20 January 2012 You are here:

The Salvation Army re-writes history

People across the UK are being given the chance to go down in the history books

Heritage image from 1890

A major piece of research has been launched to explore the different ways in which The Salvation Army has touched the lives of individuals and families over the past several decades.

The Salvation Army’s team of researchers wants to collect the stories of anyone who has a connection with or has been helped in any way by the international church and charity.

The information gathered will be used as part of an oral history project to mark a very special 100 year anniversary. The world famous ‘I’ll Fight’ speech of The Salvation Army founder, General William Booth was first given in May 1912 during his last public appearance at the Royal Albert Hall. It has entered The Salvation Army folklore, but is still as relevant today as it was 100 years ago.

Richard Bradbury, The Salvation Army’s Director of Research and Development said: “This is a very exciting project for The Salvation Army to embark upon. The stories gathered will be an excellent testament to The Salvation Army's positive impact on people's lives.

“The Salvation Army has a long history of offering practical support to people who are vulnerable or in need. We regularly get people posting messages on Facebook and Twitter saying they remember what The Salvation Army did for their family at times of need, or how they remember listening to our bands at Christmas as children.”

The Salvation Army helps a vast amount of people in many different ways – its Church leaders (Officers) and volunteers deliver Christmas presents to needy children, hand out food parcels to those who can’t afford to put food on their table, help people overcome their addiction and help people to get back into work. The international church and charity runs more than 50 Lifehouses (hostels) for the homeless, operates care homes, sheltered accommodation and day-care programmes for older people, a range of services to support families, young people and children. It also supports victims of human trafficking by sheltering them in accommodation and giving them individual support to suit their needs. Its family tracing service reunites more than 10 people every working day and The Salvation Army’s Red Shield Emergency Service  - known as the fourth emergency service – despatches a mobile canteen to any major incident to offer support to the victims and relief to the emergency services personnel. There are 700 churches (Corps) across the UK and the organisation works across 124 countries.

Richard Bradbury, The Salvation Army’s Director of Research and Development added: “If anyone has a story about their links to The Salvation Army then we’d urge them to get in touch. It will help us keep a record of the difference we have made to others and may even encourage people who need support now to come to us.”

There is no recording of William Booth’s famous speech but the words appeared in various publications after it was given:

While women weep, as they do now, I'll fight; while little children go hungry, as they do now, I'll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I'll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I'll fight-I'll fight to the very end!