NAMES, information and stories of servicemen and women who perished in the First World War or later died of war wounds are needed to help create a definitive Book of Remembrance for Harrow.
The project, marking the centenary of the start of the conflict, is being spearheaded by Harrow Council and Harrow Heritage Trust, along with support from the Harrow Observer, and seeks to create a lasting legacy for the borough.
Councillor Keith Ferry (Labour), a member of the Remembrance Book Working Group, said: “There’s a Book of Remembrance for World War One at West House, for Pinner, and Winsor and Newton had a Book of Remembrance for its employees, and that’s the sort of thing we want to do but for the whole borough.
“In 1914, there were between 35,000 and 40,000 people living in Harrow.
“There was no borough – it was Harrow on the Hill Urban District Council, Wealdstone Urban District Council and part of Hendon Rural District Council.
“We have about 2,000 names of people who died from Harrow – that’s a hell of a lot of people, and almost everyone living back here would have been affected.
“We’re looking at a Heritage Lottery Fund bid and we’re trying to think of some sort of educational project for young people to undertake to show the suffering.”
The idea of a single Book of Remembrance for Harrow was launched under former Labour council leader Bill Stephenson’s tenure in 2012.
The Imperial War Museum owns a collection of names compiled more than 15 years ago by a now-deceased local researcher who painstakingly visited each of the 120 or so war memorials in the borough.
One of the problems is records only note a serviceman’s place of birth, place of enlistment and place of death but not their usual place of residence, and so Mr Ferry and his colleagues want the public’s help to check and confirm the accuracy of the names, and suggest others, to ensure there are no mistakes in the Book of Remembrance, which could be placed on display at Harrow Civic Centre or Harrow Museum and Heritage Centre.
“The more research we can do before we produce it, the better,” said Mr Ferry.
“We have the names of lots of soldiers and lots of sailors but not very many airmen.
“We thought – while we produce a Book of Remembrance it would be nice to hear the human interest stories behind the names and so we want to appeal to readers to say we want to know about your relatives and ancestors.”
Harrow College students studying IT and media will be producing an interactive website through which people will be able to submit information and on which a digital version of the Book of Remembrance will be published, and will create an advertisement to promote the project.
n Send names, information and stories to email@example.com