A LOTTERY grant of nearly £500,000 will help the North-East mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

The money will be spent on a new interactive website linking surviving archives, objects and historic sites in County Durham and unearthing new stories about how communities coped a century ago.

The website, titled Durham at War, will also map commemorative events and projects taking place across the county and residents will be invited to contribute to it.

The Durham County Council-run project is due to be launched in September and continue until the end of 2018, thanks to a £475,100 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

It will involve the County Record Office, Durham Light Infantry (DLI) Museum and archaeology service and include training sessions, workshops, themed research and more.

Leaders hope it will help people understand the impact of the First World War on Durham’s industrial towns, mining villages and rural areas.

There will be a special feature on the 10th Battalion DLI, the first “Kitchener battalion” raised by the DLI in August 1914 and known as the Shiny Tenth, including the recently acquired memoirs of Brigadier General Hubert Morant.

Councillor Neil Foster, the council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We’re delighted to have the support of the HLF for this important commemorative project.

“Everyone with a family connection or interest in County Durham will be able to use this website to ensure that the wartime experiences of its citizens 100 years ago are discovered, shared and remembered.”

Ivor Crowther, head of the HLF North East, said: “The Durham at War website will piece together archive material, objects and oral histories charting County Durham’s immense contribution to the war effort.

“Hundreds of local volunteers will be able to submit information, plot places, names and dates to help build up a clear picture of the county’s wartime experience and create a valuable and lasting resource for everyone who wants to learn about one of the most defining events of the 20th century.”