Warfare in News

Posted on Tuesday 14th January

The official diaries of military units during the First World War, detailing events from the outbreak of war to the departure of troops from France and Flanders, are being published online by The National Archives as part of the government's World War One centenary plans. To view the diaries, visit TNA's First World War website.

Also launching today is a joint project between TNA, Imperial War Museums and Zooniverse, Operation War Diary, an online crowdsourcing project where volunteers will be given a segment of the diaries and ask to tag key words, places and people, which will help those who wish to trace their First World War Ancestors.

During the war, each unit was required to keep a diary of its day-to-day activities. Around one fifth of the 1.5 million diary pages held by TNA have been digitised so far. The first batch describe the experiences of three cavalry and seven infantry divisions in the initial wave of troops deployed by the British Army in 1914.

The diaries, which include a private war diary kept by First Battalion's James Paterson, describe the early days of war and the battles of the Marne and the Aisne, as well as details of every day life. They were scanned by volunteers throughout 2013.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said:

'The National Archives' digitised First World War unit diaries will allow us to hear the voices of those that sacrificed their lives and is even more poignant now there are no living veterans who can speak directly about the events of the war.'

Further Reading

Tracing Your First World War Ancestors

Only £12.99

Tracing Your First World War Ancestors

(Paperback - 224 pages)
by Simon Fowler

As the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War approaches there is a huge surge of interest in the men and women who took part in it. This book is a timely guide if you are researching the soldiers, sailors or airmen. It is an accessible, up-to-date and expert introduction to get you on your way and to answer those questions that might crop up during your researches. In a straightforward, easy-to-follow style… Read more...


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