12 May 2015 marks a year since Lives of the First World War was launched. It has been an incredibly successful first year, with more than 67,000 Members contributing amazing facts, evocative images and powerful stories to over 7.6 million Life Stories.
In this guest blog post, IWM North Volunteer Desmond Royle tells us how he is using Lives of the First World War to further his research on members of the Fairfield Moravian Church who served in the First World War.
In late 2013 I was approached by a member of Fairfield Moravian Church from Droylsden, Manchester and asked if I would like to be involved in a project about members of their congregation that made the ultimate sacrifice during the First World War, and produce a lasting memorial for the church. I agreed that I would be an interesting project to be involved in.
- Piecing stories together
I decided along with the member of the church to do some research on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database so I could find out dates of members killed and places of burials and memorials where they were remembered. We found fourteen of the members who died during the war, and used this information for an exhibition they decided to put together in their museum.
- Using Lives of the First World War
Lives of The First World War will provide a lasting legacy for my research and ensure that the stories of men like Jonathan will not be forgotten. This is an amazing project and one that I am pleased to be involved in.
After Lives of the First World War was launched in May 2014, I began to look for the individuals’ Life Story pages to share the information that I had found so far, and to see what else I could find from the millions of records available on the site.
During further research I found that one of these men was a distant relative! Jonathan Royle served in the Border Regiment, and lived at 59 Hope Rd, Sale. He served in Gallipoli in Turkey, and died from wounds on 2 January 1916 aged 18. He is buried in the Lancashire Landing Cemetery.