Rolls of Honour

Rolls of Honour were printed by hundreds of British schools, universities, companies, and towns, to commemorate their students, employees or citizens who had died or fought in the First or Second World Wars. Some clans and families have also printed Rolls of Honour (Clan Donald comes to mind here, although there are others).

Some rolls just list those who died, whilst others include everyone who served in the war. Some have photographs, and some have just text. Some have biographies which take up several pages, others only have one line per person. There is often a listing of honours and awards at the end.

A typical roll is divided into two parts - the first is devoted to those who died, and gives three to five lines per person, plus a photograph. To save space, the second part is just a single-line listing of those who served in the war, giving the regiment and some dates. The roll for Edinburgh University is like this, except that students in both categories have several lines about them, which makes it one of the largest rolls found.

To give a feel of what is available, the following are some of the rolls for the educational establishments in Edinburgh:

 Broughton Secondary School  WW2
 Edinburgh Academy  WW1and WW2
 Edinburgh University  WW1 only
 George Heriot's School  WW1 and WW2
 George Watson's College  WW1 and WW2
 Loretto School  WW1
 Merchiston Castle School  
 Royal High School  WW1 and WW2

These Rolls of Honour are becoming quite rare and expensive, especially for WW1. I have seen the one for Edinburgh University for sale recently at £135, mainly because it is so large. Whilst Rolls of Honour were printed all over the country, from Shetland to London and beyond, libraries tend to only have the ones that cover the local area.


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