Ealing's Men of War

Creating a database of residents from the London Borough of Ealing who served in the Great War

One hundred years ago there was a major conflict taking place not only in Europe, but in Africa and Asia and on the High Seas. This was the First World War, often called the Great War or, misleadingly, the European War. Britain and France and their empires, and Russia, were at war with Germany, Austria-Hungary (known as the Central Powers) and the Ottoman Empire in 1914, with other countries joining each side as the war progressed. The war ended with the defeat of the Central Powers in 1918 and the Treaty of Versailles in the following year set the scene for international diplomacy in the next two decades. 

About the Database

Britain in 1914 had only a small volunteer army and this had to rapidly expand in the next four years in order to maintain the struggle against her enemies. The men of this borough who signed-up to serve in the war effort form the basis of the database that readers can download; via the link further down the page.


WW1 advert for soldiers

                          Above: Advert from the Gazette, Friday 07th August 1914
 

The database lists basic details of men in the districts that since 1965 have made up the London borough of Ealing (Acton, Ealing, Greenford, Hanwell, Northolt, Perivale and Southall) who served in the First World War. Unlike many other lists, including those on Ealing War Memorial and those featuring in the books by Tanya Britton (Southall War Dead 1914-1918, Greenford and Perivale War Dead 1914-1918 and Acton County School War Dead 1914-1918 and beyond), this includes the men (who were the majority) who returned from the conflict.

For each man it has been attempted to capture the following information:

  • name,
  • address,
  • rank and unit (or ship in the case of Royal Navy personnel).

This has not always been possible; lists of men enlisting often include only name and address. Nor does it list every rank or unit/ship that a man served in. It is noted whether a man’s name is among those in the Ealing War Memorial or the Acton and Ealing Rolls of Honour and for the fatalities, their age on death. The source of the information is also given, often the date and page number of the newspaper or other source which has been used. There is also a reference as to why the information has been captured in each source; usually recruitment, death or having been awarded a medal for gallantry.

The aim of this data base is to enable users to track down men who served in the First World War and then to find additional information about some of them from the local press. It also enables searching for men by unit or by address or by medals awarded. These newspapers, rolls of honour and other sources referred to can be found at Ealing Local History Centre, Ealing Library.

Sources of Information

The material used to compile this database is chiefly the local press;

  • The Middlesex County Times,
  • The Acton Gazette,
  • The Hanwell Gazette,
  • The Southall-Norwood Gazette
  • The Southall Roll of Honour of 1915.

The newspapers often listed men who, in 1914-1915, had enlisted for service in Ealing. These lists sometimes include men from elsewhere in the country, mostly from London or Middlesex, but these have not been included (some Ealing men may well have enlisted elsewhere, too). Name, address and unit enlisted into are usually recorded here. For some men this is all there is.


                      Above: Picture of the 14th Platoon, D Company, 
                                   8th Battalion of Middlesex Regiment
                                   (c. January 1917)
 

For those who were killed, or sometimes wounded or made prisoners of war or who were awarded medals for gallantry, there is far more; a small biography of the man’s civil life, his education, his job his family and his work may be given, as well as a his military career and the events leading up to the event which made him newsworthy. Often this information was supplied from his family. Often a portrait photograph, usually of him in military attire, is included.

Letters from the Front occasionally appear, too. Where these men were not normally resident locally they have not been included; for instance men who went to school in Ealing but now lived elsewhere or where men were born locally but had emigrated. These have been excluded. Each man has only been allotted a line; where he features in more than one newspaper, the one selected is that which provides most information; i.e. an obituary or medal award trumps an enlistment record.

The Rolls of Honour, already alluded to, have been used, as have the War Memorials of Ealing and Greenford (the only ones to list names; and that is all they list). Rolls of Honour give name, address, unit, gallantry medals and sometimes rank. Church and school war memorials have also been utilised; they often only provide names and usually only of the deceased. Tanya Britton’s books have supplied additional information. The Southall Roll of Honour, unlike those for Acton and Ealing, was compiled by a leading Southall tailoring business and aimed to record, in the autumn of 1915, all Southall men who had enlisted, with rank, unit and whether killed, wounded, taken prisoner or awarded any medal. It is to be regretted that there was not a subsequent edition.

Additional information about these men in the database can be found in a variety of sources; Soldiers’ Papers (many of which do not survive), papers of men awarded pensions for war wounds and lists of those awarded medals (a fairly comprehensive list of those who served) can all be found on the Ancestry web site (available for free at Ealing libraries). The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website is useful for men killed in the conflict. Officers’ details can be found in the Army Lists for 1914-1918 and in the files compiled about them and these can be found at the National Archives. Records of those serving in the Royal Navy and the Royal Flying Corps can also be found on Ancestry and at the National Archives.

Downloading the database

The database is stored as a read-only Microsoft Excel file (.xls extension) so will work on any computer running a version of Microsoft Excel from 97 or later. To download the database, please click on the link below.

Ealing's WW1 Combatants Database

Understanding the data?

Please look at the brief notes below to help you interpret the data.

A Surname with an asterix against it means that there is a photograph of the man in the article cited.

The sixth column from the left provides the source of information and the abbreviations are as follows:

  • MCT: Middlesex County Times, with date and page number
  • HG: Hanwell Gazette, with date and page number
  • AG: Acton Gazette, with date and page number
  • SNG: Southall Norwood Gazette, with date and page number
  • SRA: Southall Roll on Honour (1915), with page number
  • OMM: Otto Monsted Margarine Factory Roll of Honour of employees killed in the War
  • Britton: Tanya Britton’s relevant book

Where names of churches, schools or organisations have been given, this is the source of that information; usually a name of a plaque there. 

The columns to the right of the source contain the following information:

  • Age on death if killed in the war
  • Whether the deceased’s name is on the Ealing war memorial
  • Whether the deceased is listed in Ealing or Acton’s Roll of Honour books. 

Clarifications & Corrections

This database makes no pretence to be complete. In part this is the fault of the source material. Whereas the local press were extremely assiduous in reporting the deaths of local men, of reporting awards of medals for gallantry (most of which include photographs) and, in 1914-1915 listing volunteers, they do not generally list those who were conscripted from 1916-1918. While the press do list men who were sought for conscription purposes, these names have not been entered for it is unclear whether they did in fact serve. Most of those who were killed should be found here, but by no means all men who served (especially those who enlisted in 1916-1918) because that information is not always available.

War Memorials and rolls of honour list only those who died and the Southall Roll only includes men who enlisted in 1914-1915. Thus men who came through the conflict and did not receive gallantry medals are unrecorded. The database will be added to in order to incorporate additional material, such as information from war memorial plaques in churches and elsewhere.

Anyone wanting to add names/s and/or amend information already there is requested to supply it for inclusion, preferably with a note of the source.  

Acknowledgements

The work on the database was undertaken in 2014 by Ealing Libraries Local History Manager and author Dr Jonathan Oates, Peggy Lawson, Norman Evans and Shelia Folliard.

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