Millions of life stories by people who served during World War One will be preserved permanently in an online memorial.
“Lives of the First World War” will use public information gathered over the next five years to help chronicle the stories of more than eight million people from Britain and the Commonwealth who served on the home front and on active duty.
Run by the Imperial War Museums (IWM) with DC Thomson Family, who you may know as the publishers of children’s comics and websites which include Genes Reunited, launched the project today with the records of more than 4.5 million men and 40,000 women who served with the British Army overseas.
They are still looking for many details which could help to piece together the lives of many names which remain just that, names. It is also hoped by the IWM that more complete details can be collated about those that lives are known. The launch of Lives of the First World War is very much just the beginning, public help is needed to piece together over eight million life stories so they can be remembered now and in the future.
“Everybody can contribute to Lives of the First World War, whether they choose to simply remember someone online, ¬ upload a picture from their family album, share a story passed down through generations, or connect official records to build a full and factual picture of what happened to that person throughout the war. This is the start of a journey and we urge everyone to get ¬ involved.” Said Luke Smith, IWM’s lead for the war’s centenary.
Over the coming months, millions of new records will be added to the website, from the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force, the Canadian Expeditionary Force and the Australian and New ¬Zealand Imperial Forces (ANZAC), as well as records of almost 17,000 ¬conscientious objectors the IWM would also like to include the Indian Army, home front workers and many others who contributed either directly or indirectly.
Over the centenary period, starting from this year, 100 years since the First World War started, right through until 2018 it is hoped the site will become a permanent memorial, and will be maintained by the IWM as a research tool for future generations.
The respected British Military historian Dan Snow lends his weight to the project; “Lives of the First World War will become an extraordinary memorial – one of the most extraordinary war memorials ever. IWM has created Lives of the First World War and is now handing it over to us, the public”.
So, to all our Canadian and American friends who flooded North to join the Canadian Expeditionary Force before the United States were called to arms, it would be lovely to get the word out and your contributions to this historic endeavour.