The First World War Lives project tells the previously untold stories of over 1,100 local service personnel, researched by our team of volunteers. Using original documents held here at the East Riding Archives, and sources held online such as the census and military records, our project volunteers have uncovered each individual’s life story from birth to death.
From librarians to farmers, shop assistants to police officers; discover the stories of local individuals researched as part of the First World War Lives project in our online exhibition.
Alongside their portrait photos, the exhibition highlights a selection of 150 local military lives in connection with a variety of topics such as prisoners of war, women, health, and teenage soldiers. Their stories show acts of great bravery, but also highlight the tragic impact of the War on families back home in the East Riding.
One such life story featured in the exhibition is that of Driffield-born James Mortimer (1871-1916) (archives reference WL/13/32), the son of Archaeologist John Mortimer whose collections now form an important part of the Hull and East Riding Museum. James rose through the military ranks and served as second in command to Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Mark Sykes of Sledmere before being promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel himself. In 1916, James was killed by a shell explosion at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. Only three months before his death he was awarded the prestigious Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George by His Majesty King George V.
In addition to viewing the life stories in the exhibition, you can also download a free WW1 Research Guide, access an interactive map of soldiers stationed around the world, and browse the ever-growing First World War Lives collection of over 1,100 biographies on the archives Online Catalogue.
Visit the exhibition:
Thank you to our First World War Lives volunteers
We would like to say a big thank you to our fantastic team of volunteers who have dedicated many hours to researching these stories since the project’s launch in 2014:
Di Alvey, Karen Baker, Dorothy Balmer, Cynthia Banks, Dave Blake, Peter Bonner, Sybil Clay, Steve Davis, Christine Elston, Bill Goble, Johanna Ignacio, Claire Jones, Win Knight, Vida Lenton, the late Chris Lilley, Geoff Martindale, Doreen Osuch, Anne Sherman, Mike Simpkins, Dianne Smith, Sara Stones, David White.