Three years of exhaustive work by 70 volunteers will pay off tomorrow (Saturday) as a mass of information on 1,700 Tyneside casualties of the First World War is made publically available.
Tynemouth World War 1 Commemoration Project was launched in June, 2011, with the idea of working on a Roll of Honour compiled for the old borough of Tynemouth.
The roll of local men who had died as a result of the war was drawn up by the Shields Weekly News in 1919 and was revised in 1923 when another 400 names were added to give a total of 1,700.
But there was little or no information beyond the names of the fallen.
The project, basedin the Linskill Centre in North Shields, set out to gather as mucn information about each of the individuals on the roll as possible.
Two vounteers researched each name to elminate mistakes and misconceptions, and families added to the flow of facts by bringing in keepsakes such as letters and photographs.
Tomorrow, the resulting online database will go live at a project open day at the Customer First Centre- formerly North Shields Library - on Northumberland Square.
The event, from 10am-4pm, will feature talks, displays, demonstrations, Tyne Wear Archives and Museums, Time Bandits,, the North East Memorials Porject and youth and community groups.
The Tynemouth project has grown into the largest community-led commemoartive programme in the country.
Project co-ordinator Alan Fidler said that a reasonable amount of information was now available online for 75% of the men on the database.
“There is an amazing amount of information which has taken 100,000 work hours to gather.,” he said. “It has taken a phenomenal amount of work.”
The database is on www.tynemouthworldwarone.org
The project has presented its work to an audience of academic researchers at a seminar at Northumbria University.
Also on show at the open day will be the project’s interactive map, which shows the rate of loss suffered by the community.
The project took a map of parts of Tynemouth and North Shields from 1915-16 and placed a yellow dot on every house which suffered a loss in the war.
As the map is updated in three-month time segments, the dots grow and cluster.
Mr Fidler said: “ It is a graphic representation of the impact of the war on a community.”