NOW is the time to search your attics and cellars to help create a long-lasting legacy of your ancestors' role in the First World War.

The People’s Collection will be the culmination of the Worcestershire World War One Hundred project’s five year programme of events and activities commemorating the role the county played in the conflict

It will lead to the creation of a large exhibition across ten separate venues of artefacts, stories and memorabilia representing as many Worcestershire people as possible and just like Lord Kitchener's famous pointing finger poster, the organisers need your help. They are looking to borrow anything families may have of relatives who fought in the war or any stories that can be told either from the Front or at home. Donated or loaned, items will be displayed as close to their home town as possible across the county between April and November 2018.

Funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund, Worcestershire World War One Hundred is one the largest programme of events in England commemorating the First World War involving cultural and heritage organisations and the People’s Collection is an opportunity for county people to take part and share their family’s World War One artefacts and experiences.

Donations can be brought along to The Hive tomorrow (Saturday, November 12) from 10am-11.30am and 1.30pm-4pm when visitors will be able to meet members of the Worcestershire World War One Hundred team and share their ancestors stories. Alternatively throughout the remaining commemorative period donations or loans can be taken to the Worcestershire Soldier Gallery at the Museum and Art Gallery, Foregate Street, Worcester WR1 1DT or via the Worcestershire World War One Hundred team on 01905 845790 or via

Here are just three of the stories donated so far:

Private Charles Henry Perry

Private Charles Henry Perry, served with the Gloucestershire Reg/8th Worcestershire Reg and lost his left leg at the Battle of the Somme. He was born on September 18, 1882 in Cirencester, Gloucestershire and died, aged 86 in 1968 in Worcester. He married Florence Sandles in Worcester in October 1913, they lived in Henwick Road and had 8 children, his first son was born on 23 December 1914. Florence died in 1954 aged 69.

Private Perry went to war in 1914 and was injured during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. His descendants believe his leg amputation took place on The Somme. Private Perry was one of the first injured service men to live in the houses at Gheluvelt Park when they first opened.

His one grandson said: “We are still researching my grandfather’s military records, however what we have found so far has shown that despite such a significant injury at the Battle of the Somme Charles Perry remained active throughout his life. Through sharing our family story we can make some real connections between the Battle of the Somme and Worcester hopefully bringing the impact and reality of that battle to life for future generations.”

Private Richard Henry Webb

Webb's story was quite remarkable, because it involves a soldier who was presumed killed in action only to reappear three years later. Born in Kidderminster in 1892, Richard Henry Webb enlisted in the British Army in December 1908. When war broke out in August 1914 Private Webb was presumed to have been killed in action on August 29, 1914 while covering the army in its retreat from Mons, only to later appear in 1917. He was a member of the Royal Irish Dragoons, involved in Battle of Mons and got separated from small patrol together with Cpl Cheeseman on August 29.

Local farmer Emil Fontaine, supplied Webb and Cpl Cheeseman with food and sacks to cover themselves. They remained hidden in the woods for four months. After being chased during a search of the woods they then moved into Mr Fontaine's barn, where he dug a pit to hide them and provided them with civilian clothes and minimal food.

They remained in hiding for 25 months until February 1917, during which time they only went out at night time and never spoke to any inhabitants of the district other than Mr Fontaine and his wife.

On February 10, 1917, when the village was evacuated by German authorities, the pair were confronted by a German soldier and captured. Initially they told the German soldiers that they were French, though after transfer to the commandment at Cugny they said they were Irish and only later admitted they were British soldiers.

Initially court martialled and sentenced to death for espionage the charges were changed and after being sentenced to death on two occasions they were sentenced to 15 years hard labour, which they served in ordinary prisons. Webb escaped from the last prison in all the chaos of the armistice, and made way to the local Revolutionary Council in Bremen where he was given a ticket for a train out of Germany. All the charges were dropped.

Webb's wife Jeanie gave birth to their daughter Marjorie in 1915 (Webb had been missing and presumed dead since August 1914).

He was repatriated at the end of the war, which is when he was able to meet his daughter for the first time. Webb became a fireman after the war and lived until nearly 90. His name is on the war memorial in Kidderminster and the Roll of Honour which used to hang in the main fire station in Birmingham.

Descendents Mr and Mrs Cox have donated a range of materials for the exhibition including Private Webb’s military history sheet and short service attestation and his pensioners record card. The collection includes a notation that Private Webb and Cpl Cheesman were missing in the War Diaries along with Mr and Mrs Cox’ family history research.

In 2014 Mr and Mrs Cox made their own journey to France to find the barn where Mrs Cox’s grandfather hid. While much of the farmhouse has been rebuilt over the years the original barn was still standing. They also tracked down and met the descendants of Cpl Cheeseman.

William Alfred Norris and Robert Plant

William Alfred Norris was born on August 18, 1868, the son of a silversmith. He used money left to him to buy the Plough and Harrow at Kinver in 1913 and was the owner until 1920. Norris held tenancy from 1920 to 1925, after which he moved to Kingsford, Wolverley.

During his tenancy Robert Plant gave him a series of drawings and cartoons depicting the war and German soldiers in particular. Norris died in February 1948 in Wolverley and the pictures where put away and forgotten in a drawer.

William Alfred's son was Fredrick William born on July 11, 1896. Fred was called up in 1915. Fred was Pte 58362 in 2nd Batt South Staffs and was stationed in Whitby. He spent his leave at Cound Lodge Cressage, (now called the Riverside Inn) which was owned by his aunt. This is where Ethel Hughes, whom Fred later married, worked as housekeeper. Fred and Ethel married in June 1918, two days before was mobilised and sent to Bac Delrol France. He was admitted to a field hospital and by January 19, 1919 he was suffering from influenza. In April 1919 he was sent from France to Plymouth. He was then sent to Wordsley Hospital. In Nov 1919 he was transferred to the Army Reserve then demobbed. Fred and Ethel lived and farmed at Wolverley, Kidderminster. They were survived by three daughters.

Beryl Buckley, who lives in Kidderminster, and her brother found the drawings by Robert Plant after her grandfather Fred had died. The pair had never been shown or told about the drawings. The 22 drawings have been donated to Worcestershire Archive for inclusion in the People’s Collection. The majority of the drawings, while humorous are quite provocative and largely portray Germans as evil and / or incompetent.

Mrs Buckley and the Worcestershire World War One Hundred team are keen to know more about Robert Plant, incidentally no relative of Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant. To-date Mrs Buckley has found him on the 1911 census living in Kinver. But, did he serve in the Great War? Is that where he drew his cartoons? What happened to him after the War? Anyone who can add to the story is encouraged to contact the Worcestershire World War One Hundred team.