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07 Nov 11. 11.11.11. IWM Makes Previously Unseen Faces of the First World War Available Online. On Armistice Day 11.11.11, IWM (Imperial War Museums) will make 100 portraits of people who served in the First World War publicly available through Faces of the First World War on Flickr Commons. The photographs, many of which have not been widely seen before, offer a personal and poignant record of the impact of the First World War. They are taken from a collection of thousands of portraits acquired by IWM when it was founded in 1917 to record everybody’s experiences of the Great War. IWM will continue to upload an additional portrait from this collection to Flickr Commons every weekday until August 2014, the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, and would like the public to help find out more about the life stories of the people in the photographs by adding comments, information, links or text to the photos. Is the portrait one of your ancestors, a name on a local war memorial or from a regiment in your area? IWM acquired the portraits between 1917 and 1920, following an international public appeal which was advertised in the press as well as wartime ration books. In some cases, bereaved families donated their only photograph. Some photographs have only a name, rank and unit. Others were accompanied by detailed letters and biographies. Britain and the Commonwealth are represented, as are the range of military ranks and services. Faces of the First World War is part of IWM’s preparations to mark the First World War Centenary in 2014 – 2018 by leading a vibrant, four year programme of cultural activities across the country, including the opening of brand new First World War galleries at IWM London in 2014. Diane Lees, Director General, IWM said: “The First World War Centenary is a landmark anniversary for Britain and the world. The war was a turning point in world history. It claimed the lives of over 16 million people across the globe and affected the lives of millions more. Everybody in the world has a connection to the First World War, either through their own family history, links to their local community or because of its long term impact on the world we live in today. Through projects like Faces of the First World War and the wider Centenary programme, IWM will help reconnect people with the First World War and keep the history and personal recollections of the war alive.”
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