The First World War guide to baby names


10 June 2016
battlebabies-02212.jpg Battle babies
How many children were named after WW1 battles, key military figures and the outcome of the war?

Did you know that 1,634 babies born in England and Wales were given WW1-related names during and after the conflict?

Jessamy Carlson, First World War programme manager at The National Archives (TNA), has carried out some fascinating research into the extent to which children were named after First World War battles, key military figures and the outcome of the war.

It seems the names of individual battles made the most popular first names; Verdun came top with 901 new babies called that during the war. 

Carlson said: ‘The data is fascinating and gives new insight into the battles that resonated with mothers on the Home Front. It was even more of a surprise to learn that Verdun was the most popular battle name, given that it was a French/German battle with no British troops involved.’

 Other notable baby names between 1914-1919 (with the number of babies in brackets) are: Ypres (71), Mons (58), Arras (42), Dardanelles (35), Loos (30) and Somme (15).

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A further 202 newborns took the surnames of various British war leaders and heroes as their first names, including 166 named Kitchener, 25 called Cavell and 11 known as Haig.

The end of the hostilities brought a surge of babies with names such as Peace, Poppy, Victory and Armistice. Just one baby was born Peace between 1914 and the autumn of 1918, but from November/December 1918 until 1919, 93 babies were given this name.

You can read more about the battle baby names and other quirky family history tales in Tom Wood's 'Genealogical Miscellany' in the July issue of Family Tree, on sale 8 June-5 July 2016. Download the issue now or subscribe and save.