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How to remember the victims of Covid-19: experiences of the First World War.

Foster, Ann-Marie



When planning memorial events for those who have died during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to recognise that the bulk of memorialisation occurs in domestic spaces. The importance of the home in commemoration was recognised by memorial producers in the past. After the First World War, the British government sent memorial plaques to many families whose relatives had died on active service. Government-commissioned memorial objects were not sent to the families of people who did not die on active service. The families of East African labourers and British working-class women in munitions factories were not sent memorial items. For families who did receive them, these small memorial items were of great importance. Many of these items are still treasured by families today. During the First World War centenary, these family memorial objects were used to engage the British public with the commemoration of the war. However, these activities excluded families who could not trace a direct link to the war. The family connections that were highlighted during the First World War centenary emphasised a narrative of war that was white, male, and orientated around the Western Front, erasing the realities of the diverse people who were involved in the war and the mixed experiences of conflict. When planning future commemorations, care must be taken to sensitively and responsibly work with the histories of all involved in the events being commemorated.


FOSTER, A.-M. 2022. How to remember the victims of Covid-19: experiences of the First World War. Hosted on Policy paper (History & Policy) [online]. Available from:

Digital Artefact Type Website Content
Online Publication Date Nov 9, 2022
Publication Date Nov 9, 2022
Deposit Date May 14, 2024
Publicly Available Date May 16, 2024
Publisher History and Policy (H&P)
Keywords Covid-19; Memorial events; Commemoration; Bereaved families
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