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Publisher’s WW1 search tool used more than 400,000 times

A search tool created by a regional publisher to enable readers to find the whereabouts of loved ones from the Great War has already been used more than 400,000 times.

The widget created by Trinity Mirror’s data unit helps readers look for WWI service personnel using their name, street or town.

Using data sourced from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, it has led to a mass exploration for details of namesakes, relatives or even just soldiers who lived down their street in the global conflict which is this month commemorating the 100th anniversary of its start.

The stories of people learning about their relatives via the widget has also generated a host of stories for the regional titles including the Manchester Evening News.


The widget, extensively tested to ensure it works on all digital platforms, has been used across TM regional and national websites, and is the result of several months of hard work by the data unit.

David Ottewell, Trinity Mirror’s head of data journalism, said: “The first job was to clean the data so that it could work in a widget, which was a massive undertaking but has proved to be very much worth it.

“What has been particularly special has been the reaction on social media when we shared the link to it.

“A lot of people have shared it on, but many more have left very nice comments about how useful they found it, and what it meant to them,” he added.

The data was also used to create a series of full-page data visualisations for towns and cities served by Trinity Mirror titles which revealed the number of soldiers from each area who died, the ages of the youngest and oldest, and which battles and dates cost each area the highest number of casualties.