Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lives of the First World War

Apologies for the lack of updates on the blog recently.  One of the things I've been busy working on is getting the information about the St James men together ready to upload it to the Lives of the First World War project.

If you haven't heard about this amazing project by the Imperial War Museum then you really should go and check it out. When I first heard about it I was a bit skeptical, like many people I wondered how they were going to keep track of entries, how reliable the information was going to be etc. Then I was invited to be one of the testers. I kept my test entries small, just two men, but I tried to make their stories as full as I could - and I've been very impressed by the results. The system for uploading data isn't perfect, but it is very good and being improved all the time (taking note of suggestions from users too!)

My main reaction when I started to understand the project was one of awe, this is the most ambitious WW1 data-collection project ever. EVER. And it can work... but only if we all support it and contribute what we can.  Many of us spend a lot of time, money and energy researching the past and collecting information casualties and combatants of the First World War whether it be a single relative or tens of thousands of men from one regiment. The Lives of the First World War project wants to bring all of that together, all of it, every little bit, every scrap of information about every single person from the UK who lived through or died in the First World War.

This project is a gift to future generations who will be even more removed than the trenches than we are, and to ourselves, a way of sharing our work, our passion for remembrance and our pride in these men and women. It is also a gift to those who fought, those who never came home, those who came home damaged and those who had to watch them go and then pick up the pieces of their families, communities and lives when it was over. They will be remembered. In the past these men and women have been commemorated in stone and bronze, in poetry and prose. Now we are adding a national digital memorial as our 21st century commemoration.  One HUGE difference between this project and all memorials that have gone before is that it will include all men and women who made a contribution to the war, including civilian work.

So, I am planning on contributing what I can and I will soon be starting to add information about the men from the St James memorial, I'll post links on here for each man as I go, if you're a relative of one of the St James men, or have some information about anyone from the First World War why not go and get started? 

The first man from the St James Memorial to be added is my relative, Private William Edwin Noll. 


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