First World War Lives in the Oxford DNB
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography includes the stories of hundreds of men and women who shaped the course of the First World War, or whose lives were profoundly changed by the conflict.
In addition to those who served on the Western Front, the Oxford DNB includes those who took part in other campaigns—from the North Sea to the Middle East—as well as those who tended to the dead and injured. Many others are remembered for works of commemoration, in literature, architecture, or the creation of institutions such as the British Legion and the annual Poppy Appeal.
Here we offer a very brief selection by topic: click on a portrait to read on. Selected wartime lives are also available as episodes in the ODNB’s biography podcast.
The Western Front
A world at war
Medicine & nursing
Listen to a life: the ODNB biography podcast
- poet and army officer, Wilfred Owen
- airman and VC recipient, Albert Ball
- Edward Harrison, chemist and inventor of the gas mask
- pacifist and writer, Vera Brittain
- Harry Patch, the last surviving WWI veteran
- Edith Cavell, nurse and war heroine
- the story of the Unknown Warrior
ODNB reference themes
In the ODNB themes, you’ll find reference material on aspects of the 1914-18 conflict.