Finding Ella Harling

Finding Ella Harling

Filming of Finding Ella Harling
Filming for 'Finding Ella Harling' Funder Films CIC

First World War: Then and Now

Wye with Hinxhill
Ashford
Funder Films CIC
£9500
The diaries of a wartime teenager were returned to her village community so they could discover her story.

Ella Harling grew up in Wye, Kent, during the First World War. She helped out at the village aerodrome where they trained pilots, and later volunteered with the Women’s RAF. The diaries she kept were archived at the Imperial War Museum, but nobody in the village had ever seen them.

Funder Films CIC worked with the Wye Historical Society and Wye School. During an Imperial War Museum visit, Ella’s diaries were photographed and museum staff trained pupils in handling historical documents. They used these skills to learn about the Harling family through parish magazines.

I knew she'd written a diary because she talked about it and was proud of it... But we assumed it had been lost.

Ella Harling's nephew

The digital files of the diaries were placed in the care of the historical society and the research process led to the creation of a portable exhibition. Eight students were trained in film editing, helping to produce a film including interviews with Ella’s family and a dramatisation scripted and acted by the students and local volunteers.

The year-long project ended in an exhibition and film screening that managed to raise local awareness of Ella’s life as well as reconnect her family with a lost piece of their heritage.

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