Second World War Project

We are delighted to be working in partnership with The Museum of Cornish Life at Helston throughout 2021 on a national project developed by Imperial War Museums (IWM). This project will see both museums delivering a range of projects that uncover lesser-known stories about Cornwall in the Second World War.


Alongside the opening of the Imperial War Museum’s new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries in 2021, IWM’s Second World War and Holocaust Partnership Programme (SWWHPP) is working with eight cultural heritage partners across the UK.  We are lucky to be the South West partner on this national project along with the Museum of Cornish Life at Helston.  Thanks to this project we’ve been able to establish a Digital Internship post and carry out a major research project exploring Bodmin and Cornwall’s Second World War history and share it online and via community events during 2021.

The SWWHPP is generously funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.


Our research...

The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (DCLI)

With many undergoing their basic training here at Bodmin Keep; as a regiment of the British Army, the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry played a significant role during the Second World War. Whether it be the 1st, 2nd, 5th or 30th Battalion, we remember them and their service.  


Find out more here
Black and white photograph of troops marching in a line outside Bodmin Barracks.

Additional Links: 


Listen here, for a variety of Cornish wartime stories uncovered by our Digital Interns – Charlotte and Joseph. The following episodes will be aired on BBC Radio Cornwall over the coming months:


Promo/Trailer An introduction to the Digital Interns upload series, as featured on BBC Radio Cornwall on Wednesday 3rd February 2021. 

Episode 1 The Digital Interns at Bodmin Keep and the Museum of Cornish Life share their recent findings of Bodmin Nurse, Olive Barnicoat and the story of an Italian child evacuee.

Episode 2  The Digital Interns at Bodmin Keep and the Museum of Cornish Life share the military story of Major Arthur Frederick Cotton Kitchen (Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry) and the story of Mary Beazley, who spent part of her teenage years in Cornwall during the Second World War.

Episode 3  The Digital Interns at Bodmin Keep and the Museum of Cornish Life share the story of how the wheel of a German aircraft came to be a part of Helston’s Flora Day Clock and the story of Edith Doreen Kearney; a young lady from Chulmleigh, Devon, who trained as a nurse at Bodmin’s St Lawrence’s hospital during the war and met her American husband Frank whilst in the town.

Episode 4 The Digital Interns at Bodmin Keep and the Museum of Cornish Life are speaking on the theme of Prisoners of War. They offer two diverse perspectives on the topic; discussing the experiences of enemy Prisoners of War, held here in Cornwall as well as the story of Gerald Cecil Williams; British Army Officer, held captive as a Prisoner of War overseas from 1941-1945. First captured in North Africa in late 1941, Gerald moved through multiple camps in Italy, Czechoslovakia and finally Germany, where he narrowly escaped death when his camp was bombed by the US Air Force. 


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