The Trinity community was devastated by the losses of the First World War. Many students and graduates had been members of the Oxford University Officer Training Corps, and were part of the British Expeditionary Force that was mobilised in 1914.
Others enlisted as the War continued, and a total of 159 members of the college fell in the service of their country. This figure includes men from Great Britain, Canada, South Africa, the USA, Germany, and Austria. Every man is remembered with equal honour and respect, but Trinity names of particular note include the double VC winner Noel Chavasse (1905), the composer George Butterworth (1904), the physicist Henry Moseley (1908), and Trinity’s first tutor in English Literature, Reginald Tiddy (fellow 1905).
The college wanted to create a lasting and useful memorial to the fallen, and the decision was taken to erect a new undergraduate library – the War Memorial Library – which was opened in 1928. It is the largest and most impressive War Memorial in Oxford. The names of the fallen of 1914-18 are listed on a board above the entrance; and a second board was added to commemorate the 133 members of the College who gave their lives in 1939-45.