Friday, 4 September 2015

An Appeal for First World War Lives to be Remembered

You might remember that over a year ago I got quite enthusiastic about Lives of the First World War - the Imperial War Museum's online tribute to all the men and women who were affected by the war.  

To start with the site was difficult to use, but eventually things began to improve, especially with the introduction of the Timeline view.  Since then Lives Mail has appeared - a facility to exchange messages with other people who are using the site - a bit like messaging on Facebook.  This means that you can easily and securely make contact with other people who are remembering stories that you are interested in.  There is also a little notification bell symbol at the top of the screen which shows a red spot when someone else adds to a story that you have 'remembered' or added some evidence to yourself in the past.  I love seeing those red spots!
The new features on Lives (that's me on the right!)
Clicking that little arrow by the profile picture of the user will bring up a menu that lets you access your notifications, your mail, your profile, your subscription and most importantly your Dashboard, where all the men you are remembering are displayed.  The Help option takes you through several improved screens of helpful hints - although I still think my User Manuals on this blog were pretty good!  Try this page if you haven't looked at Lives before. Then eventually you reach the Forum pages where you can ask for help, suggest improvements and request Lives to be added.

In the last few weeks there have been some great strides in improvements to the site, all thanks to a group of IWM Volunteers.  I am very proud to be able to say that this hallowed group includes yours truly!

Previously only men and women who appeared in the various categories of 'seed' data were available on the site for the users to add their own photographs and family stories to.  The forum dedicated to requesting stories to be added had hundreds of posts going right back to the start of the project - and I am happy to say that the volunteers have now cleared most of the backlog and are keeping up with the requests that are added on a daily basis.

Follow this link to ask for your relative's Life Story page to be added to the site: 

There were also a large number of duplicate names on the site - mainly due to the award of medals for bravery and so on.  As each of these generates a separate medal card some men have two or three or more cards and thus multiple "Life Stories" on the Lives website.
These are now being merged by the IWM Volunteers too!

Can't stop - got loads of work to do!  Hundreds of the men listed in the 1918 Absent Voters' List for Barnsley didn't serve abroad - so they don't have Life Stories yet ... and there are quite a few Commonwealth War Graves Commission burials around the Barnsley area for men who died while training or through sickness or by some accident or other who are also not yet remembered on Lives. 
Charles Senior - accidentally drowned and Edward Hesford - died in hospital

Today I added stories for two young men, Charles William Senior and Edward Hesford who are buried in Barnsley Cemetery - you can read about them on Lives or on our Barnsley's History - The Great War Facebook page.