Volunteer World War I buffs needed

A global project has been launched which will research the lives and wartime service of “Geordies” —from the North-East of England—in the armies of Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland, and Canada during the First World War.

Dominion Geordies in World War One—funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council—will seek to “crowdsource” research by recruiting volunteer researchers in Canada and overseas.

Dr James McConnel, History Lecturer at Northumbria University, explained: “The first stage of the project will involve collecting information that will help us build a comprehensive and fascinating insight into the stories of so many of the local men and women of the North East who, having left their native land in the three decades or so before the war, found themselves volunteering to return and fight for the homeland in the campaigns of the war across the world.

Take, for example, George Burdon McKean. Originally from Willington, County Durham, he was a student at the University of Alberta when the war broke out and served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He was awarded the Victoria Cross, the Military Medal and, after he was commissioned as an officer, the Military Cross—making him one of only a handful of people who have won all three and survived the war.

The information for the database will be gathered by “citizen historians” and the 12-month project is open to anyone—all you need is an interest in the First World War.

To volunteer or for more information, visit dominiongeordiesinww1.co.uk or contact james.mcconnel@northumbria.ac.uk.