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Did someone in your family survive World War I?

A memorial service will be held next weekend, organised by a group collating the names of all those Irish who survived the war.

A GROUP COLLATING the names of thousands of Irish World War I veterans will hold a memorial service next weekend to remember all those who survived the war.

The Ireland’s World War 1 Veterans project is run by volunteers and aims to gather the names of all those who fought in and survived the Great War.

The database currently contains almost 31,000 names of Irish men and women who fought in World War I from a range of backgrounds.

The group hopes to ultimately erect a memorial in both Dublin and Belfast to list the names of these veterans.

Project founder Sabina Purcell told TheJournal.ie that she has been amazed with how the All-Ireland project has progressed since it was started last week.

“I thought it would be good to reach 500 names, but it has grown so much,” she said.

“A lot of people are eager to get in touch and share their stories. What usually happens is one person emails with details of several of their relatives who fought in the war.”

“We don’t question the reasons why they joined,” Purcell said.

It could be because they needed a source of income, it could have been for the adventure, it could because they simply believed in democracy.

While many found it difficult to find employment when returning from World War I, some found work with companies like Guinness, the postal service, and Dublin Corporation.

“Unfortunately,  some of them were vilified, some of them were even spat out on the street.”

Next Sunday the veterans group will hold a ecumenical service at 2.30pm in St. Laurence’s Church, Stillorgan, Co Dublin.

“We want to be as diplomatic and as inclusive as possible,” Purcell said, “so we’re asking anyone who’s coming along to bring a single stemmed flower of their choice to the service.”

A Google-backed project to collate the names of the 41,000 Irish who died in the conflict was launched earlier this year.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said that the digitisation of the records was “making up for lost time”.

Details of how to contact the Ireland’s World War 1 Veterans project are available here, or you can email contact@worldwar1veterans.com.

Read: A snapshot of the Irish in World War I >

More: Death records of 49,000 Irish in WWI now available online >

Column: Remember those who fought in WWI – they were as diverse, and Irish, as any of us >

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Nicky Ryan

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