Sunday, 6 July 2014

World War Remembrance - the latest offering - The Royal British Legion's Every Man Remembers

The Lives of the First World war site has a support forum for contributing suggestions for improvement (and they are many), suggested life stories (the ones not as yet included as the man/woman has no Medal Card) and two for feedback and discussion  - I'm not really sure what the difference is between the latter and to be certain of keeping up with everything that is being said I regularly check all four threads.

Lives of the First World War logo and title with added word Support

This morning I found a mention of a new remembrance site - the Royal British Legion working with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission this time.  It is called Every Man Remembered. It covers those who fell in the First World War and asks for each of them to be individually commemorated by those alive today. 

Every Man Remembered heading with poppy logo

I think this site will provide a much easier platform for the public to remember their grandfathers and great uncles than the Lives of the First World War has proved to be.  If a serviceman is on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site then he/she will be on here.  Of course it only includes those who fell, and the LFWW will, eventually, include all service personnel plus nurses and civilians who contributed to the war (that's what they are promising us).  

See text - a snip of the entry on Everyman Remembered for Reginald Leslie DuncanAdding a 'story' to the RBL site seems simple - find your man (search by initials or forename and surname plus regiment if you want  - add a short sentence of commemoration, then on a subsequent screen you can add a longer story of up to 3,500 characters - a lot more generous than the LFWW limit.  A map is displayed at the search phase (if you search on a large screen - this didn't show on my tablet) showing where the man fell and a running total of tributes and donations made is shown down the side.  12155 tributes this morning.  Despite asking we have no idea what the reach of the LFWW is yet ...

This is the entry I made for the OH's 1st cousin 3x removed Reginald Leslie Duncan.  On the Stories tab I just added links to my blog and to LFWW - well I don't want all the work I've put into that to go to waste.

Other remembrance offerings that are 'Coming Soon' include:

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is promising enhancements to be launched tomorrow, 7 July 2014.  These will include the launch of archive documents online and a Discover 14-18 historical section.

Last week the government confirmed the distribution of £5 million pounds for the conservation and protection of War Memorials, this included half a million pounds for the Imperial War Museum to develop a website to help communities find out where information on War Memorials can be found - to be delivered by 4 August this year.  

How many more remembrance sites will we have before the end of the centenary?  Is anyone trying to co-ordinate all the efforts or are we seeing duplication on a massive scale?  Don't forget all the local sites out there, like the Barnsley War Memorials Project and one of my favourites at the moment, Tynemouth's World War 1 Commemoration Project.

As a historian I should think this is all wonderful ... shouldn't I ... the proliferation of remembrance and the commemoration of such a pivotal event of the 20th century.  So why do I feel so uneasy?

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