Sources for war memorials

War memorials can be researched from various angles: military, social, and family history, and as artistic objects. Before the 20th century, they were generally to individuals, with the exception of a handful of Crimean war memorials. Communal war memorials were erected after the Boer War, although it was really with the First World War that they became more common. A decision was made early in the war not to repatriate the bodies of the fallen, and the communal memorials provided a focus for grief and remembrance.

Hampshire Archives and Local Studies is happy to support activity around this theme, in terms of facilitation, advice on sources, links with local military museums, military ancestors and local history workshops, etc. However, we don't have expertise on conservation or preservation of war memorials.

If you would like to investigate the history of a war memorial or the names on it, Hampshire Archives and Local Studies may hold useful sources.

Where is it?Tracing the names

Where is it?

National Inventory of War Memorials at the Imperial War Museum provides good coverage for Hampshire, though possibly incomplete.

Is it out of doors?

Is it in the parish church or churchyard

  • Newspapers
  • Parochial Church Council minutes
  • Faculties
  • Parish/deanery magazines
  • Other parish records
  • War memorial committee minutes
  • Search HALS catalogue

Look elsewhere in the church for

  • Paper roll of honour
  • Memorials to individuals
  • Plaques

Is it the only one? Where else should I look?

  • Civil cemetery
  • Local chapel
  • School (or ex-school)
  • Village hall (inside or hall itself)
  • Local employers’ premises and archives
  • Local clubs or organisations’ premises
  • Friendly societies
  • Local museum
  • Civic buildings
  • Public facilities (almshouses, benches, fountains, gates, parks)
  • Trees (plaques at base)
  • County rolls of honour

Tracing the names on war memorials

Tracing their military careers

Tracing their family and local background

  • Newspapers
  • Accounts of funerals
  • Parish/deanery magazines
  • Other war memorials which might give more information
  • Rolls of honour
  • School magazines and other records
  • Parish and chapel registers
  • 1891/1901/1911 census
  • Electoral registers
  • Directories
  • Records of local employers, societies, organisations
  • Gravestones of widows, parents.