About us

This short film tells why we created Lives of the First World War and explains why we need your help to ensure those Life Stories are remembered forever. Read on below to learn more about the project and who is involved.

Watch our 3 minute film now

About Lives of the First World War

Even while the First World War was still being fought, the newly-formed Imperial War Museum was asking the public to help it tell the story of the global conflict that shaped the world we live in today.

The museum was formed not as a monument to military glory, but as a record of the toil and sacrifice of those who had served in uniform or worked on the home front.

The vision for this record was that it would be so complete that every individual, man or woman, soldier, sailor, airman and civilian from across Britain and 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 digital age, IWM can build the permanent digital memorial to the Lives of the First World War.

By working together during the First World War centenary, we can piece together more than 8 million life stories, share them, and from 2019 enable IWM to save them for future generations.

It would be an extraordinary achievement if we could do this.   

How Lives of the First World War works

Each individual whose contribution to the First World War is recorded in official documents will have a personal Life Story page, where you can register your commitment to Remember them.

Information about each person and their wartime experiences can be connected to Life Stories by members of the public.

You can:

  • Link together evidence relating to the same person, using records from museums, libraries and archives across the world. Many of these have been brought together in one place for the first time by Lives of the First World War.
  • Add references to sources you have discovered elsewhere.
  • Upload digital images of your own precious family mementoes.
  • Include family stories and personal knowledge.
  • Group together individuals you are interested in by creating your own Community page.

As more and more people connect facts to Life Stories, we can begin to piece together each individual’s life story.

Getting involved

  • You can find more information about how to piece together Life Stories and contribute material to Lives of the First World War in the Help section.
  • For more background information on the war and for some ideas about where to start looking for information about your family members, have a look at the History section.

Who is behind Lives of the First World War?

IWM’s Lives of the First World War is delivered in partnership with Findmypast.

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