Find out more about Lives of the First World War

IWM Film, Lives of the First World War

Find out more about Lives of the First World War

IWM’s Lives of the First World War tells the stories of individuals from across Britain and the Commonwealth who served in uniform and worked on the home front. 

This innovative digital project ran from 12 May 2014 to 19 March 2019. From individuals and families, to communities and organisations, more than 160,000 people collaborated to piece together the lives of people who experienced the conflict, through sharing anecdotes and digitising material that has been hidden away in attics until now.

Frequently Asked Questions
What is the future of Lives of the First World War?

The legacy of Lives of the First World War will be a permanent digital memorial on, which will be free to access and search. This will be available at the end of June 2019.


Will Lives of the First World War URLs still work?

Until we launch the permanent digital memorial at the end of June 2019, all Lives of the First World War URLs will redirect to our holding page. After that, the URLs will redirect to the corresponding page on, so there is no need to alter them if you refer to Lives URLs on another website.

Will I still be able to edit Life Stories and Communities?

You will no longer be able to make changes to Life Stories and Communities, but they will be fully searchable and will be preserved for others to browse when the permanent digital memorial is launched on in June 2019. 

Will I still be able to see my name next to a piece of information that I have contributed?

When the permanent digital memorial is launched at the end of June 2019, we will display the ID of those who contributed to or remembered Life Stories, as well as Community Managers. The ID is made up of the first name of the contributor, followed by their Lives of the First World War profile number.

e.g. Imperial War Museums will become Imperial1

How will you use the information or images that I have added?

When you became a Member of Lives of the First World War, you are asked to agree to a set of terms and conditions which allow us to make contributions available on other websites owned or operated by IWM. This means that IWM has the right to use it on the permanent digital memorial for non-commercial purposes, but the content remains your property. We will credit you as the contributor, as well as display the source attribution. 

If you believe that you own the copyright in any of the content on the website, and you have not been recognised as the copyright owner, please contact us here and we will investigate.

Will I be able to view records, such as census returns and military documents?

Whilst IWM will not host records on the permanent digital memorial, you will be able to see the evidence trail for Facts that were added to Lives of the First World War. If you wish to view the original source record, there will be a link to direct you to the relevant external website - please note that some records will require payment to view.

Will the data still be free to search and browse?

Yes, all the content added to Life Stories, Communities, Blog and Teachers' Hub will remain free to look at, on The only aspect that will be deleted is where a Community does not contain the required minimum 2 members i.e. if there is only one individual, or no individuals, in the Community.

Will there be a Lives of the Second World War?

There are no immediate plans to create Lives of the Second World War. If you are interested in this period of history we encourage you to explore IWM Collections online.