Email: iwm.altarama.com/reft000.aspx

Collection description:
The IWM Sound Archive contains the largest number of oral history recordings relating to WWII in the country. There are over 21,000 records of sound recordings and oral history interviews available in the IWM database.  This total includes recordings relating to all 20th Century conflicts. This database is fully searchable and includes summaries of many interviews.

Recordings relating to World War II:
c.5000

Subjects covered:
All aspects of WWII. See database for details.

Format of recordings:
Audio - all or some with transcripts
Access:
Contact the Museum for details

Related products:
The IWM Sound Archive has been used in numerous books, including Forgotten Voices of the Second World War; Forgotten Voices of the Royal Navy; and Forgotten Voices of the Holocaust

Current status: The collection is still under development

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Museum of Army Chaplaincy
Amport House, Amport, Andover, Hampshire, SP11 8BG
Contact: Mr David Black, Curator
Telephone: 01264 773144 x 4248 Fax:
Email: rachdcurator@tiscali.co.uk

Collection description:
The Museum of Army Chaplaincy holds the collections and archives of the Royal Army Chaplains' Department. The Army Chaplains' Department was formed in 1796. The Museum collection was formed at the Royal Army Chaplains' Department Training Centre and Depot at Bagshot Park in Surrey in the early 1950s. Most of the recordings in the collection were made in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Recordings relating to World War II: 
90% - no number specified. (Recordings are solely focused on wartime experiences)

Subjects covered: 
British Army (Northern Europe) • British Army (North Africa / Italy) • Prisoners of War (in Japanese camps)

Format of recordings:
Audio - no transcripts

Access:
All visits to the archive and museum are by appointment only. The Recordings are for research use only. The Museum charges £18.00 per hour for Research visits to the Archive.

Current status: The collection is still under development

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Museum of the Order of St. JohnCaring On The Home Front            
St John's Gate, St John's Lane, Clerkenwell, London, EC1M 4DA
Contact: Pamela Willis, Curator
Telephone: 0207 324 4005 Fax: 0207 336 0587
Email: museum@nhq.sja.org.uk

Collection description:
The Oral History collection aims to record the experiences of St John Ambulance members. It was started in the 1980s and contains c. 60 recordings. The Caring on the Home Front website contains audio and video files, as well as summaries of some interviews.

Recordings relating to World War II: 
c. 45 (Includes recordings solely focused on wartime experience & life histories which include references to wartime experiences)

Subjects covered: 
Home Front Evacuees  British Army • Prisoners of War (in German/Italian camps) Medical Services / VADs

Format of recordings:
Audio - all or some with transcripts
Included within DVDs

Access:
Appointment required to use collections for research only.

Related products:
Time To Care CD-Rom £5.00 (includes some WW2 information)
Caring on the Home Front booklet - free
Both above available from the museum
There is also a website: Caring on the Home Front
Current status: The collection not presently being developed but this is under consideration

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The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst                                                     
Central Library, The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 4PQ
Contact: Andrew Orgill, Senior Librarian
Telephone: 01276 412243 Fax: 01276 412538
Email: senlibrarian@rmas.mod.uk 

Collection description:
The Royal Military Academy library contains a small number of oral history recordings as part of
the Library's audio-visual collection.  These videotaped interviews were conducted as part of a joint project conducted by the RMAS Department of War Studies and the Royal Hospital Chelsea between 1983 - 1987.  The 12 VHS tapes contain interviews with 14 individuals on topics including
both World Wars and the inter-war period.

Recordings relating to World War II: 
8 (Recordings are solely focused on wartime experiences)

Subjects covered:
British Army (Burma / India) • British Army (North Africa / Italy) • British Army (Northern Europe) • British Army (other) • Royal Air Force • POWs (in German/Italian camps)

Format of recordings:
Video - VHS, without transcripts.

Access:
Strictly by appointment only. Interested parties will need to write to the Senior Librarian and to the Academy Adjutant in order to apply for access the RMA Sandhurst grounds and will need to provide proof of identity on the day, if their application is successful. The Central Library is open Mon-Fri, 08:30 - 18:00.

Current status: The collection is no longer under development

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Royal Naval Museum / Sea Your History                                                       
HM Naval Base (PP66), Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 3NH
Contact:
Telephone: 02392 727562 Fax: 02392 727575
Email: library@royalnavalmuseum.org

Collection description:
The Royal Naval Museum oral history collection consists of over 500 recordings, representing around 250 interviews conducted by RNM staff. Interviews are concerned with the life and work of all ranks serving in the Royal Navy from the early twentieth century to the present day and are used within exhibitions, online resources, events and activities. Associated material is also acquired when it provides additional understanding and context to an interview. Past projects have focused on the Malta convoys; the WRNS and D-Day; the Battle of the Atlantic, especially the role of the “Flower” class Corvettes; the Pacific War; the WRNS in Malta; the Gulf War; training; restoration of HMS Victory; QARNNS; Integration of women into Royal Navy; Technology; as well as biographical reviews of significant individuals.

Recordings relating to World War II:
125 (Includes recordings solely focused on wartime experience & life histories which include references to wartime experiences)

Subjects covered:
Home Front • Royal Navy • Prisoners of War (in Japanese camps) • WRNS (Women's Royal Naval Service)

Format of recordings:
Audio - all or some with transcripts

Access:
Vistors can listen to recordings within our library reading room, open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm. Access is by prior appointment only, please ring 02392 727588 or 02392 723975 for further details. Selected digitised extracts are also available on the Sea Your History website, http://www.seayourhistory.org.uk/ and from autumn 2008 oral history catalogue records will be available on-line on the Museum’s website http://www.royalnavalmuseum.org/.

Current status: The collection is still under development

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The Second World War Experience Centre                                                    
5 Feast Field, off Town St, Horsforth, Leeds, LS18 4TJ
Contact: Cathy Pugh, General Manager
Telephone: 0113 2589637 Fax: 0113 2582557
Email: enquiries@war-experience.org

Collection description:
The Second World War Experience Centre was established to preserve the surviving material evidence and associated information of the men and women who participated in the war in whatever capacity, whether military, civilian or conscientious objector. The archive is international in scope, documenting both Allied and Axis experience.

The rescue programme focuses on original wartime letters, diaries, artwork, photographs, and memorabilia and militaria evoking the period. It also includes manuscript and typescript memoirs, as well as one of the largest oral history collections in the country. An international network of volunteers tape-records individuals' war memories around the world. Invaluable as evidence, these interviews are also a fascinating supplement to documents and personal memorabilia, which they serve to illustrate.

The Centre's website includes audio extracts and transcripts of interviews, which provide an example of the coverage of the archive.

Recordings relating to World War II:
c.4000 (Recordings are solely focused on wartime experiences)

Subjects covered:
Home Front • Evacuees • British Army (Burma / India) • British Army (North Africa / Italy) • British Army (Northern Europe) • British Army (other) • Royal Navy • Royal Marines • Royal Air Force (Bomber Command) • Royal Air Force (Fighter Command) • Royal Air Force (other) • Merchant Navy • POWs (in German/Italian camps) • POWs (in Japanese camps) •WAAF (Women's Auxiliary Air Force) • WRNS (Women's Royal Naval Service) • ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service) • Women's Land Army • Women Shipyard / Factory Workers • Home Guard / Auxiliary Units • Intelligence Services / SOE • Medical Services / VADs • Refugees • Canadian Armed Forces • American Armed Forces • New Zealand Armed Forces • Holocaust related • German Armed Forces • German POWs (in Allied camps) • German Home Front • Italian POWs (in Allied camps) • Conscientious Objectors • French Resistance
Note: This is not a complete list of subjects covered - contact the Centre for further details.

Format of recordings:
Audio - all or some with transcripts
Access:
Contact the Centre for details

Related products:
The Second World War Experience Centre Archive has been used in numerous books, including
D- Day By Those Who Were There.

Current status: The collection is still under development

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The Wiener Library
4 Devonshire Street, London, W1W 5BH
Telephone: 020 7636 7247 Fax: 020 7436 6428
Email: library@wienerlibrary.co.uk

Collection description:
The Wiener Library has actively collected thousands of eye witness accounts of survivors and refugees, starting in the 1950s and 1960s. These interviews were not taped but written up by the interviewers and then double checked with the interviewees. The majority are in German, but all testimonies have summaries in English. The Library also holds unpublished and published memoirs in various languages.

The Library also holds video recordings of Kindertransportee interviews undertaken for the documentary film by Sue Read entitled “The children who cheated Hitler” - not with transcripts but with detailed content lists, and some tape recordings of interviews with Holocaust survivors (not all in English).

The Library is currently interviewing female child camp survivors who were invited to come to Britain in 1945.  The full interviews (c20) will be available at the Wiener Library. For background information on this project see an article published at the beginning of the project on p. 6, [The Girls Project] of the following Wiener Library Newsletter: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Assets/Docs/newsletter/wlnnov2006.pdf.

Recordings relating to World War II:
c.1200

Subjects covered: 
Refugees • Holocaust related

Format of recordings:
Audio - all or some with transcripts
Video
Access:
Contact the Library for details
Current status: The collection is still under development

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This website is continually being updated. If you would like to suggest a collection which should be included, please contact me.