A hundred years goes by quickly. It’s long enough ago to have forgotten details; not so long ago that they can’t be recovered.
At the centennial of the beginning of World War I, England’s Imperial War Museums (IWM) has launched Lives of the First World War, a collaborative online project aiming to document and remember the more than 8 million men and women of the Commonwealth involved in the war effort. Your help is needed to discover and tell the life stories of those who served in uniform and worked on the home front.
While the war was still being fought, IWM asked the public to help create a record so complete that every active individual – male or female, soldier, sailor, airman or civilian, British or a member of the Commonwealth – would find a record of their contribution. But with millions of people involved, not everyone could be named. Many stories could not be told. Now, in the information age, IWM is building a permanent digital memorial to honor and remember the valuable contributions of so many.
IWM is calling for public help in identifying contributors, piecing together their life stories, and remembering that such a great effort was expended, and victory achieved – bit by bit – by individual people with individual stories.
By working together to uncover and tell these stories, contributions can be valued, comrades-in-arms can be connected electronically, and forgotten details can be woven into vibrant personal and family histories to be saved and shared for generations.
There are many ways to get involved. You can:
- Search over 6.8 million Life Stories at: livesofthefirstworldwar.org
- Show others you are remembering by pressing the ‘Remember’ button on a Life Story.
- Help your friends and family to remember by using the Facebook, Twitter and email sharing buttons
- Link together evidence relating to the same person, using records from museums, libraries, and archives across the globe. (Many of these have been brought together for the first time by Lives of the First World War.)
- Add references to sources you’ve discovered elsewhere.
- Upload digital images of your own precious family mementoes.
- Include family stories and personal knowledge.
- Group together individuals you’re interested in by creating your own Community page.
Find out more about this important project at http://livesofthefirstworldwar.org.
Who will you remember?
Photos were used by permission of the Britain’s Imperial War Museum