We’ve had a busy few weeks at Far From the Western Front and Ellie’s shared some of her thoughts about it in this blog.

On 26 May and 9 June around 15 volunteers from the project and our project partner Collage Arts took part in 2 digital story telling workshops run by DigiTales. Before we started, I had no clue what digital storytelling was – I learnt that it’s the documentation of a story via video through: the movement of photos; spoken narrative; and added sounds for a sensory experience which aims to draw emotion.

“Yesterday was fantastic. I hope everyone got as much out of it as I did.”

Tricia, Polly, Bernadette and Trupti from DigiTales were fantastic – they never had conducted a workshop before based on historical stories, so at first, we debated as a group who could be our stories’ narrators? All of us within the project feel so passionately about how the untold stories of South Asian soldiers are told – we want them told through a South Asian lens and perspective rather than by British voices. We therefore planned our digital story scripts around this issue, either telling our stories through our own view and acknowledging this within the narrative, or in first person through the South Asian individual’s perspective and finding a friend to speak this story (as though they were them).

“Fun and useful!”

Laddie_RoyMy story was about the soldier Indra Lal Roy. Indra was born in Britain and went to school in London – and he desperately wanted to fight for the British army despite being born to Bengali parents; his main aim being to show that Bengalis could fight. During his sight test he was told he couldn’t join the Royal Flying Corps. He fought the decision (there was nothing wrong with his eyes) and was allowed to join.

Before he could show that Bengalis could be brave he was unfortunately shot down. Thankfully he was alive – he woke inside the hospital morgue! Once back in the air again, he was very successful – winning the Distinguished Flying Cross for his 10 victories against the enemy. He was the only Indian air ace in WW1. He certainly showed that Bengalis are brave. I have enjoyed telling his story and cannot wait for it to be available for all to see.

Want to find out more about Indra Lal Roy? Ellie’s story and the others are not quite ready yet – but watch out for our first completed digital stories, coming soon! You can see some pictures here in the meantime.