Buried battles and Veterans' Voices
Hear the stories of soldiers who served with the regiments across four decades
|'Buried Battles and Veterans' Voices' was established by Surrey History Centre in partnership with the Queen's Royal Surrey Regimental Museum and the National Archives to preserve and make accessible the documentary, photographic and oral history heritage of the regiments.
Through this project, generously funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the following objectives have been achieved:
The reminiscences of veterans of the regiment have been recorded for posterity. Extracts from these reminiscences, grouped by theme and with transcripts attached, allow you to listen to former soldiers recount their experience of life in the regiment and of some of the defining moments of the Second World War such as Dunkirk, the fall of Singapore and the North African, Italian and Burma campaigns. You can also hear about vital but less well-known post-war operations in Palestine, Malaya, Korea and Northern Ireland.
The historic records and photographs of the three regiments, held by Surrey History Centre, have been fully catalogued allowing researchers across the world a comprehensive picture of the scope of the collection. These catalogues can be searched through the Access to Archives website (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a) and the Surrey History Centre website (www.surreycc.gov.uk/surreyhistorycentre).
The contents of the 300 photograph albums which formed part of the archives of the regiments have been catalogued in detail by volunteers. The names of all the individuals depicted have been recorded allowing users swiftly to locate photographs of 19th and 20th century soldiers in whom they are interested. The detailed catalogues are available at Surrey History Centre (www.surreycc.gov.uk/culture-and-leisure/history-centre).
A travelling exhibition to promote the project and the history of the regiments has been created to tour libraries and museums.
|Extracts of the recorded interviews with veterans of the regiments have been arranged in the following themes.
Joining up: soldiers remember how they came to join a Surrey Regiment, whether through choice or compulsion.
The Army Life: veterans recall their experiences of soldiering - the routine, the pay, conditions in the barracks.
The North West Frontier: soldiers remember the challenges of serving on the wild and mountainous North West Frontier of India in the years leading up to the outbreak of World War II.
The Second World War in Europe and North Africa: soldiers remember the chaos of Dunkirk and the fall of France, the hard-fought but successful campaigns in North Africa and Italy and the triumphant advance into Germany as the war drew to an end.
The Second World War in the Far East: veterans recall the disastrous defeat in Malaya and Singapore in 1942 and the gruelling campaign across the hills, valleys and jungles of Burma to drive out the Japanese.
Prisoner of War: soldiers taken prisoner by the Germans in Europe and the Japanese in the Far East recount their experiences of conditions in the prison camps and their often chaotic liberation at the war's end.
The Twilight of Empire: Serving with the Regiments, 1945-1959: soldiers remember the era of the Cold War, national service and fighting to shore up the faltering British Empire at Suez and in Malaya.
End of an Era: The Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment and The Queen's Regiment: the creation of the Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment and tours of duty in Aden, Hong Kong, Bahrain and Northern Ireland are remembered.
Belonging to the Regiment: veterans reflect on leaving the army, on friends they made and lost, and on their pride in having served with the Surrey Regiments