Pennylands - Oral History

Recording people's stories

 

Cumnock History Group is eager to discover more about the WWII camp, its inhabitants and its impact on the local community.

Oral history research will capture the memories of people who lived in or near the camp during its occupancy and who were themselves, or remember, its inhabitants. Although their numbers are inevitably diminishing over time, prospective respondents have fascinating stories of the facility and its inhabitants, and are happy to share their memories with us.

“After the war it was used for housing displaced persons and in the early 1950s it was handed over to Ayr County Council for use as temporary housing.”

These memories include swapping toys for cigarettes with the soldiers; the stationing of tanks at Auchinleck; and playing with children resident at the camp and on the site once it had been abandoned.

Given the passage of time, there is now a great urgency to record and preserve their memories before their knowledge and unique experiences are lost.

Dr Sue Morrison will deliver presentations and comprehensive oral history training programmes to members of Cumnock History Group, recruited project volunteers and Dumfries House staff. These sessions will provide insights into how oral history has increased knowledge, understanding and awareness of various social, cultural, political and economic aspects of Scottish life.

“It was used as a transit camp for many regiments; Grenadier Guards, Inniskillens and some Canadian Regiments.”

The purpose, here, is to show how oral history research can be used in this present project and to indicate areas of potentially fruitful investigation. Volunteers will undertake training and be supported to participate in the oral history research component of this project.

Training programmes will cover all elements of oral history planning, generation, interview techniques, legal and ethical requirements, documentation, preservation and dissemination techniques.

“I still have 3 friends older than me I will give them a call, maybe they could give me a name of someone. There can't be too many still alive.”

Additional training will focus on digital audio editing; volunteers will be supported to create audio clips from the oral history interviews generated by this project.