Today we remember those that lost their lives during the First World War.

This morning millions of people across the country will commemorate the end of the First World War, and contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts.

The First World War was a turning point in world history. It claimed the lives of over 16 million people across the globe and had an impact on the lives of everyone, including tenants of the existing 25 Peabody estates. 

Children grew up in the shadow of battle, their fathers absent or lost. Women became directly involved, picking up the pieces of industry and agriculture as the men went off to fight.

We know from the Annual Report of 1916 that over 2,500 Peabody residents were "serving with the colours" as they expressed it, which means that at the height of the war, over 10% of residents were actively involved.

My uncle died aged 17 on the Somme. I always think of his sacrifice at this time, but I also think of the Peabody staff and residents who died in conflict. It is particularly moving to see the war memorials marking both military and civilian deaths in wartime on our estates.

Pimlico war memorial

By November 1916, the Peabody Governors had authorised the donation of £5 towards the cost of any war memorial erected by the tenants. A local newspaper report from Fulham in 1917 mentions a "Roll of Honour" board being unveiled at Fulham estate that year, listing residents who had died. This and similar boards set up at other estates have sadly been lost over the years, but permanent war memorial plaques can still be seen at Abbey Orchard St, Old Pye St, Pimlico, and Rosendale Rd, to remind us of the sacrifices they made.

August 2014 will mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, a landmark anniversary for Britain and the world. We are planning a number of special events to commemorate the centenary, and are keen to hear from residents their stories about ancestors who were involved in the conflict, and also life on Peabody estates during this period.

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