(Image © Crown copyright - Courtesy of The National Archives)

Revealed: Most popular First World War baby names

Posted on centenarynews.com on 06 March 2016
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The battles of the Great War inspired parents choosing names for their children, research by the UK National Archives reveals.

More than 1,600 babies born in England and Wales between 1914-19 were given first names related to wartime events.

Battles were by far the most popular choice - accounting for three quarters of the total, outstripping personalities of the war.

And the evidence suggests that the 10-month French struggle at Verdun had particular resonance for the families of the newborn, notably in South Wales.

Of the 1,229 wartime babies named after battles, 901 were called Verdun, followed by Ypres on 71 and Mons with 58. The Somme, Britain's biggest battle of 1916, is a distant seventh.

Some of the battle names were adapted for girls - among them Verdunia, Sommeria, Arrasina, Monsalene and Dardanella.

(Image © Crown copyright - Courtesy of The National Archives)

UK National Archives released the findings to coincide with the centenary of Verdun, the longest battle of the First World War, fought from February-December 1916.

Jessamy Carlson, Archivist & First World War Programme Manager, said: "The data is fascinating and gives new insight into the battles that resonated with mothers on the Home Front. It was a surprise to learn that the battles rather than the heroes or names relating to the end of the war were the most popular. 

"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 directly involved."

The biggest concentration of babies named Verdun was found in seven towns centred on the industrialised valleys of South Wales.

Dardanelles features among the choices, but Gallipoli was avoided altogether for British-born babies.

Records show 166 babies were called Kitchener, 25 were named Cavell and 11 called Haig.

Top 7 Battle Baby Names 1914-1919:
Verdun - 901
Ypres - 71
Mons - 58
Arras - 42
Dardanelles - 35
Loos - 30
Somme - 15

Names such as Peace, Poppy, Victory and Armistice surged in popularity from November 1918.

Poppy in particular peaked every year in autumn/winter during the 1920s.

Information supplied by UK National Archives - Read Jessamy Carlson's blog here 

Images © Crown copyright - Courtesy of The National Archives

Posted by: CN Editorial Team