GENUKI Maintainers' Pages

Version 2.0

War Memorials Guide

by Louis R. MILLS

Introduction

It all started when someone sent me an e-mail asking if their great uncle's name was listed on a parish war memorial. I think they assumed that I lived near the parish or that I had access to a list of all those names. But I live an ocean away from England and my access to records is quite constricted. Others have asked how to get a relative's name on a memorial or corrected on a memorial. And next year is the Centennial for World War One.

So I decided to document the parish war memorials. This has turned out to be harder than I expected. Memorials were created at the local parish level after asking the village inhabitants whose names should appear. The results:

  1. Some names have been omitted.
  2. Some names appear on more than one memorial
  3. Some names are misspelled
  4. Some men are listed as killed in action, but were not
  5. Some men are listed who were not in the service at all.
  6. Because they are "historical monuments" we can't just chip the extra S out of a name.
  7. You would have to pay someone to inscribe an additional name on a monument.

Given all the above problems, monuments are still a good resource for family historians. Of course, some don't list any names at all, but most do. A Roll of Honour normally lists the names of all who served, not just those who died. So I decided to add a section (Military History) to each parish profile I maintain if I found a photograph or news story about a monument that I could provide a link for. And if a site has a list of names, then I add a section called (Military Records).

Sources

  1. The Roll of Honour site: Has a photo, usually, and a list of names with additional information where possible.
  2. The Traces of War site: It might only be a Pillbox or an abandoned airstrip, but it is enough for some researchers. It will tell you if there are Commonwealth War Graves in the churchyard. I find it easiest to work from the list by county.
  3. Geo-graph: Trolling the photographs sometimes reveals monuments or World War installations not mentioned above. For this site, I use the parish's 6-character geo-code and scan the thumnails.
  4. Rootsweb Archives: The message lists for a county may have a mention of a war memorial.
  5. Imperial War Museum: Personally I haven't yet found anything useful here using their search feature, but your mileage may vary.
  6. Google: Sometimes searching for "Podunk War Memorial" will reveal that someone has done their own website for Podunk's WM.
  7. I'll post a query on a county mailing list.

Documenting

If I find something in source B thru G, I always let the Roll of Honour site maintainer know what I've found. Granted, sometimes all I've found is a memorial window in the church.

People have sent me lists of names that they've copied from a memorial. I generally just include those in a text file that I link to from the profile page. I tell people that I can't change these because the submitter has the copyright. Some people who want everything "correct" are very demanding, which is a style of communication that doesn't work well with me. Other people assume that I can get them enlistment papers or tell them where the units served. I tell them to hire a professional. But I've also gotten many a "Thank you" from people who saw a relative's name on a memorial and are now content.

Examples

For the Section headers:

<li><a href="#MilitaryHist">Military History</a></li>
<li><a href="#MilitaryRecs">Military Records</a></li>

For the Profile body:

<h4><a name="MilitaryHist">Military History</a></h4>
<ul>
<li>According to <a target="_blank"
href="http://en.tracesofwar.com/article/29264/Commonwealth-War-Grave-Holy-Trinity-Churchyard.htm">Traces of War</a>,
the Holy Trinity churchyard has two military graves.</li>
</ul>
<h5><a href="#top">Return to top of page</a></h5>

<h4><a name="MilitaryRecs">Military Records</a></h4>
<p>For a photograph of the Bilsby War Memorial and the list of names on it, see the
<a target="_blank" href="http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Lincolnshire/Bilsby.html">Roll of Honour</a> site.</p>
<h5><a href="#top">Return to top of page</a></h5>

I've added a text file with the code for the above. Just select Show me the Code!

©Louis R. Mills 2013

[Last updated at 07.24 on Tuesday, 15 July 2014, by Mel Lockie. 2014]
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