A NEW digital archive immortalising the contribution of members of the region's Jewish community to the First World War has been unveiled.

The We Were There Too project represents a permanent record of the lives of Jewish men, women and families between 1914 and 1918, and details their military service and efforts on the home front.

First introduced in London in 2016, the project has now been extended to the North West thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant.

The Mayor of Bury, Councillor Jane Black, attended the project's launch ceremony at the King David High School in Manchester alongside other civic, military and religious leaders.

Another launched ceremony was also held at Princess Road Synagogue in Liverpool.

Cllr Black said: "I attended this important event as Mayor, along with my husband Mark. Bury is a proud army town and it was so interesting to hear about this project as mayor, but also as a Jew whose father, uncles and grandfather fought in the British Army."

At the launches a series of emotive readings were given by young people and members of the Jewish community, including poems by Jewish war poets Isaac Rosenberg and Siegfried Sassoon.

A moving act of remembrance then followed, led by Reserve Army Chaplain Rabbi Ariel Abel.

The We Were There Too database will offer an insight into Jewish life in Britain in the early 20th century through a number of research resources which have been brought together for the first time.

In the future more collections of rare material will be added, and, in keeping with Jewish tradition, the site will also allow visitors to permanently memorialise their ancestors to commemorate their deaths annually.

Cllr Black said: "As the years pass by and our ancestors are no longer with us, it is important to find ways to remember. The web technology used here will help us make the history of families and our country available to new generations.

"I was particularly moved to hear how some families are now able to say memorial prayers on the anniversaries of their ancestors’ deaths, so that their lives are now being remembered.

"My own grandfather fought in the First World War, and I hope to find out more about what he did through this project."

The project is now appealing from people to volunteer and help maintain the collections.

Volunteers will be offered training in research, handling historical information, technology project planning and communication.

Alan Fell, the We Were There Too project senior consultant, said: “We are now asking people to volunteer to help us maintain this important and valuable asset.

"Whatever your age, knowledge of the First World War, research experience or understanding of computers, if you think you have a family member who lived in Britain during the war, or are interested to research a name in the British Jewry Book of Honour, on a Synagogue Memorial Board, a gravestone or a host of other memorials, then we will help you to find out more about them and build a Personal Record.”

For more information or to get involved visit www.jewsfww.uk or email alan@jewsfww.uk.