Fjordr completed an initial appraisal of the War Channels in both the First and Second World War for Historic England in March 2014. The project report can be downloaded here and a short article has been published in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology (£). Historic England then commissioned Fjordr to focus on the War Channels in the First World War to coincide with the centenary period. In the course of this work, articles about the East Coast War Channels in the First World War have been published in Historic England Research, by UNESCO, in Context magazine, by the Friends of the National Archives and in Soundings magazine. I have started to compile images relating to the War Channels on Pinterest and on Historypin.
In the First World War the War Channels were a very complex defensive arrangement that involved a range of overlapping systems - on and under the water, in the air and across the airways. The maintenance of coastwise shipping was fiercely contested, especially by German U-boats. The conflict over the War Channels also demonstrates other characteristics exhibited by WWI: it was a World War on the east coast, involving ships and seafarers of many countries; it depended on the introduction of women into roles traditionally occupied by men; it contributed to a new level of industrialisation and bureaucratisation in warfare. I plan to expand on some of these aspects of the East Coast War Channels through this blog.
One of its most striking aspects is that unlike better known battlefields on land, the East Coast War Channels are still represented by the standing remains of the conflict - both along the coastline but especially underwater. Fjordr's work is intended to encourage people to find out more about the various sites and shipwrecks associated with the War Channels, and to add the results of their investigations to national and local records. Fjordr is collaborating with the CBA's Home Front Legacy project and CITiZAN to help people record War Channel heritage, and there will be more about how to do this on this blog shortly.
Historic England's pages on the East Coast War Channels are here. You can join in on Twitter using the hashtag #WarChannels.