Launch Press Release

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IWM needs YOU to help build Lives of the First World War

Today (12 May 2014), Imperial War Museums (IWM) has launched Lives of the First World War and needs your help to tell the life stories of millions of people from across Britain and the Commonwealth who served in uniform and worked on the home front.

Over the course of the next five years, Lives of the First World War, delivered in partnership with Findmypast, will become the permanent digital memorial to over 8 million men and women. IWM is urging everyone to discover their First World War connections and remember and share these with the rest of the world online at www.livesofthefirstworldwar.org

Luke Smith, IWM’s Digital Lead for the First World War Centenary said ‘The launch of Lives of the First World War really is just the beginning. We need the public to help us piece together over 8 million life stories, so that we can remember these people 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.’

Dan Snow, Lives of the First World War Ambassador said; ‘Lives of the First World War will become an extraordinary online 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. We need to make it happen by uploading information about our First World War ancestors, piecing together their stories, remembering them and saving this knowledge for future generations.’

Lives of the First World War has launched today with the records of those who served with the British Army overseas - over 4.5 million men and over 40,000 women. These include Sister Martha Aitken who served in the Territorial Force Nursing Service in Casualty Clearing Stations and Military Hospitals in France and Flanders, Private Michael Lennon who fought with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers at Gallipoli, Albert Tatersall one of many men from the North West to line up for the attack on the first day of the Battle of the Somme and Thomas William Stratford who served in China and Gallipoli before being wounded in France and discharged.

However, many of those on Lives of the First World War are currently only names. We need the public to help identify them, piece together their stories and remember each and every one of them.

Over the coming months, millions of additional new records will be added to Lives of the First World War - from the Royal Flying Corp/Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy, the Canadian Expeditionary Force, the Australian and New Zealand Imperial Forces along with the records of almost 17,000 conscientious objectors. IWM is also seeking to include the Indian Army, Home Front workers and all others who made a contribution from across the British Empire.

Lives of the First World War will continue to evolve over the First World War Centenary and new functionality will be added so that people can easily share and discuss who they are remembering online.

Today, IWM is asking people everywhere ‘who will you remember?’

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