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We will remember them.
Honouring over 1m men and women with the Royal British Legion

Ryan Dall

In 2012 a young visitor to the Tyne Cot War Cemetery in Belgium wrote to the Royal British Legion saying how sad it was that while some soldiers’ graves had flowers on them, others didn’t have any – they just didn’t have family or friends to remember them anymore.

From this girl scout’s heartfelt letter, the idea behind Every One Remembered was born – an ambition to get the British public to individually remember every one of the 1.1 million Commonwealth soldiers who fell in the Great War.  And, as a client for 5 years, the Legion entrusted BPL with delivering this ambition online.

Fundamental to everything we proposed was a deep recognition of the huge opportunity we had been given by them. Here was a chance to do something amazing, be part of history and create a truly emotive experience that did justice to the scale and importance of the subject.

Our starting point was data kindly provided by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which contained the basic identity details of every soldier who had died in the war. With this data as the building blocks, we created an immersive online experience that users could engage with and which reflected the deep significance of what the Legion were trying to achieve.

The Every One Remembered website allows users to search for a soldier– whether a family member or simply someone with whom they shared a common bond, such as their name – and then send them an individual commemoration.

Their message of thanks is then published on their chosen soldier’s webpage and also attached to a poppy, which they can place anywhere around the world. Perhaps where their great grandfather fell, or where he proposed to his wife.

But this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do something more than say thank you, it was a chance for the public to share their family’s WW1 stories and photos. These were ordinary men and women who made an extraordinary sacrifice, and it was important their stories were told.  So, users are encouraged to upload and share all this content too, creating a vital social call-to-action.

The site’s primary objective was to reach its remembrance target over the 4-year duration of the WW1 centenary, which culminated on Armistice Day earlier this month.

The site has been shared on Facebook 105,000 times and we’re incredibly proud to say that with around 4 weeks to go before Armistice Day 2018, we gathered around a screen to see someone, somewhere remembering the very last of the 1,060,174 fallen soldiers.

As it stands today, around 1.3m messages of thanks have been left on the site, along with 90,000 stories written and 60,000 photos uploaded and shared around the world.  Stories that would otherwise never have been told, and photos that would otherwise still be in old shoeboxes and attics across the UK and far beyond.

We’d like thank everyone involved in the project, and to the Royal British Legion for their invaluable work supporting service men and women and their families.

We will remember them.

 

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