|The In From the Cold Project was born out of discussions between its two founders, Terry Denham and John Hartley, in 2006.|
|Prior to this, both had pursued their own studies into various aspects of the First World War with the former concentrating on the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and all matters connected with Commonwealth war graves. Both had individually submitted cases of non-commemoration to CWGC with some degree of success.|
|With the advent of existing records becoming generally available on the internet, interest in missing names from the official rolls of casualties increased and more researchers started to put names forward. The subject became a lively topic of discussion on the major First World War internet resource, the Great War Forum, with many members actively seeking missing names and attempting to get them their proper recognition.|
|The initial discussions between Terry and John centred on the problem of how to undertake a systematic search of the various casualty records which still existed. The conclusion was quickly reached that only a line by line search of these records and comparison with CWGC’s database could achieve a result anywhere near comprehensive enough. This would need manpower as the task was so enormous that several lifetimes would be required for one person to undertake the task.|
|Further discussions (and badgering from John) led to Terry undertaking trials involving the searching of sample pages from the microfilm copies of the General Register Office (GRO) overseas military death indices to assess the feasibility of such a task. Further discussion on the Great War Forum eventually lead to a small group banding together via the internet to see if headway could be made.|
|A few boundaries were set at the beginning. The Project would concentrate first on in-service deaths from the First World War. It was decided to search methodically the full GRO overseas military indices and the ‘Home’ death entries from ‘Soldiers Died in the Great War’. The complete lists published in ‘Airmen Died in the Great War’ were also added to the list of sources to be searched. Later further sources still were added to the search programme.|
|The original small band of volunteers set about their task with enthusiasm and soon the list of possible missing names was being compiled. After rigorous cross-checking, the list of apparently forgotten casualties began to grow. As these were all in-service death cases, the only evidence required by CWGC and the Ministry of Defence was a copy of the service record or a death certificate. As the vast majority of First World War service records were destroyed during the Second World War, this meant that a certificate would be needed for most cases. The certificates were also required to eliminate certain cases as they provided information not always available from other sources. There lay the problem!|
|Initially, the Project was entirely self-funding and relied upon a small number of donations from like-minded people. Our major cost was the purchase of death certificates required as evidence in non-commemoration cases (currently costing £9.25 each for an England and Wales version).
We resolved this early funding problem by obtaining a launch grant from the Ministry of Defence which was restricted to the paying for death certificates etc. This enabled IFCP to really get underway and the workload mushroomed thereafter. We stretched the grant as far as we could and this allowed us to work for many years without the need for public donations though these did still come in occasionally. However, once the grant was exhausted, we returned to relying on donations to continue the work. That remains the situation today.
|So the work continues. IFCP will never be able to find every missing name as some of the original sources are incomplete themselves and post-discharge cases will continue to be uncovered for the foreseeable future. However, every possible effort is being made to ensure that these forgotten men and women are properly commemorated.|
In From The Cold Project
Ensuring that the sacrifice of British and Commonwealth servicemen in two world wars is not forgotten.