A new website has been launched commemorating the brave men from Lisburn and surrounding areas who gave their lives in the service of King and country during the First World War.
To mark the ongoing centenary of the Great War (1914-18), the Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum, in conjunction with local military history enthusiast Pat Geary, have launched www.Lisburn-and-the-great-war.com
The free, dedicated website details the men from Lisburn and the wider district - from Aghalee to Dunmurry, Hillsborough to Glenavy, Moira, Dromara and Drumbo - who fought and died in the First World War.
Over 30 years in the making, the database has grown out of a school project started by Mr Geary in the mid 1980s in his capacity as a history teacher at Friends’ School Lisburn.
Thanks to his painstaking research, the website lists more than 900 individuals from Lisburn and district, detailing where they enlisted and fought, how they died and where they are commemorated, and there are further plans to add additional information on survivors as well as pictures and archival material from the museum’s collection.
Mr Geary, whose grandmother was a nurse during the First World War, has been interested in military history since listening to her tell stories about the conflict when he was a child.
The wealth of information he’s compiled over the years, which was formerly on the Friends’ School website, is now easily accessible on the new Lisburn and The Great War site.
“At the moment it just has the names of the men and basic information about them - the regiments they were in, their service numbers and that kind of thing - but the intention is to go on adding to it and developing it,” Mr Geary explained. “I have much more substantial biographies for many of the men now than I did when this went up on the Friends’ site originally. So once I check them I am going to start adding them to the site.
“I now have a second database for survivors - it’s about the same size, about 950 - so I’ll do the same with it.”
Welcoming the launch of the new website, Cllr Tim Morrow, Chairman of the council’s Leisure and Community Development Committee, said: “The website is a fantastic tool for local people tracing their ancestors. With future plans to include a list of survivors, biographies, as well as pictures from the museum’s collections, it is a welcome addition to WW1 research, particularly in these centenary years.”
Anyone with a research query, or who has information they think should be added to the site, should get in touch via the contact page at www.Lisburn-and-the-great-war.com