WWI war diaries published online

Discussion in 'Prewar' started by 4jonboy, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Diaries from British soldiers describing life on the front line during World War I are being published online by the National Archives

    Note: Edited main title so as not to confuse members. These diaries are mainly war diaries and not individual soldiers diaries.
    (see individual comments below)
    CL1 likes this.
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Silly question,

    when they show a title such as

    16 Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    does this mean or could it mean 1/6th Battalion R W R ??

  3. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Gunner Tours

    I think the BBC has failed to distinguish between the diaries of soldiers and unit war dairies or between the National Archives and diaries donated by the public and then digitised.

    Nor from this quote , does Maria Miller.

    "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.""

    Unless she means the voice of the Adjutant!
  4. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    Amazing that the BBC have got this story so muddled. Despite a series of talking heads coming on various programmes and patiently explaining that these are unit War Diaries not personal accounts it still does not seem to have completely sunk in.
  5. tmac

    tmac Senior Member Patron

    It's unfortunate that the Beeb - for whatever reason - hasn't quite got a handle on what the unit war diaries actually are. But it is misleading to suggest they are accounts of experiences recorded by individual soldiers and I suspect a lot of people logging on to read them will be disappointed.
  6. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Edited title so as not to cause confusion :)
  7. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    I assume that this is publicity for something that's been available for a while - I downloaded a whole lot (mbytes worth) of WO 95 series war diaries several months ago..it's clearly a good thing, but perhaps I'm missing something here.

    Edit update: now clear, thanks...
  8. Staffsyeoman

    Staffsyeoman Member

    Beyond the idiotic conflation of war diaries and personal diaries, there is so much arrant hogwash being spouted on the news - "never before seen" and the like. Time for Mr Hall to be posted off reports on matters military, methinks.
  9. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    A small number of First World War diaries had been digitised over the years and could be downloaded but this is a new project to digitise them all.
    They've been working on it for a year or more.

    There's also a crowd sourced project to add metadata to the diaries.
  10. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I'm pretty up to speed on War Diaries but I had to Google 'metadata'...and I'm not sure that I'm any the wiser. :(
  11. gaspirator

    gaspirator Member

    Metadata is 'information about information', ie data that describes a resource - essentially, descriptors/tags/indexing terms.

    For example, book metadata might include author/creator, title, year of publication, publisher, no. of pages etc.

    So war diary metadata might include TNA ref, unit, dates, people mentioned, locations, info about events/incidents.

    If everyone were to add tags to every war diary they read, you could then search for all units stationed in a particular place throughout the war, track an individual, or identify which units witnessed the same event (eg mine explosion, gas attack, 1914 Xmas football match).

    - Pete
    Heimbrent and Owen like this.
  12. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Sorry yes should have written that in English rather than Nerd. As Pete says, to add keywords and descriptions of the content so to assist searching for a relevant diary.
    Rich Payne likes this.
  13. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

  14. bofors

    bofors Senior Member

    It looks like they have pulled some diaries, the 11th and 12th Battalion of the Royal Scots used to be online in the one package, maybe they are separating them like they have the new ones, more money for them!
  15. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Fortunately they are not selling them per month like RAF ORBs but yes they do appear to be sorting them into battalions.
    To be fair that's logical. There is often several battalion or unit diaries in one box (i.e. one reference like WO 95/1001) so it makes sense to separate them out.
  16. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    Did box WO95/2025 today, 85th,84th,83 Bde's RFA 1915-1919
    Box contained A4 sheet saying " these diaries are to be digitised, Do Not Remove" !!!

    Also big row going on in locker room about download costs.

    All very exciting for a wet Wed.
    CL1 likes this.
  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    How much are they charging for a diary?
  18. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Downloads are free at Kew or £3.36 online per diary.
    Drew5233 likes this.
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Ha...Can't compete with that. I hope they don't do the WW2 ones before I die. I'm relying on them being part of my retirement plan :lol:
  20. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I don't suppose that they'll ever do a complete set of WW2 diaries. Too many obscure units and operations that most people have never heard of. I imagine that Overlord and Market-Garden will appear but I wouldn't bet on the rest.

    Hands off France & Flanders, that's what I say !

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