First World War unit diaries go online to mark Centenary

Posted on on 14 January 2014
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The UK National Archives has digitised thousands of First World War unit diaries, which are now available to view online.

The unit diaries from France and Flanders have been digitised as part of the National Archives' programme to mark the Centenary - First World War 100.

Approximately 1.5 million pages of war diaries have so far been digitised, and will be released throughout the year.

                                          An example online search of the unit war diaries

The diaries which have been made available today document the real-time account of the first three cavalry and first seven infantry divisions who were part of the first wave of British army troops deployed in France and Flanders. Over 300,000 pages in total relate to these particular units.

The National Archives' military records specialist, William Spencer, said that making the unit diaries available online will "allow people across the world to discover the daily activities, stories and battles of each unit for themselves".

                             An original document which has now been made available online

Operation War Diary

The National Archives has also launched Operation War Diary, an online crowdsourcing partnership project between The National Archives, Imperial War Museums (IWM) and Zooniverse, which aims to unearth the details from within the diaries, using the same technology that has been used to map the stars.

The National Archives is calling for 'Citizen Historians' to help with the undertaking.

To explore the unit diaries, visit the National Archives website here.

To find out more about Operation War Diary, click here.

Source: The National Archives press release

Date of press release publication: 14/01/2014

Images courtesy of the National Archives

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News