Two students on the History Work Based Learning module have been kicking off a new project to trace former Brookes students who fought in major conflicts.
This is part of a plan to commemorate those who gave their lives in war in the form of a physical memorial on campus, and an online archive of individual stories.
One of the students, Ivaana Hussain, said that she was motivated to carry out this work by her fascination for World War Two, and that she has already learned a lot about teamwork and the process of research:
‘The placement I am currently undergoing has definitely made me feel differently about the academic study of History. It has shown me insight into the field of research and what there is to expect... It has also shown me that the subject is not as simple as finding the answer in a book.’
Ivaana and her partner, Deniss Tiscenko, both second year students, started by visiting the Oxford Record Office to see what the archivists could do to help them. There they found a large book of deaths of Oxfordshire servicemen commemorated on war memorials. Since Oxford Brookes doesn’t have a full list of the staff or students who attended the colleges which eventually made up Oxford Brookes University, this is a good 'end' point that they can work back from. Their next stop is to consult the archivists and subject libraries at Brookes itself to put together some more information on how much we hold here. They also plan to use newspaper articles and obituaries to start to build up a record of past servicemen.
"Eventually we hope to be able to talk to the families of individuals who served in war, present photos of the servicemen and women, and provide links to other databases, memorials and record offices which hold information on their military record."