A PROJECT to create anniversary events including a travelling U-boat and a memorial parade has been given a £319,800 grant.

Harwich Haven – Surrender to Sanctuary is a two-year-long project, which will be based in Harwich.

It will focus on the anniversaries of two of the town’s hugely-significant moments in history – the centenary of the surrender of the German U-boat fleet in November 1918 and the arrival of the first Jewish refugee children, known as the Kindertransport, in December 1938.

As well as research, archive film footage, talks and walking trails, the project – run by New Heritage Solutions – is set to organise big events to mark the two anniversaries.

David Cain, development manager of New Heritage Solutions, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund of £319,800 is funding us a two-year project that will run from now to the end of December 2019.

“The project is focused around Harwich and Dovercourt, though some will go out around North Essex and across to Felixstowe.”

A base will be set up in Harwich for staff, which is hoped will also provide a location for a heritage lab or centre to teach residents how to archive, research and create their own exhibitions.

“The project was born out of looking at what interesting projects we could do to commemorate the end of the First World War,” Mr Cain added.

“This will mark the end of the First World War and the beginning of the Second World War.

“There will be a series of events to commemorate the two anniversaries in late November and early December this year – one will be a parade or pageant for the U-boat surrender and a travelling U-boat.”

When the First World War ended on November 11, 1918, Harwich became a base for the surrender of German U-boats.

By January 1919, there were 183 U-boats in the harbour – and the part of the River Stour occupied by the boats became known locally as U-boat Avenue.

David said: “For the Kindertransport, we are looking to have a re-enactment of it, to have a theatre piece to bring it to life for the next generation.

“The key thing is very much about looking at the community and social history. The military history is important, but we want to look at the impact on local people.”

The Kindertransport saw about 10,000 children, mostly Jewish, brought to the UK from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland. Arriving in Harwich marked the point at which they were safe from the Nazi regime, which went on to kill six million Jews over the course of the war.

Harwich councillor Garry Calver said: “David Cain and his team have been building this project for nearly two years and it has the potential for a major impact on our town.”