Maps, plans, tracings in War Diaries

Discussion in 'Unit History' started by Skoyen89, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Often when reading war diaries and other files at Kew I see references to 'the accompanying map/tracing' etc and more often than not they are not there. It may be a stupid question but where did they go - were they weeded out and destroyed or is there a secret store I've not yet found!!!
     
  2. LCplCombat

    LCplCombat Member

    I'll drag this one up from the depths.
    The map/tracing would be produced by an RE unit or the intelligence section. The map would be pinned on a map board and the tracing placed on top and pinned in place. The trace would show various things like start lines, objectives, routes to and from various locations and lots of other things. If the situation or the plan changed the map would be kept but a new tracing issued and placed over the map. Old ones would be destroyed.
     
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    If they are missing from the diary they are in War Diary heaven.
     
  4. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    TNA moved some maps and plans to another series, but I forget which one it is. Sadly the original file never tells you which it was moved to.
     
  5. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    TNA moved some maps and plans to another series, but I forget which one it is. Sadly the original file never tells you which it was moved to.

    When this happens, TNA are supposed to put a dummy page in place with the new reference number. Usually extracted items go in the EXT series.
     
  6. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    That's true, but some of them seem to be 'old references'. I came across one recently relating to Monte Cassino. Some items had been moved and placed in another series but the reference shown does not exist and the staff could not help.

    Could be it's still closed perhaps?
     
  7. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Hi

    When I was last at Kew I found some tracings and a large (but shabby) map in a war diary. It wasn't until much later that I realised that they over-layed perfectly and actually showed the battle plan for the British 28th Infantry Brigade, to re-capture the Athens-Phaleron road on 18th December 1944. I now have a perfect reproduction of the 1944 map thanks to another member of the forum based in Athens.

    Maybe I was just lucky!

    Gus
     
  8. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    I've often come across folded up maps and traces in war diaries and always struggled to get a good copy - especially of the traces which show up what is underneath and get all confusing!

    Does anyone have any good tips for copying them? Can you take the files to pieces carefully? I always feel guilty when unfolding the maps threatens to tear them!:(

    Cheers

    Tom
     
  9. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    That's true, but some of them seem to be 'old references'. I came across one recently relating to Monte Cassino. Some items had been moved and placed in another series but the reference shown does not exist and the staff could not help.

    Could be it's still closed perhaps?

    Paul, do you have a picture of it? It could be a War Office reference rather than a TNA one which might be searchable using the 'former reference' field in the catalogue.
     
  10. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    I'll make a note of it next time - hadn't thought of that!
     
  11. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    I've often come across folded up maps and traces in war diaries and always struggled to get a good copy - especially of the traces which show up what is underneath and get all confusing!

    Does anyone have any good tips for copying them? Can you take the files to pieces carefully? I always feel guilty when unfolding the maps threatens to tear them!:(

    Cheers

    Tom

    Tom
    Take the file to the copying help desk and they will remove the map or trace for you to copy, or pay them to do it for you. If your doing it yourself take it over to the large copying table by the middle door to photo, it makes it a lot easier, then return and they will put it back in the file.:)
    Best
    Rob
     
  12. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    I've often come across folded up maps and traces in war diaries and always struggled to get a good copy - especially of the traces which show up what is underneath and get all confusing!

    Does anyone have any good tips for copying them? Can you take the files to pieces carefully? I always feel guilty when unfolding the maps threatens to tear them!:(

    Cheers

    Tom

    Tom, untagging is not allowed.

    Unfolding a map or tracing should be OK as long as it is not going to damage it and can physically fit on the table.

    There are pieces of white A3 card that can be placed behind traces to make them a little more readable. Not much help for the larger tracings though.

    Alternatively, if you need a high quality copy then it's a case of paying TNA to scan it for you. In which case it would be untagged and flattened for scanning. But that's expensive.

    Or Rob's suggestion above. ;-)

    Lee
     
  13. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Thanks for the advice - I shall try the scanning people next time.

    Tom
     
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    MFQ 1 series has some excellent maps ;)
     
  15. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Usually extracted items go in the EXT series.

    Hi

    How d I access these? I've never heard of them.

    Thanks
    Skoyen89
     
  16. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    As Drew says, they are in War diary heaven.

    Often there were multiple copies of war diaries, only some of which had the full compliment of appendicies (for instance Guards Regiments have a copy at their HQ and another at TNA). As has also been stated on this thread, over time some appendicies are simply lost: i.e. Official researchers using the material compiled data from various files, and somehow it never got returned.

    The good news is that the British Army had standardized maps, so as long as you know the region and scale* (this can best be worked out if the overlay has a grid reference in one of the corners) you can pop along to the British Library or find another mapp in another war diary.

    *In the british army, its usually of of two scales: 1:100,000 or 1:50,000. You will have to find out which map of course, but this should be easy if you have the appendix reference in the actual diary page.

    The bad news is, also mentioned on this thread, is that actually combing the two can be a pain in the arse. You can request to de-tag a document at the front desk in order to photograph it, but this may take a while and some persistance on your part, combining them digitally: but the age of the overlay often makes this impractical, as sheets shrink over time, and folds and tears make it virtually impossible- the faded markings also frequently making it unreadabl.

    Your best bet is to take a photograph of both documents and do some good old fashioned estimation on your computer at home.
     
  17. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Hi

    How d I access these? I've never heard of them.

    Thanks
    Skoyen89

    Skoyen89, sorry only just seen your reply.

    The EXT series can be searched in the normal way using the NA catalogue (or their 'orrible new 'Discovery' search engine if you prefer).
    It's an eclectic mix of documents that for whatever reason has been extracted from another file but usually because they are oversized items.


    Lee
     

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