For the last two years third year students from the Department of History have been working on a project to learn more about former Goldsmiths students and staff who died during the First World War.
The aim of the project was to identify all of those men listed on the Goldsmiths war memorial just inside the entrance to the Richard Hoggart Building. The memorial itself is quite simple, listing the names of those killed and usually the battalion they served with, along with the dates of their time at Goldsmiths.
The project’s hope was to find out more about who these men were, where they served and how they died. The results can be found here: Goldsmiths WW1 memorial (PDF)
To do this, history students taking Professor Richard Grayson’s special subject module “Life in the Trenches” volunteered to research the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and other military databases to identify these men. Sometimes this was a simple process, when names and battalion details could be easily matched.
At other times it proved more challenging, requiring the students to turn detective and piece together all the known information to come up with the most likely match. Occasionally it proved impossible, either because the name was so common, or because they had very little additional detail to go on. In addition to this the students have also looked back through the college’s own records, and those of the University of London, for further personal details to illuminate these men’s experience.
What they have produced is a listing detailing everything we now know about these men. Wherever possible it includes details of where and when these men died, how old they were when they died, and the cause of their death.
Links are provided to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry for each man and, where it exists, their entry on the Lewisham War Memorial online wiki set up by the Lewisham Local History and Archives Centre. Sometimes, the University of London’s Roll of War Service offered additional information about the events leading up to a soldier’s death and these are included in the listing. There is also more detailed information about Goldsmiths’ first Warden, Captain William Loring, who died of wounds whilst serving in the Dardanelles.
We hope that current Goldsmiths students and staff will be interested to learn more about the men commemorated on our war memorial – a reminder of how the First World War touched our community 100 years ago.