Newsletter Sign up

Roll of Honour: Names of Those Who Gave Their Lives in The Great War

The Harris houses Preston’s Municipal Roll of Honour which lists 1956 men from Preston who lost their lives during the First World War. It was added to the building in 1927, replacing a temporary Roll of Honour which had existed in the central rotunda since 1917. The Roll of Honour is located on the ground floor, in two sections, on the angles of both staircases facing the entrance door. The names on the Roll of Honour are inscribed on marble tablets and begin with the men of the Royal Navy listed in alphabetical order, followed by the Regiments in alphabetical order.

The Roll of Honour was produced to accompany the monument on the Market Square, now known as Preston Cenotaph, which was built in gratitude to all the men of Preston who died during the First World War. Both the monument and the Roll of Honour were designed by the architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and completed in 1927 and paid for by voluntary public donations.

A black and white photograph of soldiers from 4th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in France on their way to the trenches during World War One.
A newspaper clipping detailing the death of a soldier from Preston.
A black and white photo of soldiers standing in rows.
A black and white photo of soldiers in square formations outside the Harris.
A form submitted detailing the death of a soldier from Preston.
A black and white photo of soldiers on the balcony of the Harris.

Why Aren’t All The Names Included?

The Roll of Honour is not a complete list or record of all local men who enlisted in Preston who lost their lives during the Great War. It only includes men who lived in the town of Preston prior to their death, based on the boundaries of Preston at the time of the war. The parish and district councils outside Preston also produced public memorials. In addition, the Preston Roll of Honour only includes names submitted between 1916 and 1927. No charge was made to inscribe names on the Roll of Honour.

The submission of names was a decision left to the immediate families of the deceased at that time. The council produced forms to collect the details of the Preston men who had died. Despite all efforts of the council and the assistance of the Regiments and local churches some families chose instead to remember their loved ones privately on alternative memorials such as those in churches or on family gravestones in Preston Cemetery. This is discussed further in the book A Worthy Monument by John Garlington…

‘…the Roll of Honour is not a complete record of all the Preston men killed in the War. Only the families of the dead could submit names and omissions may have happened for a number of reasons personal and private. Some families simply chose not to take up the offer. The Anderton family of Marsh Lane chose to have their eldest son’s name included on the family grave in Preston Cemetery and on the War Memorial at St Walburge’s, but not on the Roll of Honour because they were still so bitter at the loss of their eldest son, Frank. However, men from the poorest streets, like the two John Charnocks (uncle and nephew) from Mill Hill are represented because cost was not an issue, being made entirely free by the system of subscription.

There were complaints that some names were missing, yet, as the War Memorial Committee strenuously pointed out, “Every effort has been made to get an exact and complete list.” There certainly had been no rush and forms had been available for relatives for ten years. There had been frequent reminders and announcements with the lists of names always open for inspection. A War Memorial souvenir had been produced with a list, which had also printed in the Preston Guardian, showing all the collected names. It had also been possible, even up to the time of the inscription of the panels for additions to be made. “What more could possibly have been done is difficult to imagine,” stated the Preston Guardian on 19 November 1927. Names were added, over the years, out of sequence and alphabetical order as late as 1940. As to the completeness of the Roll of Honour, one small but substantial example which could be used is that of the Memorial at St Walburge’s. Of the one hundred and fifty six names recorded there, only one hundred and fourteen are present at the Harris.’

It has been estimated that the families of more than 400 Preston men who died during the First World War did not submit names to the municipal Roll of Honour. This decision was respected by the council at the time and the design and production of the Roll of Honour was completed on this basis in 1927.  The Roll of Honour is now part of the historic fabric of the Grade I listed Harris Museum and Art Gallery and no further names can be added to the memorial retrospectively.

The Virtual Roll of Honour

To remember the names of those who gave their lives, we have created a virtual Roll of Honour, as the listed status of The Harris means we can no longer add names to the original roll.

A brown stone wall flanked by white marble pillars featuring carved names in the centre.

Image of an Elk skeleton

History Collection

The history collections include archaeology, ethnography, coins and medals, and social history as well as quirkier collections such as greetings cards, cigarette cards, stamps and music sheets.


Photography Collection

The Harris’ photography collection includes regionally significant historic prints. This includes film and glass negatives, slides and photograph albums by amateur and professional photographers.

Archive black and white image of The Harris building

History of The Harris

Founded in 1893, the Harris was a gift to the people of Preston. Read about what our founding father Edmund Robert Harris hoped for the city.