Welcome To London War Memorial

WW1 War Memorial London

Online memorial for London's fallen  in the First World War. 

Until now there has not been a WW1 war memorial dedicated to all the Londoners lost in action during the First World War.

This website hopes to fill that absence - a digital London war memorial for a digital age. 

Few of us can be aware of the enormous numbers of London’s victims of the long and painful conflict of WW1. Over 100,000 Londoners lost their lives in the first world war, many having suffered the most horrific of experiences. Great War memorials and public memorials do exist in London but these do not cover or acknowledge the majority who lost their lives. Some memorials like those in Hampstead and Wimbledon are dedicated to ‘men from the borough’ and list no names, whilst those in other London disticts such as East Ham, Ealing, Wood Green, Stockwell, Brentford, Barking and Golders Green do list names but not all. Other WW1 memorials can be found in schools, factories, libraries, town halls and government offices but by far the greatest number can be found in churches. The Church of England has the monopoly, but in most cases these memorials only list the names of their congregation. Those who did not attend church are ignored or perhaps forgotten. Churches also keep their doors locked most of the time, making access to these memorials impossible. The open door policy is a thing of the past. In addition, many lists are not accurate with names confused or misspelt. In some cases the memorials were cast aside or destroyed in the bombings that London and her citizens endured during World War II and not replaced.

Existing war memorials are limited in scope. Very rarely do they give any information other than a name and initials yet every death has its own story and one of the aims of the on-line London War Memorial is to try to tell these stories. With such a large number of individual stories to tell this will obviously take a long time but eventually it is hoped that the individual profile pages on the website will contain more and more detail, photographs, maps etc. and that gradually a complete picture will evolve.

Gathering the data for this website has fallen into two main tasks. The first was finding the names of those who were killed, well over 100,000 of them and the second was researching the circumstances that led to their deaths.

Apart from the war memorials that are to be found scattered around the capital, the bulk of the  information for the first of these two categories has been gained from two very important sources: the website of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission which is readily available on line and a series of volumes called “Soldiers Died in the Great War” produced by His Majesty’s Stationery Office in 1921 which lists by regiment the names of all army personnel who fell in this conflict. This latter source of information was put on to a CD Rom by the Naval & Military Press and although there are a number of transcriptions problems it is nevertheless a valuable source.

The second task has been and continues to be more complex and relies on an ever growing list of resources, principal among which are the battalion diaries of the units that fought on the Western Front all of which can be found at the National Archives in Kew. They have their limitations however. Written by officers they invariably gloss over casualties among the other ranks, either not mentioning them at all or simply reducing them to mere numbers. On any particular day, an officer going on leave was far more likely to be mentioned than any number of men who may have been killed. In addition they usually adopt a chauvinistic attitude to the fighting. More often than not the British soldier is depicted as a tough fighting, militarily superior, cheerful character while the ‘Bosch’ or the ‘Hun’ are derided for the opposite qualities. The Official History of the War, written up as a series of Military Operations has also provided important information and since 1918 there has been a wealth of books written on the topic of the war, many of which provide useful insights

Other useful links are: -
Roll of Honour www.roll-of-honour.com, The Long Long Trail www.1914-1918.net and the Imperial War Museum website www.iwm.org.uk. These are all well worth visiting for anyone interested in this conflict.

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