Citizen historians recruited for WWI global research project

Military history buffs in Canada invited to help crowd source global history project on 'Geordies' and the First World War

Military history buffs with an interest in the First World War and cultural identity are invited to help crowd source a global history project out of the UK.

The Dominion Geordies in World War One project will research the lives and wartime service of people who were originally from north east England and who served in the land forces of the Dominion armies of Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland and Canada.

By recruiting a crowd of volunteers to tackle this large-scale research project by collecting information, project organizers hope to better understand why ‘Geordies’ emigrated, how their journeys related to their wartime movements and where they ended up settling after the war.

The project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, is reaching out to volunteer researchers in Canada and abroad, says Dr. James McConnel, a history lecturer at Northumbria University.

The research will be looking at individual migration histories as well as the way people and communities saw their identities – as ‘Geordies’ (a regional nickname associated with denizens of the north east of England such as Newcastle and Tyndside) and Britons, but also as Canadians, Australians or New Zealanders.

About 70 per cent of the early Canadian Expeditionary Force raised for the First World War was born in the UK.

For example, George Burdon McKean – originally from Willington, County Durham, England, was a student at the University of Alberta when fighting broke out.

He served with Canadian forces, and was awarded the Victoria Cross, the Military Medal, and the Military Cross, a rare feat that made him one of only a handful of people to win all three and survive the war.

The most famous ‘Geordie’ is Aussie John Simpson Kirkpatrick (depicted in the statue at left), who risked his life ferrying wounded comrades by donkey at Galipoli, and is also remembered at home as a native son of South Shields.

Over a span of 12 months, citizen historians will gather information for a database in hopes of using the collected information to produce a short film, and pen a number of research papers profiling the men of the north east who fought in the armies of the Dominions.

“It will be an interesting and challenging project to work on,” McConnel said.

Anyone from first-timers to experienced researchers are invited to get involved by researching lost stories of men and women.

To volunteer or for more information, visit or contact

The project’s full title is Dominion Geordies in World War One: Recovering lost legacies of emigrant North Easterners serving in Dominion forces 1914-1918.

As the project progresses, the database will be made available to the public.


Follow the Cloverdale Reporter on Twitter and Facebook. View our print edition online.

Just Posted

Fire destroys home in Surrey

Crews called at 3 a.m. Sunday for a residential house fire on the 12000-block of 100 Avenue

Alzheimer’s Society launches helpline

Toll-free phone line available for people with dementia and their caretakers

Art show to be held at White Rock’s Jan’s on the Beach

Art to be displayed until the end of December

New detox centre opens in South Surrey

WhiteRock EHN opened in response to opioid crisis

UPDATE: Hells Angels on scene after body found in Maple Ridge

Body was discovered beneath the Golden Ears Bridge

Mountie left with ‘significant’ injuries after driver attempts to flee traffic stop

Richmond RCMP are looking for a dark coloured Mercedes Benz

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

Vancouver Police look for man in connection to ‘sexually motivated’ assault

Woman says man followed her into an apartment building

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

Most Read