The stories behind the names

He developed an interest in military history as a child, having been raised on the stories of 15 family members who fought in the Great War. Four of these died.

Mr Bratley said this upbringing taught him the limitless impact that war had on people and on society.

He has visited battle sites including Fromelles, Ypres, Mons, the Somme and Arras and there had done some of the research for his project.

The rest of his material is mostly from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and other national archives.

He has so far completed more than 4000 histories across 52 memorials over two years, and said they had often evoked a more complex picture of war than the Anzac legend ever could.

‘You hear the stories of Gallipoli, but you find hidden things in these smaller histories,’ he said.

‘You get an impression of the soldiers’ thoughts during enlistment, through their letters, and they sound eager to go over.

‘They saw an opportunity for better pay, and adventure. Then you see how things changed after they survived the war and came back.

‘They are quite disturbed in a few cases. Some of the stories are tragic.’

Mr Bratley said it was at times a sad process collating these personal histories, but he believed it was useful for people to remember and recognise Servicemen for the right reasons ” that the wars they had fought in still affected the living.

He will donate his research to local governments, the Returned Servicemen’s League and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

Anyone with information to contribute can email