It began as a small hobby project by a husband and wife team interested in the stories behind the names on their village war memorial.

But now, just a decade later and with the help of a dedicated band of researchers, Sychdyn couple Viv and Eifion Williams have seen their project grow and grow until their website today contains hundreds of stories behind the names on Flintshire’s First World War memorials.

This year sees the 100th anniversary of the end of what became known as the Great War and for 70-year-old Viv the landmark marks a fitting point to wind down her and her husband’s work on the website which has recently undergone a facelift.

“We’re thrilled to bits with the new site,” says Viv.

“We always knew the old one was a bit amateurish and now our neighbour Darren Williams has used his professional design skills to redesign the whole site to give it a smart new look.”

Practical and financial help and support for the website came from Flintshire Local Voluntary Council and then the Wales Heritage Lottery programme until it became a ‘virtual’ memorial to those who died between 1914-18.

“These are the stories of the young men who had attended our schools, played in the lanes and streets of our towns and villages and worked in the fields, mines and industries of Flintshire before they went off to their deaths fighting for King and Country,” explains Viv.

“The names on the memorial stones remind us that they existed, but on the pages of this website we attempt to tell their stories and of the families they left behind.”

Viv and the group will make one of their regular trips across the Channel this year to visit the many graves and sites connected with the conflict and have also been working with Theatr Clwyd on a forthcoming project.

“It’ll be our last visit to France and Flanders,” says Viv. “We’re taking a large group of about 40 people over.

“Theatr Clwyd will be running a project throughout autumn with a number of primary schools where they will base their work on stories from our website with an exhibition and performances.”

Each day Viv and Eifion pay further tribute to Flintshire’s fallen by revealing details of a soldier who died on that day on their Twitter feed.

This week saw them remember RWF John Edwin Thomas of Bagillt, who was taken ill and died in Northampton on January 15, 1915, after which his community paid to have his remains brought home and buried in Bagillt.

Also remembered was Mold man John Cunnah, a well known local footballer, who was killed in action on January 15, 1917, in Mesopotamia.

“Whenever an anniversary crops up Eifion looks at the community where that person came from and if there is a Facebook page he puts the details on there,” says Viv.

“It generates all sorts of information including photographs and families coming together to swap stories. It just keeps growing.”

With November 11 marking Armistice Day, Viv is preparing to take a break from the research – at least for the time being.

“What we said to the researchers was that we’d like them to do everything possible by November and beyond that point the project will close.

“The website will continue and we will continue to update it but I don’t think we will be doing anymore events.

“Some researchers want to move on to the Second World War but funnily enough it is not as easy and I’m wary because it is much more recent.

“We do talks all the time for the Women’s Institute and schools and if those invitations continue we will accept them but we’ve been doing it for ten years now and even though I don’t ever want it to stop, really it’s time for a break.”

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