Here are some guides to help with your research and on how to use the website.
How to create a biography
Log in using your username and password. Once you have logged in you will be able to start building a biography.
1. Choose a memorial
To create a biography you will have to first choose a memorial. This might be the war memorial closest to your school or a memorial that your teacher has already chosen for you and your class to work on.
Pick the relevant county and memorial from the dropdown lists, or choose the memorial from the map at the bottom of the page. It is possible that not all memorials will have been pinned on the map so remember to check the lists also.
Once you select the memorial, this will take you to more information about it. Here you will be able to add any photographs you have taken of the memorial and add comments about its condition.
If your memorial is not listed, your teacher will be able to add it. Your teacher will also be able to add information to the existing memorial record if it is not complete.
Note: The counties in the dropdown list are named according to their historic names. The reason for this is because this is how the counties will appear in the records that you will be using to research the biographies.
2. Choose a name
The next step is to choose a name that is listed on your memorial. Remember to choose a name that has not been chosen already. Once you have done this, click on the ‘Add individual’ button to start working on your biography. This will open a blank form.
3. Building the biography
Use the empty fields in the form to input all the information you have found from your research.
Don’t worry if you can’t complete all of the fields. Any information that you can provide is useful. The only fields that have to be completed are:
First name (initial or full name)
Memorial(s) - The memorial(s) that the person is/are remembered on. This can include more than one memorial.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission reference – This will act as a unique identifier for your person to make sure that the biography is not duplicated elsewhere.
If these fields are not completed, you will not be able to save and submit the biography.
Note: The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is an organisation that looks after graves and memorials across the world that commemorate (or remember) Commonwealth servicemen and women. The database contains the names of the war dead of the First World War and the details of where they were buried and/or commemorated.
The fields are a combination of dropdowns (with a selection of options to choose from), date pickers and free text (where you can input your own text). They have been separated into three main sections:
Basic information – This section includes basic information about the person: his or her name, date and place of birth, and details of his or her death and place or burial. If you have successfully found your person on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database, cut and paste the web address (or URL) of the page into the ‘CWGC reference’ field.
Personal life – Here you can add more information about the person’s life before the war, including where they used to live, their family members, where they went to school and worked, and other personal information such as the languages they could speak and their religion. The ‘Additional information’ field can be used to add any other information about the person that you can’t add elsewhere. This could include stories about their life or more detailed descriptions about what they did during the war.
Military service – Details of the person’s role during the war can be added in this section, including information about where they enlisted, their rank, any awards or medals they may have received, and any battles they were involved in.
There is also a section for you to record the sources you used to gather the information.
You can also upload images to the biography by clicking on ‘Manage pictures’. The images that you upload could include pictures of the person if you find any, or photographs of the person’s name on the memorial. The ‘Description’ field should be used to include a caption, details of where the image was taken from, and any necessary copyright information.
You can upload more than one image to the biography. Click on the ‘Make main’ option to set the image as the main biography thumbnail.
4. Saving the biography
Click on the ‘Save’ button to save any changes you make to the biography. You can return to the biography at any stage during your research to change or add information by clicking on ‘Edit biography’ in your account.
5. Submitting the biography
Once you have happy with the biography and have completed it to the best of your ability, press the ‘Submit’ button. Your teacher will then be able to review the biography and approve it. You will not be able to make any changes to the biography once it has been submitted for approval unless your teacher returns it to you for changes.
After it has been approved, your biography will then become visible for others to see and use in the ‘Biographies’ section.
Glossary of Terms
The group name for all bullets or shells fired by guns and artillery.
An agreement by both sides to stop fighting. An armistice might last a couple of days or much longer.
Larger guns that fire bigger ammunition and are often moved around on wheels rather than by hand.
Deliberately killing someone important.
Creating a barrier to stop something from getting through. The Royal Navy set up a blockade of Germany during the First World War to prevent war supplies and food from reaching the German people.
Firing lots of artillery pieces together at the same time to cause maximum damage. In the First World War bombardments were often carried out before big attacks by soldiers.
When used on this site, the term "casualty" means anyone killed, wounded or captured during a battle.
People who refuse to fight in wars because they believe war is wrong.
Forced service in the military.
Where neither side is winning or losing. Also called standstill. This was the situation on the Western Front for most of the war.
Actions taken to defend yourself.
Actions taken to attack the enemy or make progress.
New soldiers brought to a battle to help the soldiers already fighting or to replace tired soldiers.
Also called a withdrawal. Moving away from a battle to a safer place where you can defend yourself. Sometimes you have no choice but to retreat if things are going badly, other times you might choose to retreat because you want a stronger position.
The overall plan for the war, a particular theatre of the war or a battle.
The actions taken to achieve the strategy.
Theatre of War
An area of the world where the war is taking place. The First World War is split up into several theatres of war such as the Western Front, the Middle East and the Sea War. What happens in one theatre often effects other theatres.
Dug by soldiers to provide them with shelter and a defensive position. Not a new idea in the First World War but came to symbolise the style of fighting on the Western Front.
A submarine. Taken from the German word for submarine Unterseeboot (undersea boat).
A demand for something to be done by a specific time. Usually with the threat os serious consequences if the thing is not done.
A type of German airship. A big balloon powered by an engine and armed with bombs.