The Charity's background and philosophy
Why and how?
The Secret WW2 Learning Network had already existed informally since 2012 because its eventual co-founders, Martyn Bell and Martyn Cox -"the two Martyns" - had realised that via they had a shared interest in the same aspects of WW2 history, and had also recognised that the people - and particularly the veterans - they'd been meeting in France and Britain, and also the organisations they'd dealt with, were all part of a network - albeit informal. It already existed ... but those in it just had spotted this yet!
So they immediately saw the potential for joining up the dots to activate this network as a way of taching more and younger people about the
The Secret WW2 Learning Network was registered as a educational charity in 2014, although it originally had the more long-winded name of The Secret War Museums & Learning Network. The co-founders first wanted to prove to others and themselves that they could fulfil the commitments made within the Charity's stated Objects- that’s the rather formal sounding statement of intent that has to be declared when any charity registers with the Charity Commission, and this was originally it -
The advancement of the education of the general public in the nature, perception, context, history, impact and consequences of covert operations during times of conflict and in particular the covert Allied operations during the Second World War with a focus on those who took part in clandestine operations in support of resistance in occupied France and also the actions of the French resisters themselves - both military and civilian - and the experiences of their fellow civilians whose country had been occupied.
Having already instigated several events and educational initiatives the team were able to hit the ground running, and one of the Charity’s original purposes was in any case to become an educational outreach service to the History department of University of Sussex. This relationship has been of enormous benefit to both organisations and from the outset had certainly given ‘instant’ credibility to the Charity, especially when Prof Rod Kedward, the university’s highly regarded resistance historian, kindly agreed to become a founding Trustee - and later, the Honorary Life President..
The Secret WW2 Learning Network has been so active ever since, principally in France as well as Britain, but increasingly so across the world, with initiatives and projects in Austria, Australia, India and Israel. In line with our expanding geographical reach, our stated objects were revised, in 2020, to -
The advancement of the education of the public in the nature, perception, context, history, impact and consequences of covert and ‘secret war’ Allied operations during the Second World War, with a focus on those who took part in clandestine operations in support of resistance in occupied territories and also the actions of the resisters themselves and the experiences of their fellow civilians whose country had been occupied. Events, lectures, presentations and digitised archives of recorded and filmed testimony will be at the core of a programme of outreach initiatives to engage, inform and inspire new audiences via a network of educational establishments, relevant associations, community organisations and specialist museums.
The Charity's activities are only possible due to donations and the subscriptions from its Friends scheme, supported by partnership working with other organisations. This is therefore the opportunity to re-emphasise ...
Why are donations so vital now?
This web site is just one expense which can be seen by everyone, and it plays a vital role as the Charity's online shop window in one via its regularly updated news of the activities undertaken - but many of these activities have costs, for example -
Covering the costs which enable the Charity to develop special commemorative events and install plaques
Covering some or all of the expenses involved when getting veterans and carers to special events
Covering the expenses of guest contributors such as historian speakers - that's the least we can do if they'll take part in an event or other initiative
Owning and storing the equipment needed for presentations and other events, as this is more cost-effective than always having to hire these items
Producing display and other promotional material - there’s no point in doing what we do unless we can also publicise all this so as to engage wider audiences
Turning our archive and knowledge into learning resources - including videos for online access - by digitising existing or acquired interviews and archive material
Instigating ever more links between appropriate organisations, veterans associations, learning institutions and local communities in the countries in which we operate
Improving and expanding this web site as the Charity's resource platform and also the 'shop window' for fundraising and promotion
The continuation of activities such as those is why the Charity needs ongoing income, so please do consider a donation, or subscribing as a Friend of the Charity - see the page on this site ''Support Us' - so that we can cover the basic month-to-month costs while also developing new initiatives.
So the bottom line is quite simply this .... when we ask for donations we really do mean it, and that time is NOW!