The subject of naming babies after battles arose as much as a result of curiosity as anything else. The home front during the First World War has of late been a research area at the forefront of my mind and the impact that the war was having upon daily life can be considered through examining data such as names. It has been fascinating to discover the extent to which children were named after First World War battles, key military figures and the outcome of the war itself. Whilst some of these names have passed out of use entirely since the First World War, it is interesting to note that some families have continued to include these names as middle names, thus continuing the tradition right up until the present day.
For the purposes of this research, I only looked at first names between 1914 and 1939. This is largely because not all middle names are listed in summaries of the General Register Office indexes, though there are further sources which indicate that many of these names appeared as middle names of children born during this period. Around 1600 babies with First World War inspired names were born between 1914-1919 (though many of these names continued to appear in the GRO lists right up until the beginning of the Second World War, and some even beyond that). Around 220 of these children died as infants, which represents around a 14% mortality rate. It is heart-breaking to consider that mothers might name their child for the battle which had claimed their father, only to then lose the child shortly afterwards. Continue reading »