OF THE 16 MILLION Americans who fought in World War Two, fewer than 620,000 are still alive today. Their average age is 91 and more than 500 of them pass away every 24 hours.

British_Paratroops_inside_one_of_the_C-47_transport_aircraft-1
WarGen is enlisting an army of volunteers world wide to create an open-source archive of memories from surviving World War Two veterans. Join them today. (Image source: WikiCommons)

Only 60,000 Canadians who served in World War Two remain.

The U.K. Ministry of Defence estimates that there are fewer than 125,000 British Second World War veterans alive as of October 2016.

But as time steadily hollows out the the ranks of the ‘Greatest Generation,’ one British-based volunteer organization is racing to capture the wartime experiences of those who lived through the conflict while there’s still time.

“We are fortunate to be living in an age where recording these voices has never been easier.”

WarGen, which was founded by television historians Dan Snow and James Holland, is an open-source history movement that encourages anyone who knows a veteran or Second World War survivor to capture their recollections and submit them to the project.
“Millions of men and women served and lived through the war, but sadly now only a handful survive,” said WarGen volunteer Dan Morelle. “World War Two touched the lives of every man, woman, and child of all the major combatant nations. And yet soon, the memories of those people will be gone forever.”

MilitaryHistoryNow.com recently connected with WarGen and asked some of the volunteers to tell us more about the campaign. Here’s what they told us:

MHN: What is WarGen’s goal?

WarGen: Our aim is to record the memories of as many of these survivors of the war as possible on an open crowd-sourced platform. We want anyone to be able to reach this material, whether it be a voice-recording, a filmed interview or written transcription. There will be the opportunity to post other material too as well as leave comments and have discussions with other users of the site. We are fortunate to be living in an age where recording these voices has never been easier. Our aim is to have the testimonies of veterans from all around the world.

MHN: Why do you think collecting these oral histories is so important?

WarGen: By recording these conversations, it’s not only an opportunity for our volunteers to learn, but it’s also a chance to record those memories so that they are not lost, but are instead saved and then archived for future generations.

To read more of the interview please visit the Military History Now website.

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