Although the national memorials had been organised by central government, the decision of how to remember those from local communities who had given their lives were largely left to local town and parish councils. There was also the problem of who to include, as there was no central body from which a list could be obtained. Instead, the collation of names for inclusion on the memorial was carried out by the committee responsible for the memorial's erection by a variety of ways, which included door-to-door enquiries, leaflets through letter boxes, church announcements, articles in the local press, or by word of mouth. The committee usually defined the criteria for who could be added. In some cases, there were strict geographic boundaries, whilst others were a little more flexible. Because there was no centralised organisation, much of the information regarding how local committees proceeded no longer exists. Some minutes have been preserved, whilst information can also be gleaned from local newspapers or parochial histories, especially those mentioning unveiling ceremonies.
There was often controversy, ranging from a number of Catholics who objected to the siting of memorials in front of, or within, the bounds of Anglican parish churches, to those who couldn't agree on the what form the memorial should take. Then there was often much discussion on whether certain names should be left off - especially deserters and those shot for cowardice.
In the Cheshire village of Farndon, where eighteen men had been lost, some villagers subscribed to the erection of a Memorial Hall, while others supported the erection of a cross in the churchyard. In the end both were constructed, and all the men returning home were given gold medals by the people of the village.
In Halewood, a village on the outskirts of south Liverpool, (today more well known for the location of Everton F.C.'s training ground, Finch Farm) two proposals had been aired but fell through, reflecting the difficulties coming to a decision acceptable to the majority and in securing the funding. According to the centenary history of the village church written in 1939,
'The first suggestion for a War Memorial was that a recreation ground for men and boys should be secured, but all efforts to obtain a suitable piece proved fruitless. The cost of building and maintaining a Village Institute was felt to be too great, so it was proposed to provide a Lych Gate for the Church, with an inscription bearing the names of those who had fallen in the War. Any money remaining should be devoted to the benefit of blinded or otherwise disabled soldiers. The proposal of the lych gate ultimately fell through'.
A short time later, definite plans were made for the memorial and this extract gives a precise insight into how some of the decisions over memorials came to be made;
'The Parochial Church Council decided in February 1921, that a simple stone memorial should be erected in front of the Church, bearing the names of the 19 men of the parish who had lost their lives in the War. The choice of the design was left to Mr. Thomas Hale and Mr. Thomas Lunt. After examining several photographs, they found in the premises of Messrs. Thomas Stubbs and Sons a memorial in white marble which appealed to them strongly. A similar red granite monument, including the inscription and names in raised leaden letters, would cost £135. The parish should not be canvassed for donations, and none were to exceed three guineas. Thus they would be more spontaneous and come from the parishioners generally. By September, £155/13/0 had been received, so a framed list, showing particulars of each man, was placed in the church porch. This additional memorial was designed and executed by two of the parishioners, Mr. Walter Pickavance and Mr. David Crosby. A balance of £21/10/10 was divided equally between St. Dunstan's Fund for blinded soldiers and the Lord Roberts Memorial Fund, to provide workshops for disabled soldiers and sailors. The outside monument was unveiled by the Bishop of Warrington on the evening of 27th July, 1921'.
The omission of names was not uncommon, especially when some of the onus may have been with the bereaved family to notify the committee to include their soldier's name. Sometimes families wanted to move on and life's priorities were elsewhere. Other families moved away from the area to find work. Frequently, for those who were missing on the battlefield, inscribing the name on a memorial was final acceptance by the family that he would not be coming home and for some who still held out hope, this was more than they could bear.
In Ellesmere Port, numerous men had been living in the swiftly expanding town only a short time, and in many cases their names appeared both on the local memorial and also the memorial erected in the area where they had come from, especially those from the Black Country villages.