The starting point for research was to identify all the names on the Dartmouth Town War Memorial. Extensive research had previously been carried out by Duncan Brownlie proposing identities for many, but not all, of the names on the War Memorial. His findings are available on the website of the Devon Heritage Centre (see our External Links page).
The Dartmouth History Research Group independently researched and checked Duncan Brownlie's findings. As part of our contribution to this research, we researched the history of the setting up of the War Memorial (a "general article" will be published on this on the website in due course). Particularly helpful were two provisional lists of those to be commemorated on the War Memorial published in the Dartmouth Chronicle in 1919 and 1921. These lists provided confirmation of the identity of many names, as well as enabling several corrections to be made to the identifications proposed by Duncan Brownlie.
In addition to the Town War Memorial, there are public memorials in St Saviour's Church and St Petrox Church in Dartmouth. Whilst the majority of names on these memorials are also on the Town War Memorial, there are several which are not. There are also nineteen First World War graves recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission at St Clement's Churchyard, Townstal, and at Longcross Cemetery, Townstal. However, only seven of these individuals appear on the War Memorial. There are also several private memorials in St Saviour's Church and in the cemetery of St Petrox - while some of these individuals appear on the War Memorial, several do not. Our current research continues to identify war deaths reported in the Dartmouth Chronicle of individuals not listed on the War Memorial, and these names will be added to the database as they are identified.
We hope that over the next five years we will be able to provide a comprehensive list of those commemorated in the town of Dartmouth, who died as a result of their service during or shortly after the Great War. By no means all those commemorated were born in, or even resident in, Dartmouth; however, all have some connection to the town which explains their commemoration there. Local sources of information, especially the Dartmouth Chronicle, have been essential in identifying and confirming the nature of individuals' connection with the town.
Names have been identified using a range of sources: local papers, particularly the Dartmouth Chronicle; a range of family history websites for Census material and access to birth, marriage and death indices; the Commonwealth War Graves Commission databases of War Dead and War Cemeteries; material held on the National Archives (especially naval records and unit war diaries); general web searches; and other local information. The article about each individual identifies key source material as appropriate. Please see our External Links page for those organisations and websites we have found especially useful.
Each individual's story will be researched and published on the website on the centenary of his death. The use of a website enables the material to be kept up to date and to draw on any new sources which become available during the next few years.