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The Yorkshire Regiment Remembrance Website,

Edward Nicholl

I believe that the Yorkshire Regiment Remembrance website is the only website which commemorates the men from a complete regiment who fought in the First World War.
So, how did it come about?

Some while ago I was asked to help with the design of a website that would be used as part of a Key Stage 3 education programme for schoolchildren. The website was intended to help the children discover something about the technology of warfare, and how  it affected people's lives, in the First World War and after.

There was plenty of material on this website about the weapons and machinery of the First World War, but not very much regarding the human cost of the war. The more I progressed with the design of the website, the more I felt that it was necessary to  show something of the price paid by those who took part in the war. I therefore embarked on a project that tried to show the cost in lives of the men for one particular regiment, and how those men were remembered.

The regiment I studied was the Yorkshire Regiment, - at the time of the First World War the regiment’s full title was "Alexandra, Princess of Wales’s Own Yorkshire Regiment". In 1920 the regiment’s name became "The Green Howards (Alexandra,  Princess of Wales’s Own Yorkshire Regiment)", - known as the Green Howards until the regiment was amalgamated in 2006.

This regiment was chosen as I had previously been involved in studying the regiment’s history after discovering that my great great-grandfather had joined the regiment (then the 19 th  Foot) back in 1846, and had served with them until 1868.

Starting in 2006, I began by photographing local War Memorials and then finding out who was commemorated on each memorial. These memorials were then shown on a website I set up, together with biographical details of men of the Yorkshire Regiment shown  on each memorial.

From such small beginnings, it didn’t take long before people started contributing to the website, - providing photos of other memorials and headstones. It was quite extraordinary how people who were quite unknown to me were so generous in providing  this material. What I find even more remarkable is that in only a very few cases have I ever met any of these contributors!

So, eight years after I started out, the website has grown and grown. The official history of the Yorkshire Regiment stated that of the 65,000 men who served 7.500 lost their lives. However, the research carried out over these past few years has shown  that the number of lives lost is far greater than this, - with the total now standing at over 9,200. There are many reasons for this discrepancy in numbers, which I won’t go into here. But suffice to say that only last year a man was discovered  on a local memorial who wasn’t listed in the Commonwealth War Graves Register, but who had died of his wounds in a Newcastle Hospital before the war ended.  That man has now "come in from the cold".

Of the 9,200-plus names gathered for the website, the website carries information and photos on the memorials and headstones for something like 7,750 of these men. So if you are looking for a photo of the commemoration of a soldier of the Yorkshire Regiment  you have a better than 80% chance of finding something about him on this website!

There are over 2,000 photos of headstones from the French and Belgian battlefields on the website, together with a large number of photos of headstones from cemeteries elsewhere in the world.

Of the over 650 identified graves of soldiers of the Yorkshire Regiment buried in the U.K., the website carries photos of over 500 of these graves, together with details of the cemeteries themselves.

Of course we are still looking for photos of those memorials and graves that commemorate men of the Yorkshire Regiment, but which aren’t yet on the website.

And if you think that just because a place isn’t in Yorkshire then you won’t find a Yorkshire Regiment soldier commemorated there, then you could be wrong! Although a great number of men from the North Riding of Yorkshire served in the two  Territorial Battalions of the regiment, a total of 24 battalions altogether were raised by the regiment. Men from literally every corner of the United Kingdom served in the regiment’s battalions.
The growth of the website would not have been possible without the extremely generous support and encouragement of many other people. Some of my principal contributors and helpers have included Richard Roberts, Chris Weekes, Chris Cosgrove, Norman Cummings,  and Mike Berrell. Please accept my apologies if your name hasn’t been included, but know that I have valued your input and help enormously.
It is a matter of great satisfaction to have started this website and to have seen it grown as much as it has. The job isn’t complete yet, so any further contributions will ALWAYS be welcome.

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