British officers' diaries from World War 1, 1914-1919

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War diaries from the Imperial War Museum : the Great War

War diaries from the Imperial War Museum : the Great War

When we got to the section we were supposed to work in we couldn't find our R.Es. Suddenly Fritz began to send coal-box over, as each one exploded the ground shook and tumbled
2nd Lieutenant W.H.T. Clements, Nov 1915Officers' Diaries, August 1914 - October 1919

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See World War One through the diaries of soldiers, chaplains and prisoners of war

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The First World War involved soldiers of different ranks as well as non-combatants. A range of these diaries are included in this collection. The diaries reveal what life was like for the average British soldier in the Battle of the Somme and later battles of Ypres. The battles of Loos, Arras, Vimy Ridge, and Bethune are also covered. The letters home will have been censored by the army, how much was removed depended on the censor. Tactical information and details of military training often remain as the main concern was morale. Soldiers' diaries are divided by rank. The 'others' diaries are from a chaplain and a civilian in occupied France.

Contents

British officers' diaries from World War 1, 1914-1919...

Containing 13,041 pages belonging to 54 documents housed in 5 volumes...

View the Volumes & Documents 
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Volumes

Privates' Diaries, August 1914 - February 1919

These Privates' recollections provide both details of wars where their Officers have also provided accounts and forthright descriptions of events...

Officers' Diaries, August 1914 - October 1919

These diaries feature a concerted focus on the Battle of the Somme between November 1915 and November 1916 with accounts...

Non-commissioned Officers' Diaries, September 1914 - November 1918

These Diaries provide Non-commissioned Officers' perspectives on some of the same battles described by the Officers' diaries in previous documents....

Others' Diaries, May - September 1916

These narratives are the voices of two people in non-combat roles and yet living through all of the violence of...

Insights

  • These diaries are arranged by the military ranks of their authors. From officers, non-commissioned officers, privates, others including chaplains, and allied prisoners of war.
  • The diaries from officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates focus on two conflict areas. The Battle of the Somme was a core focal point; as were the Second and Third Battles of Ypres.
  • The non-combatant diaries in the 'Others' diaries' group includes those of a priest and of a French civilian in occupied France. The priest's diary describes how his role evolved from mourner and carer to moral support.
  • The French civilian's diary has been translated into English and typed in that language. His diary describes the effects of the conflict taking place around him between May and August 1916.
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