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Great War Remembrance Project :: “We shall remember them”

Design for a roll of honour for the first World War (1917), by James Hamilton MacKenzie.
MacKenzie, James Hamilton. Design for a roll of honour for the First World War (1917). Image credit.

Over the course of the next four-and-a-half years, I hope to undertake a Great War remembrance project. The intent of this project is to provide complete biographical sketches for each of our extended family’s casualties of the Great War. This is no small undertaking, as the number in the list shown on the page, We will remember them, stands currently at thirty-five.§ As I continue to fill in more details in my family history research, this number is very likely to increase.

Thus far, biographical sketches have been completed for Nicholas James Mervyn Archdall (1879–1915), of the parish of Ardess in county Fermanagh, and William Alfred Begley (1896–1918), of the village of Floore in Northamptonshire. Hailing from a prominent family in Ireland, Mr Archdall’s origins are well documented. Mr Begley’s beginnings, on the other hand, were considerably more humble: his father and his grandfather were chimney sweeps, and his mother’s family were agricultural labourers.

For casualties whose families were lesser known, my aim is to provide information about the man’s nearest relatives, a description of the village or town in which he grew up, an outline of his life from census data and other records including newsworthy events, information about his service during the Great War from the military records, details of his death and burial from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and other records, concluding with an epilogue that describes any memorials that commemorate his name and profiles of then surviving family members. (penned 7th September 2014.)

§ Links are pending reconstruction of the mentioned pages. (2020-11-27)

Note:—One of the key sources for finding your fallen ancestors is the Commonwealth War Grave Commission, which provides nearly global coverage for fallen soldiers of the British Commonwealth. Many countries maintain national databases, for example, The Canadian Virtual War Memorial. The German war memorial agency is Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge, and similar online memorial databases may be found for other European countries.

Source citation for this page: — Kilpatrick, Alison. “Great War Remembrance Project.” Blog article published to Arborealis, 7th September 2014; online at, accessed [insert date of access].

Image credit: — MacKenzie, James Hamilton. Design for a roll of honour for the First World War; frieze rieze with St George killing dragon, flanked by saints holding crosses within decorative borders, with Order of the Garter, shields for the Allied countries and military devices below. c.1917. Digital image online at The British Museum; governed by Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Follow the Creative Commons link to find out what you can do with this image, and the obligations/restrictions imposed on re-use. Please note that the original image has been edited by Alison Kilpatrick.