Remembering Forgotten Soldiers of the Somme
November 11, 2016 10:13 AM   Subscribe

Remembering Forgotten Soldiers of the Somme
If you purchase anything from the Royal British Legion online, they send you a card with the name of a random ordinary soldier who died in the Battle of the Somme with it. When people tell me those names, I find out stuff about them.

The cards are apparently part of the Legion's Every Man Remembered campaign, and I only discovered they were doing it when I ordered a poppy badge from them myself.

I thought it was a really nice touch, but it also made me a bit sad. Because I realised that unless you're a WW1 historian, the information you get still perhaps isn't really enough to build up a mental picture of that person. So on a whim I told my friends and family on Facebook that if they had received a card, then they could tell me the name and I'd look into the person behind it.

And to my surprise, they did! I have three profiles up so far, and there are three more at least to follow (as I've got three more card images that I've been sent).

- Private David Thomson: Displaced Scot. Temporary Londoner. Died at High Wood
- Private Gerald Raymond: A Fulham kid who died just after his 19th birthday alongside the Aussies at 'Devil's Wood'
- Private Fred Sowden: The Devonian labourer who (indirectly) received a Victoria Cross

I've decided that I'll keep doing this as long as people keep sending me cards, or even just names they've seen on a war memorial etc. So there may be more than six articles before this little project ends. Well see.

Similarly if any UK Mefites have received cards and have names they'd like looked into, just post them here and I'll do them too.

It's not full research - I'm just using the things I have access to at hand (census records, military records and the various general history of the battles I've got at home or digital access to). But I figured if it helped a few forgotten people seem real again to some strangers then that was all that mattered really.
Role: Writer
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