Lives of the First World War

British soldiers eating hot rations in the Ancre Valley during the Battle of the Somme

A new web site, called the Lives of the First World War, was launched to the public this morning at It is the result of a partnership between DC Thomson Family History and Imperial War Museums (IWM). It is a permanent digital memorial to the 8 million men and women from across Britain and the Commonwealth who made a contribution during the First World War. Each person will have their own Life Story page.

The aim of the project is to produce a Life Story page for each person. Members of the public can add information and historical evidence to Life Story pages, including digital images and family stories.

All the Life Story pages were created by IWM, using information from official records. Initially, each page will contain only basic information: a name and a few key facts from that record. You can add more information to show your interest in a person by Remembering them. Everyone can look at the evidence for themselves. We can all help correct mistakes and make improvements.

DC Thomson Family History and Imperial War Museums are asking for your help to piece together the rest of each Life Story. There are two stages to doing this:

  • First you need to find evidence about the person and connect it to their Life Story.
  • Next, you use that evidence to add specific facts about the person’s life and wartime experiences. For example: After searching for someone and adding them to your list of Remembered Life Stories, you can then search for them in the records available on Lives of the First World War. You can also post links to records and sources of evidence from elsewhere, and you can add images and other media you may have.
  • Finally, you will be asked what these records tell us. If you have looked someone up in the 1911 census, for example, you can connect this record to their Life Story, then add details from the census to the entry fields on their Life Story.

By working in this way we can make sure that each Life Story is as accurate as possible.

You can use Lives of the First World War as a Visitor, a Member, or a Friend:

  • As a Visitor you can search for Life Stories, view all the facts people have added to Life Stories, and explore the History section.
  • As a Member you can add to a Life Story and Remember an individual. To do this, you need to create an account and log in so we can show who has added each piece of information. Becoming a member is free.
  • As a Friend of Lives of the First World War you can view premium content and access special features by paying a subscription.

You can show your commitment to remembering an individual by clicking the Remember button on their Life Story page. Clicking the Remember button adds their Life Story to a list on your dashboard. This means you can easily find the people you are Remembering the next time you log in. You can piece together information about an individual’s experiences by adding evidence to their Life Story page and listing key facts.

To see who is included in Lives of the First World War, how they are identified and how to search for them, read the guide to Finding a Named Individual.

To see more on how to join evidence and add facts, read the guide to Adding to a Life Story.

Further FAQs, practical information about your account, how to search the records and how to use features can be found in the site’s Knowledge Base at

You also might want to watch the video at

One Comment

“from across Britain and the Commonwealth” doesn’t appear to include Australia as part of “the Commonwealth” – pity


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